Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program
Urban Communities: Philadelphia Metropolitan Area
TRI facilities in Philadelphia Metropolitan Area
Quick Facts for 2011
The Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD metropolitan area covers 5,118 square miles in four states: five counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, four counties in southern New Jersey, one county in northern Delaware, and one county in northeastern Maryland.
The metropolitan area is also called the Delaware Valley because the Delaware River flows through the area and into the Delaware Bay, both important estuaries. Other major rivers and waterways include the Schuylkill River, the Lower Susquehanna River, and the upper most portion of the Chesapeake Bay. It is the sixth largest metropolitan area in the United States, with a population of about 6 million.
The making of chemicals, including pharmaceuticals, is the area's leading manufacturing activity. Other important products manufactured in the Delaware Valley include medical devices, personal care products, food products, computer and electronic products, industrial machinery, fabricated metal products, petroleum products, rubber and plastic products, and printed materials.
Chemical manufacturers had the largest total disposal or other releases in the Philadelphia metropolitan area due to their surface water discharges. One petrochemical plant in New Jersey accounted for 65% of surface water discharges in the area for 2011, primarily composed of nitrate compounds to the Delaware River. Petroleum refineries had the largest on-site air releases in this area for 2011. Air releases of sulfuric acid and hydrogen cyanide comprised 54% of the total air releases for the petroleum sector in this area. Four refineries located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware accounted for 36% of the total air releases.
Total on-site disposal or other releases for the Philadelphia metropolitan area decreased by 16% from 2003 to 2011, and by 3% from 2010 to 2011. Total surface water discharges increased by 160% from 2003 to 2011, including a 5% increase from 2010 to 2011. Air releases decreased by 59% from 2003 to 2011 including a decrease of 10% from 2010 to 2011.
Top Five Chemicals by Environmental Medium
Philadelphia Metropolitan Area, 2011
These charts represent the top five TRI chemicals in pounds released for this urban community, and they include neither all chemicals of concern nor the priority or importance of those chemicals within the urban community.