EPA reports overall 12 percent decline in industrial toxic releases for the Pacific Northwest, Idaho and Alaska
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its 2019 Toxics Release Inventory National Analysis, which demonstrates that U.S. companies that use and manage chemicals and metals continue to make progress in preventing pollution. In the report released today, between 2018 – 2019 total releases of TRI chemicals decreased nationally by nine percent.
The 2019 TRI National Analysis released today reflects TRI chemical waste management activities, including releases, that occurred during calendar year 2019 and therefore does not indicate any potential impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency that took hold in the U.S. in early 2020. Due to the significant analysis of reported information, this summary and interpretation of the most recent TRI data is released approximately six months after the reporting deadline.
In Region 10, metal mines drive the quantity of TRI chemical waste released and reported to the EPA. From 2018 to 2019, total chemical waste managed at Region 10 facilities decreased by nine percent, driven by decreased releases reported by metal mines. Excluding metal mines, total chemical waste managed in the region decreased by nine million pounds (three percent).
Since 2018, the quantity of chemicals released to the environment decreased by 128 million pounds (12 percent) in Region 10, compared to a nine percent decrease nationally. The decrease was driven by the metal mining sector. To learn more about metal mining operations and their TRI reporting, explore the interactive metal mining diagram.
Reported releases of TRI chemicals for 2019 in EPA Region 10’s four states:
- ALASKA - Decrease of 119 million pounds (-12%)
- IDAHO - Increase of 217,865 pounds (+0.7%)
- OREGON - Decrease of 2.5 million pounds (-12%)
- WASHINGTON - Decrease of 5.1 million pounds (-16%).
In Region 10, 30 reporting facilities also reported implementing new source reduction activities in 2019. Source reduction programs can include changing raw materials, processes, and products, all aimed at reducing or eliminating the amount of chemical-containing waste facilities create.
In Washington, the Department of Ecology has recently launched the Lean and Green source reduction coaching program for business and industry. EPA has recently made a large investment in funding state Pollution Prevention grant programs that TRI reporters and others may wish to explore.
The TRI Program tracks chemicals that can cause significant adverse acute human health effects or significant adverse environmental effects. Covered facilities report detailed information to EPA on their management of these chemicals, including how much they release into the environment. The TRI National Analysis interprets this information and examines trends in releases, waste management practices, and pollution prevention activities.
Thanks to the passage of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 which helped create EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory program, Americans now have greater awareness of how chemicals are being managed in their communities.
Today, nearly 22,000 facilities report annually on the use and quantities of more than 760 chemicals they release to the environment or otherwise manage as waste to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program. EPA, states, and tribes receive TRI data from facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste management. The Pollution Prevention Act also requires facilities to submit information on pollution prevention and other waste management activities of TRI chemicals.
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To access the 2019 TRI National Analysis, including local data and analyses, visit www.epa.gov/trinationalanalysis.
Information on facility efforts to reduce TRI chemical releases is available at www.epa.gov/tri/p2.