Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program
Large Aquatic Ecosystems:
South Florida Geographic Initiative
TRI facilities in South Florida Geographic Initiative
Quick Facts for 2010:
The area covered by the South Florida Geographic Initiative is home to two unique ecosystems: the Everglades and the Florida Keys coral reef ecosystem. The Everglades are the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. It is a significant breeding ground for wading birds and is home to a number of rare and endangered species. The Florida Keys coral reef ecosystem spans more than 330 miles providing habitat for over 6,000 marine species. It protects south Florida's shorelines from tropical storms and hurricanes, and sustains the region's fisheries, beaches, tourism, and recreation. The South Florida Geographic Initiative is a partnership program aimed at protecting and restoring the aquatic ecosystems of southern Florida.
South Florida ecosystem's health is threatened in part by its expanding human population, currently about eight million people. Fifty percent of the region's wetlands have been lost to suburban and agricultural development. Altered water flows throughout the region as well as pollutant loadings of nutrients and mercury have had significant impacts on the area's ecosystems. Fish consumption advisories or bans are in place for many species because of mercury contamination and mercury concentrations in many birds and mammals were found to be highly elevated.
Mercury emission source studies indicate that atmospheric deposition, primarily from medical and municipal incinerators, are the major mercury emission sources in South Florida. The largest TRI mercury air releases in 2010 were from electric utilities and cement plants. Electric utilities also report some surface water discharges of mercury compounds.
The largest total TRI on-site disposal or other releases in the region are air releases of methanol, from citrus and sugar cane processing facilities, and ammonia, hydrochloric and sulfuric acids, primarily from electric power plants. While air releases in the region decreased by 68% from 2001 to 2010, they increased by 8% from 2009 to 2010. Surface water discharges also increased, by 14% from 2009 to 2010, mainly of ammonia from one electric utility.
On-site land disposal or other releases were reported from food processors, mainly atrazine (a herbicide), and pendimethalin (a pesticide) from sugar cane processors. On-site land disposal or other releases decreased by 45% from 2001 to 2010, including a decrease of 25% from 2009 to 2010.
Among the efforts underway to restore the South Florida ecosystem include restoring natural water flows, controlling nutrient loading, minimizing habitat alteration, and reducing mercury contamination.To learn more about ongoing efforts to protect South Florida, visit: www.epa.gov/region4/water/southflorida.
Top Five Chemicals by Environmental Medium
South Florida Geographic Initiative, 2010
These charts represent the top five TRI chemicals in pounds released for this LAE, and do not include all chemicals of concern nor the priority or importance of those chemicals within the LAE. For more specific information, please visit the LAE Website at http://water.epa.gov/aboutow/owow/programs/large_aquatic.cfm.