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Seven New Industries Report Toxic Releases

Release Date: 5/11/2000
Contact Information: Joan Schafer (215) 814-5143

Joan Schafer, 215-814-5143

PHILADELPHIA - There’s good news and better news about toxic chemicals in the mid-Atlantic region.

The good news is that industry has reported a 50 percent cut in toxic releases to the environment from 1988 to 1997. The better news is that the EPA required seven new industries to report their releases for 1998, giving the public a more complete picture of toxic releases in the region.

In 1997, the annual total was 243 million pounds of chemical releases, but with the new industries added in 1998 (the latest reporting year), that number rose to 452 million pounds – an increase of 46 percent. The seven new industries reporting beginning in calender year 1998 are: electric utilities, coal and metal mining, chemical terminals, petroleum bulk terminals, commercial hazardous waste treatment facilities and solvent recovery facilities.

The majority of the increase is from electric utilities’ reporting of sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid air emissions from coal combustion.

“We now have a much more comprehensive record of toxics in our environment,” said Bradley Campbell, EPA regional administrator. “As we expand and refine the toxics reporting process, we raise public awareness and our ability to make more informed environmental decisions.”

Companies report these toxics for the EPA to compile the annual Toxic Release Inventory which contains information about the releases and transfers of more than 650 toxic chemicals and compounds to the air, water and land. The inventory also tracks how wastes are recycled, used in energy recovery, treated and disposed. Data is compiled using forms that industrial facilities submit to EPA and the states.

The inventory is a resource for communities, businesses and government to learn more about the potential health and environmental risks posed by industries in their local areas. It is also a useful tool to demonstrate the steps that industry is taking to reduce those risks by cutting releases of toxic chemicals. The inventory was established by the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act of 1986.

Some specifics from the mid-Atlantic states:

In Delaware, Delmarva Power Indian River plant had the highest on-site releases – 3.9 million pounds. Delmarva Power Edgemoor was second with 2.0 million pounds and Motiva Enterprises in Delaware City was third with 1.9 million pounds.

In Maryland, Baltimore Gas & Electric had the highest on-site and off-site releases of 11.4 million pounds. from two plants near Baltimore, Brandon Shores and Wagner Complex. Pepco’s Morgantown Generating Station was second with 5.5 million pounds and Pepco’s Chalk Point Generating Station was third with 3.3 million pounds.

In Pennsylvania, Armco Inc. Butler Operations (now owned by AK Steel of Ohio) had the highest releases with 31.7 million pounds, mostly nitrates released to surface water from steel cleaning. Armco is installing non-nitric acid processes for steel cleaning which will greatly reduce nitrate releases beginning with the 1999 TRI reporting. Zinc Corp. Of America in Monaca, Pa. had the second highest totals 20.9 million pounds which is down from 24.9 million pounds in 1997 and 43.4 million pounds in 1993.

In Virginia, Allied Signal’s Hopewell Plant had the highest on-site releases – 5.5 million pounds, mostly ammonia air emissions. This was an increase from 3.3 million pounds in 1997. The Chesterfield Power Station was second with 4.9 million pounds, primarily air releases of acid aerosols and land releases of metals. Westvaco Corp.’s Bleached Board Division in Covington was third with total on-site releases of 4.8 million pounds, mostly air releases of methanol and acid aerosols. These releases are down from last year’s totals of 5.1 million pounds.

In West Virginia, American Electric power plants in Winfield, Moundsville and New Haven were ranked the top three with total on-site releases of 17.5 million pounds, 14.5 million pounds and 9.2 million pounds, respectively. These releases were primarily acid aerosols from fuel combustion and land disposal of metals.

Complete 1998 TRI data, in addition to all other years beginning with 1987, is available on the Internet at EPA’s “Envirofacts Warehouse”:

In addition to the seven new reporting industries, a new EPA rule says that the reporting threshold for persistent bioaccumulative toxic chemicals (PBT) has been lowered from 25,000 to 10,000 pounds for the year 2000. Certain new PBT chemicals have also been added to the reporting list. These PBT chemicals are of particular concern, not only because they are toxic, but also because they remain in the environment for long periods of time, are not readily destroyed, and accumulate in body tissue.

The new PBT rule was effective January 1, 2000. Therefore, the new requirements apply for TRI reports on releases and waste management for the year 2000 which must be submitted to the Agency by July 1, 2001.

Following is the list of PBT chemicals affected by the new rule.

PBT Chemical Threshold in pounds (except dioxin)
Dioxin and dioxin_like compounds category 0.1 grams
Polycyclic aromatic compounds category100
Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs)10
Tetrabromobisphenol A100
Mercury compounds10

Other TRI information and updates can be accessed at EPA’s TRI Home Page: