Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
College of Science and Mathematics
Earth and Environmental Studies
Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair
New Jersey, as a coastal area, has historically struggled with a variety of problems stemming from stormwater runoff, which have only grown more prevalent and harmful as urbanization and climate change have taken their toll. One such issue that has emerged in recent years is the prevalence of combined sewer overflows (CSOs). These sewer systems are common in urban areas in the United States and abroad, and increased urbanization has them not only obsolete but a persistent danger, as their discharges can contaminate waterways and affect human health. While municipalities across the United States are beginning to move towards mitigating or replacing CSO systems, many areas still struggle to do so due to cost. Further, few studies have been done to understand the full cost of CSOs, as externalities such as effects on society or housing markets are largely understudied. As such, this study proposes a number of interlinked economic valuations to understand the costs of CSOs and the benefits of their solutions. To understand costs, we utilize a hedonic analysis using observable real estate data to understand the economic impact of CSOs on the housing market. As CSOs are heavily regulated by the EPA, there is significant value in also understanding the benefit of possible solutions to the problems that CSOs represent. To this end, we analyze green infrastructure, which has been used extensively around the United States and abroad to cheaply and effectively limit CSO discharges. We use a choice-experiment survey to delineate willingness to pay in target cities, and to understand preferences of residents in terms of green infrastructure capabilities and payment vectors for funding such projects. Finally, we use an ArcGIS linked framework to analyze the potential benefit of green infrastructure in terms of runoff reductions, and understand what land use types are ideal for installation. The combination of these economic analyses should give a more complete picture of the full cost of these fixtures than has existed in the literature to date, and can be useful to researchers and decision makers alike.
Wieczerak, Taylor J., "Understanding Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) and Green Infrastructure Interaction in New Jersey : An Economic Analysis" (2021). Theses, Dissertations and Culminating Projects. 759.