Boone and Winnebago Counties, Illinois, U.S.A., were selected for this study, required by the Illinois State Senate, because mapping and environmental interpretations were completed there in 1981. Costs of geologic mapping in these counties in 1990 dollars were $290,000. Two estimates of costs of statewide mapping were made, one extrapolated from Boone and Winnebago Counties ($21 million), the other estimated on the basis of differences between the Boone/Winnebago program and proposed mapping program for the State of Illinois ($55 million). Benefits of geologic information come in the form of future avoided costs for environmental cleanup. Only the quantifiable data, available from a few sites, were included. Data collection, based on 55 personal interviews in Boone and Winnebago Counties, were grouped into four cumulative categories with increasing variability. Geologic maps alone cannot account for all avoided costs of future cleanup. Therefore, estimated benefits were reduced by 50, 75, and 90 percent in three scenarios. To account for delays in proper utilization of knowledge gained from a mapping program, a 10-yr delay in benefit realization was assumed. All benefits were converted to 1990 dollars. In benefit category 4, benefit-cost ratios for Boone/Winnebago Counties ranged between 5 and 55. Statewide projection of benefits was based on county areas and an aquifer contamination potential score for each county. Statewide benefit-cost ratio in benefit category 4 ranged from 1.2 to 14 ($21 million mapping costs) and from 0.5 to 5.4 ($55 million mapping costs). ?? 1992 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
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Environmental benefits vs. costs of geologic mapping