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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An evaluation of pollution control mechanisms in the Paraiba do Sul River basin, Brazil Codato, Eleoterio


The purpose of this thesis is to evaluate the existing and alternative mechanisms for water pollution control in the Paraiba do Sul River Basin, in Brazil. It focuses on mechanisms-for controlling point-sources of pollution. The physical features, economy, and institutions of the Paraiba River Basin are described and the water quality problems and technical opportunities for their solution are examined. The analysis is based upon reports done by the state pollution control agency (CETESB) and field investigations which involved interviews with CETESB's personnel at the central office, in Sao Paulo, and the regional office, in Taubate. The analysis of the water quality problems and technical opportunities for their solution indicates that treatment of municipal discharges is of paramount importance for the realization of the water quality standards in the Paraiba River and that this can be done, at minimum cost, by adopting facultative lagoons for sewage treatment. It also indicates that such a solution would cause dissolved oxygen levels to rise well above the standard in most sections of the river. This means that additional assimilative capacity for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) would be created which could possibly be allocated to other dischargers. Such a solution to the municipal sewage problem would, however, impose a heavy burden upon municipalities and is not likely to come about unless municipalities are helped financially. The ability of the mechanism to provide municipalities with some financial assistance and to allocate the assimilative capacity of the river both efficiently and equitably were the two criteria applied in assessing the existing system for pollution control in the Paraiba River. Basin, the effluent charge system, and the transferable discharge permits (TDP) system. This assessment indicates that only a modified TDP system is likely to bring about the realization of the water quality standards established for the Paraiba River. An illustrative example of the application of the TDP system to a section of the Paraiba River is developed which suggests that such a system would be able to adapt to changes in wasteloads discharged to the river and would have the potential for reducing the financial burden upon municipalities if allocations of permits to municipalities are greater than discharge requirements with facultative lagoons.

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