IAGLR, or the International Association of Great Lakes Research, has published a press release that describes a recent IISG-funded study that documents that a contaminated river can diminish nearby property values.

From an article in the latest IISG newsletter, the HELM:

Using hedonic analysis of property sales, John Braden of the University of Illinois found that for owner-occupied homes within a five-mile radius of the Sheboygan River Area of Concern (in Wisconsin), the overall estimated loss of value is $158 million, which translates into an 8 percent discount, on average. “The impacts are greatest for properties closest to the river and concentrated in the more populated areas nearest the lower river,” he said.

From the IAGLR press release:

Hazardous waste found in sediment is one of the chief reasons why 40 locations in the Great Lakes Basin are on an environmental watch list maintained by the International Joint Commission. According to Braden …, “the cost of cleanup at the U.S. sites alone could exceed $4 billion, but it’s not clear whether cleanup would produce comparable economic benefits. These studies provide insight into the economic benefits at stake near the Buffalo River in New York and the Sheboygan River in Wisconsin.”

The results of these studies, “Economic Benefits of Remediating the Buffalo River, NY Area of Concern” and “Economic Benefits of Remediating the Sheboygan River, WI Area of Concern,” are reported by John B. Braden and colleagues in the latest issue (Volume 34, No 4, pp. 631-648 and pp. 649-660) of the Journal of Great Lakes Research, published by the International Association for Great Lakes Research, 2008.

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