Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program
Large Aquatic Ecosystems: Long Island Sound
TRI facilities in Long Island Sound
Quick Facts for 2011
The Long Island Sound is a large and productive estuary lying between Connecticut to the north and Long Island, New York, to the south. It is home to more than 170 species of fish and dozens of species of migratory birds. The Sound supports a large commercial fishing and shellfishing industry, and its waters and shores are an important recreational resource. The Sound's watershed, which begins at the headwaters of the Connecticut River near the Quebec border, covers more than 17,000 square miles.
On-site total disposal or other releases in the Long Island Sound watershed decreased by 77% from 2003 to 2011 and by 27% from 2010 to 2011. Air releases accounted for 83% of the total on-site disposal or other releases in the Long Island Sound watershed in 2011. Four industry sectors accounted for almost 60% of all air releases: plastics/rubber, chemicals, miscellaneous manufacturing and fabricated metals. Air releases decreased by 27% from 2010 to 2011, including a 75% decrease by electric utilities for that time period. Air releases decreased by 78% from 2003 to 2011.
Chemical manufacturers and fabricated metals facilities reported 97% of the total surface water discharges for 2011, mainly composed of nitrate compounds. Surface water discharges decreased by 67% from 2003 to 2011 and by 19% from 2010 to 2011.
One hazardous waste management facility accounted for 69% of on-site land disposal or other releases in the watershed in 2011, mainly composed of copper and its compounds. On-site land disposal or other releases decreased by 66% from 2003 to 2011 and by 55% from 2010 to 2011.
Much of the land area bordering Long Island Sound is densely populated, and the health and productivity of the Sound, its wetlands, intertidal areas, and other habitats have been diminished by development and pollution. Areas of the Sound are impaired as habitat for fish and shellfish because of low dissolved oxygen levels, a condition called hypoxia. Reducing nitrogen loads, which contribute to oxygen depletion, is a top priority for the government and nongovernmental organizations working to protect the Sound. Another priority is the reduction of toxic substances entering the Sound. Discharges and atmospheric deposition into the Sound, its tributaries, and watershed from industrial activities over the years have resulted in accumulation of toxic chemicals in the water column and sediments. According to the Long Island Sound Study, mercury, copper, zinc, and PCBs are of particular concern. Health advisories in Long Island Sound warn against consumption of several fish and shellfish species due to elevated levels of toxic chemicals. To learn more about ongoing efforts to protect Long Island Sound, visit: www.longislandsoundstudy.net.
Top Five Chemicals by Environmental Medium
Long Island Sound, 2011
These charts represent the top five TRI chemicals in pounds released for this LAE, and they include neither all chemicals of concern nor the priority or importance of those chemicals within the LAE. For more specific information, please visit the LAE website.