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EPA releases 2006 California Toxics Release Inventory data

Release Date: 02/21/2008
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 415-947-4227 smith.bonnie

Three percent overall reductions in California releases, persistent bioaccumulative toxic chemical releases also down

SAN FRANCISCO (02/21/2008)- - Industries operating in California reduced toxic releases by 2.8 percent in 2006 compared to 2005, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This is the third year in a row for overall reductions in toxic releases.

The data comes from the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), an annual measure of toxic chemical releases and waste generated by facilities in the United States. Total releases include toxic chemicals discharged to air, water, underground injection, land – including landfills – and the amount transferred off-site for disposal. Data provided does not mean that facilities with elevated levels are out of compliance with state, local or federal environmental regulations.

“TRI can help regulators, emergency responders, reporters, businesses and individuals be aware of the types and amounts of chemicals released in our communities,” said Wayne Nastri, EPA administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. “We are pleased to report a decrease in the amount of toxic chemicals released in California in 2006.”

In California, 1,357 facilities reported a total of 45.2 million pounds of toxic chemical releases. The 2.8 percent overall reductions equal a decrease of 1.5 million pounds reported. More than half of the overall reductions came from Chemical Waste Management in Kettleman City.

Data from 2006 in California show:

    Leading the downturn was a decrease of 11 percent, or 1.1 million pounds, of waste transferred off-site.

    Releases to land decreased 9 percent, or a total of 1.3 million pounds

    Air releases decreased 3 percent, or 560,000 pounds.
    Water releases increased 41 percent, or 1.5 million pounds. This was due primarily to increased water releases reported by Chevron in El Segundo and Evergreen Pulp Enterprises in Samoa.

Annual data Toxic Release Inventory reporting began in 1987. In 2000, it expanded to include persistent bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals, or PBTs, at ranges from 0.1 grams to 100 pounds.

PBT pollutants are toxic chemicals that remain in the environment and food chain, posing risks to human health and ecosystems. In California, 4.9 million pounds of total on-site and off-site releases of PBT chemicals were reported. This is a decrease of four percent or 178 thousand pounds from the previous year. A one percent decrease in lead and lead compounds helped reduce the overall releases of PBTs.

The top facilities in California for total on-site and off-site releases of all chemicals are:
1. Chemical Waste Management Inc. (Kettleman City, Kings County) with 8.8 million pounds.
2. Evergreen Pulp Enterprises (Samoa, Humboldt County) with 2.1 million pounds.
3. Quemetco Inc (City of Industry, Los Angeles County) with 1.9 million pounds.
4. Tesoro Refining & Marketing Co (Martinez, Contra Costa County) with 1.8 million pounds.
5. Valero Refining Co. – California Benecia Refinery (Benicia, Solano County) with 1.7 million pounds.
6. Clean Harbors Buttonwillow LLC (Buttonwillow, Kern County) with 1.6 million pounds.
7. Exxonmobil Oil Corp – Torrance Refinery (Torrance, Los Angeles County) with 1.5 million pounds.
8. Chevron Products Co. Div of Chevron USA Inc. (El Segundo, Los Angeles County) with 1.3 million pounds.
9. Chevron Products Co. Richmond Refinery (Richmond, Contra Costa County) with 1.2 million pounds.
10. Berg Laquer Co./ Pacific Resource Recovery Services (Los Angeles, Los Angeles County) with 1.1 million pounds.

The top facilities in California for total on-site and off-site releases of PBT chemicals are:
1. Chemical Waste Management Inc.(Kettleman City, Kings County) with 1.7 million pounds.
2. Quemetco Inc (City of Industry, Los Angeles County) with 1.2 million pounds.
3. Exide Technologies (Los Angeles, Los Angeles County) with 774 thousand pounds.
4. Clean Harbors Buttonwillow LLC (Buttonwillow, Kern County) with 185 thousand pounds.
5. TXI Riverside Cement Oro Grande Plant (Oro Grande, San Bernardino County) with 169 thousand pounds.
6. U.S. Marine Corps MCB Camp Pendleton (Camp Pendleton, San Diego County) with 123 thousand pounds.
7. U.S. Marine Corps Chocolate Mountain Gunnery Range (Niland, Imperial County) with 81 thousand pounds.
8. U.S. Marine Corps Twenty Nine Palms Air Ground Combat Center (Twenty Nine Palms, San Bernardino County) with 75 thousand pounds.
9. Equilon Enterprises LLC Carson Terminal (Carson, Los Angeles County) with 72 thousand pounds.
10. U.S. Army Fort Irwin National Training Center (Fort Irwin, San Bernardino County) with 66 thousand pounds.

Some findings of interest at the national level: Total disposal and other releases are down two percent from last year. Combined air releases of TRI chemicals are down seven percent. Total disposal and other releases of mercury to all media combined increased 17 percent. However, air releases of mercury are down four percent. From 2001-2006, total releases reported to TRI decreased by 24 percent.

This is the first year facilities are reporting under the December 2006 rule making that expands eligibility for facilities to use a more streamlined, shorter form. The rule provides incentives to facilities to improve environmental performance and reduce the quantity and the toxicity of its releases. For 2006 reporting in the Pacific Southwest Region, there was a small net increase of the short forms submitted. A number of factors could account for the increase, including: changes in production process or products, new TRI reporters, facilities that previously qualified but did not use the short form, or the December 2006 rule.

The Toxic Release Inventory program has been credited with arming communities with valuable knowledge and encouraging facilities to reduce releases of toxic chemicals through source reduction, or pollution prevention measures.

The following web sites also provide city, county and facility information on TRI: and State fact sheets are available at: