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Pollution specifics #1112
Updated: 1/14/07 OS/platforms(s): All Versions: All

Contributor/author(s): Kyle D.J.

(Originally published 23 March 2003.)

(Editor's update: Corrected errors in the examples that stated that parks increase air and water pollution, whereas they actually reduce it. The tables were correct and only the examples were amended.)

Note: This page may scroll beyond the right margin and may not print properly.

General

Pollution is a parameter that is calculated for every tile on the map.  The pollution values are updated once every 30 days for all tiles on the map.

There are two types of pollution: 

  • Area-effect 
  • Deposited 

Area-effect pollution covers a general area regardless of what is built within that area.  There are two types of area-effect pollution:

  • Air Pollution 
  • Water Pollution

Deposited pollution only affects the specific tiles on which it is deposited.  There are two types of deposited pollution:

  • Garbage
  • Radioactive Contamination (after a power plants explodes)

The pollution map in the game displays air, water, and garbage pollution.  The pollution map display is saturated (displays the most red) when the pollution levels in a tile exceed the following levels:

Level   Pollution
~~~~~   ~~~~~~~~~
11000   Air
11000   Water
30000   Garbage

Sources of Pollution

Certain buildings and structures can cause air and/or water pollution and/or create garbage.  For air and water pollution the building will affect a radius around itself.  The amounts in the table below are added to the pollution levels for every tile within the indicated radius.  The garbage values are units of garbage created per month.  This garbage simply increases the city's total amount that must be put somewhere (export, landfill, incinerate, or accumulate in the streets).  Note that some items can actually reduce pollution, and this is indicated by negative values in the table below.

      Air              Water
Amount   Radius   Amount   Radius   Garbage   Item
~~~~~~   ~~~~~~   ~~~~~~   ~~~~~~   ~~~~~~~   ~~~~

Rewards
   200     10        200      5         64    City Hall
 -2500     15       2500     15       1000    Country Club
  2500     10       2000      5       1500    Defence Contractor
 -2500     15      -2500     15       1000    Geyser Park
 12500     25       8750     20        250    Launch Arcology (not in game as released)
   540     10        720      5        288    Medical Research Centre
 50000     20      50000     10       4000    Military Base
   200     10        200      5        160    Performing Arts Centre
-96000     30     -80000     25          0    Quigley Castle (secret reward from cheat code)
  1500     10       2000      5        800    Science Centre
 31250     20      25000      8       3000    Space Port
  1500     15       2000     15       3600    Stadium
   800     10        800      5        640    Stock Exchange
  3840     10       5120     10       9216    Theme Park
  6000     10       6000      5       8800    University

Business Opportunities
  1500     10       1500      8       3600    Casino Row
  1500     10       2000     15       3600    GigaMall 9th Wonder of the World
  1750     10       1750     10       3600    Maximum Security Prison
175000     20     125000     18       1500    Toxic Waste Conversion Plant

City Services
   450     10        450      5        504    City College
   540     10        720      5        576    City Jail
   450     10        450      5        270    Fire Station
   540     10        720      5        216    Hospital
   200     10        200      5        120    Library
   450     10        450      5        270    Museum
   450     10        450      5        270    Police Station
   450     10        450      5        360    School

Flora
    -4      5         -5      5          0    Trees (a.k.a. "pollution-suckers")

Transportation
    90     10         80      5         40    Bus Station
    60     10         60      5         60    Subway Station
    60     10         60      5         60    Subway-to-Rail Station
   400     10        360      5        240    Train Station

Utilities
   450     10          0      0        270    Desalination Plant
 36000     22      19800     12          0    Incinerator
   900     20        450     10         72    Recycling Centre
 22500     18      13500     10          0    Waste-to-Energy Plant
     8      7          0      0          0    Water Pump
   200     10          0      0        120    Water Treatment Plant

Power Plants
 80000     25      48000     12        800    Coal
   400      5        400      5        800    Fusion
 32000     20      20000      7        800    Gas
   400      5        800      6        800    Nuclear
 56000     22      28000     10        800    Oil

Recreation
  -160      8       -160      8        320    Ball Park
  -180     10       -180     10         90    Large Park
   960     10        960     10        640    City Zoo
    -5      5         -5      5          4    Fountain
   540     10        900     10        360    Newland Marina
   -20      8        -20      8         40    Playground
   -20      8        -20      8         40    Pond
    -5      8         -5      8          8    Small Park

