On March 27, 2015, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced publication of the latest annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), covering data reported for 2013. This year’s report lists types and amounts of chemicals released and reported by 426 industrial operations in the Commonwealth having 10 or more employees and reaching specific minimum amounts of toxic chemicals used. (See p. 2 in the Introduction to this year’s report for the list of criteria determining which operations must report.)
According to the DEQ’s 3/27/15 news release on the TRI report, “36 million pounds of chemicals were released on-site to the air, water and land (an increase of 10.3 percent from 2012); 67.6 million pounds of chemicals were transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery or disposal (a 3.6 percent increase from 2012); [and] 764 million pounds of chemicals were managed on-site by treatment, recycling or energy recovery (a 1.4 percent decrease from 2012).
According to the report’s Executive Summary, the released amounts of “persistent bioaccumulative toxics” (chemicals that remain in the environment for a long time, are not easily destroyed, and can build up in body tissue)—were 219,721 pounds released on-site; 806,906 pounds transferred off-site from reporting Virginia facilities for treatment, recycling, energy recovery, or disposal; and 317,997 pounds managed on-site by treatment, recycling, or energy recovery.
The report’s Executive Summary states the following about how to interpret the release information: “The Virginia TRI Report provides the public with information concerning specified toxic chemicals and chemical compounds which are manufactured, processed, or otherwise used at Virginia facilities. Responsible use of the information can help the public and industry identify potential concerns and develop effective strategies for reducing toxic chemical usage and release. The TRI data do not, however, represent a measure of the public’s exposure to chemicals, nor does they assess risk. Most of the releases are regulated and permitted under other state and federal programs that are designed to protect human health and the environment. Because of differences in report-generation schedules and receipt of reports, the information in the Virginia TRI Report will not precisely match the information in the national Toxics Release Inventory – Public Data Release, located at http://www2.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program/tri-data-and-tools, as published by [the U.S.] EPA.”
This year’s Virginia TRI report and those from previous years are located online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityPlanningEmissions/SARATitleIII/SARA313ToxicsReleaseInventory.aspx.
Source: Virginia issues report on chemical releases for 2013, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 3/27/15.