Friday, March 23, 2007

TRI Data For 2005 Shows 3% Increase In Releases

Mar 22: According to a release, U.S. EPA's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data is available this year earlier than ever before for local communities and national analysis. Facility-specific data was released last September and the full national data for reporting year 2005 (January 1 to December 31, 2005, the latest available) was released today (March 22, 2007). EPA's Assistant Administrator for the Office of Environmental Information Molly O'Neill said, "EPA is getting quality data out to the public faster through electronic reporting which is good for the environment, good for states and good for our partners in industry. Some 95 percent of the 23,000 facilities used electronic reporting.

EPA said this year's data shows that "progress is being made in reducing releases of several chemicals of special concern." For example, between 2004 and 2005 dioxin releases decreased by 23 percent and mercury releases fell by nine percent. In addition, several individual industries have made significant progress in reducing releases. Petroleum refining releases dropped 10 percent transportation equipment registered a six percent decrease and chemical manufacturing cut releases by four percent.

Review of the last five years of data shows chemical releases reported to TRI have decreased by 22 percent nationally. The 2005 data shows a three percent, 117 million pounds, overall increase from 2004 in total disposal and other releases. EPA said annual changes are not unusual and cited a number of possible reasons for the increase including: production increases, fluctuations in the content of raw materials used in particular industries or changes in releases at large facilities that impacts the national data.

An EPA analysis indicates another interesting view of the data. A few large facilities can be a determining factor in the National trend. Based on an analysis of facilities reporting in both 2001 and 2005, we found that the total disposal or other releases for the group of “smaller” facilities (those reporting less than 100,000 pounds) increased by 57% from 2001 to 2005 while the total for the group of “larger” facilities (those reporting 100,000 pounds or more) decreased by 9% and for six facilities with the very largest change (more than 80 million pounds) total disposal or other releases decreased by 80%.

TRI tracks 650 chemicals and chemical categories and industrial sectors specified by the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act of 1986 and its amendments. The Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990 also mandates that TRI reports must include data on toxic chemicals treated on-site, recycled, and burned for energy recovery. Together, these laws require facilities in certain industries to report annually on releases, disposal and other waste management activities related to these chemicals.

Access an EPA release (click here). Access an overview of the 2005 TRI data and relevant TRI information including analysis, summaries, tables, charts, maps, etc. (click here). Access the TRI Explorer, an on-line tool that generates reports based on facilities, chemicals, geographic areas, or industry type (SIC code) at the county, state, and national level including information for on- and off-site disposal or other releases, transfers off-site, and other waste management data (click here). [*Toxics]