Zones (values are for per tile)
     7      7         10      5          4    LD Residential
    24     10         40      5         28    MD Residential
    59     10        100      5         60    HD Residential
    10      8          8      5          8    LD Commercial
    40     10         35      5         28    MD Commercial
    70     13         70      5         60    HD Commercial
    50     14         50      6          8    LD Dirty Industrial
     8      7          8      6          4    LD Clean Industrial
   100     19        100      6         28    MD Dirty Industrial
    50     10         36      4         28    MD Clean Industrial
   125     25        125      6         60    HD Dirty Industrial
   100     10         70      4         60    HD Clean Industrial
     0      0          5      5          8    Agriculture
   100     25         50     10         48    Airport
    50     15        100     10         32    Seaport
    75     10        100     15          0    Landfill

Examples from the table:

  1. The Defence Contractor adds 2500 to air pollution for all tiles within 10 tiles of itself, it adds 2000 to water pollution for all tiles within 5 tiles of itself, and it creates 1500 units of garbage to be handled by the city.
  2. The Country Club reduces air pollution by 2500 for all tiles within 15 tiles of itself (thanks to all the vegetation), but it increases water pollution by 2500 for all tiles within that same area (thanks to gardening chemicals used), and it creates 1000 units of garbage to be handled by the city (fast food wrappers from the news crews pursuing Tiger Woodsim).
  3. A Train Station and a Subway-to-Rail Station can both do the same job as rail stations, however the former produces at least 6-times as much pollution.
  4. Small Parks produce more garbage than Fountains, but reduce air and water pollution over a greater area than Fountains.
  5. A Large Park produces more garbage than 9 Small Parks, but is far more effective at reducing air and water pollution.

Traffic also increases air pollution.  The traffic density value for a tile is multiplied by 8 to determine the air pollution caused by traffic. See the Knowledge Tree article "Traffic and transportation specifics" (#1062) for details about the traffic density value.

Garbage

If there is no way to get rid of garbage (export, landfill, incinerator) then 5000 units of it will "magically disappear" each month.  (To quote the game developers: "Presumably this garbage ends up somewhere in New Mexico, but the Feds aren't talking.")  Put another way, a city can generate up to 5000 units of garbage per month before needing some place to put it, which helps when starting a new city.  Once this amount is exceeded, garbage will begin accumulating around the city if there is no place to put it.

Note that the garbage values shown in the game are 10-times smaller than actually used in the simulation calculations.  For example the next section reports the capacity of an Incinerator as 45000 garbage units per month, whereas in the game it shows 4500.  All garbage values listed in this article are the simulation values, not the values displayed in the game.  Keep this in mind if you are trying to relate values in this article to values you see in the game.

Landfill zones must be at least 2-tiles wide.  If they are only 1-tile wide they will always be decommissioned (will not receive garbage).

A landfill tile can hold up to 32767 units of garbage (once again, note that the game will report this as 3276).

Garbage in decommissioned landfills decays at the rate of 4.9% per month.  Thus a decommissioned landfill needs over 7 years to decay to 1% of its initial contents.

Miscellaneous Pollution Control

Some special utilities can be built to reduce the pollution levels in the city:

 Optimal Capacity                    Lifespan*   Utility
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                    ~~~~~~~~~   ~~~~~~~
 60000 water pollution per day       70(64)      Water Treatment Plant
 1500 units of garbage per day       80(64)      Incinerator
 1750 units of garbage per day       --          Waste-to-Energy Incinerator
 50000 population served,            75(67.5)    Recycling Centre
 45% reduction in garbage produced

* In years.  In () is the age when the utility begins to decline (lose 
  capacity).  W-to-E Incinerators are special cases---as they are also 
  power plants their life expectancy varies based on their usage.

Availability dates of garbage utilities:

Year   Utility
~~~~   ~~~~~~~
1920   Incinerator
1970   Recycling Centre
2000   Waste-to-Energy Plant

Ordinances can reduce pollution caused by certain sources (if a specific source is not given, then all pollution of that type is reduced city-wide):

Effect   Pollution    Source      Ordinance
~~~~~~   ~~~~~~~~~    ~~~~~~      ~~~~~~~~~
 -10%    Air          Traffic     Mandatory Car Smogging
 -10%    Air          -           Clean Air
 -10%    Air, Water   Dirty Ind   Industrial Pollutant Impact Fee
  -8%    Water        Agri, Res   Lawn Chemical Ban
  -7%    Air          Dirty Ind   Conservation Corps
  -5%    Air, Water   Com, Ind    Industrial Waste Disposal Tax
  -3%    Air          Landfills   Landfill Gas Recovery
  -3%    Garbage      -           Tire Recycling
  -3%    Garbage      -           Trash Presort
  -2%    Garbage      Res         Backyard Composting
  -2%    Air          Res         Leaf Burning Ban
  -2%    Garbage      Com, Ind    Paper Reduction Act

Examples from the table:

  1. The Clean Air ordinance reduces all air pollution by 10%.
  2. The Landfill Gas Recovery ordinance reduces air pollution from landfills by 3%.

See also
Traffic and transportation specifics
How to get rid of landfills

Knowledge Tree
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