As a nutrient credit generator certified under Pennsylvania Nutrient Cap and Trade program, the Gettysburg ENRF is the first gasification facility of its kind in the United States
To read the entire report, click on Full PA Legislative and Budget Committee Report.
Nutrient credit trading plans benefit farms
As of November 30, 2012, 38 trades occurred, with the overall quantities traded being 623,703 pounds of nitrogen and 33,203 pounds of phosphorus. Nitrogen and phosphorus credits traded in auction through the PENNVEST clearinghouse ranged from about $1.25 to $4 per pound.
Removing a pound of nitrogen or phosphorus through wastewater treatment is far greater than doing so through agricultural best management practices. So rather than investing in expensive bricks-and-mortar upgrades, some wastewater authorities opt instead to purchase nutrient credits created by less-costly nonpoint source projects, such as no-till, streambank fencing and riparian buffers installed on farms to reduce pollution.
For example, the Mount Joy Borough Authority investigated costs of upgrading and found that by installing the first level of nitrogen treatment they could reduce nitrogen by about 50% for about $8 per pound. But, to reduce nitrogen to their cap load, another upgrade would have increased their costs to about $12 per pound.
Instead, the borough authority contracted with neighboring Brubaker Farms, investing in more than 900 acres of no-till to meet their permit cap at a cost of only $3.81 for every pound reduced.
PENNVEST believes trading will continue to increase as nutrient limits become effective on larger numbers of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)-permitted facilities.
Advanced technologies [such as methane digesters and composting] may also be key to continued financial viability of small farms, suggests the report. By eliminating or reducing the need for land application of manure, technology solutions can decouple the link between land use and the scale of animal operations.