On March 29, 2016, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced publication of the latest annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), covering data reported for 2014.
According to the report’s Executive Summary, this year’s report lists types and amounts of chemicals released and reported by 436 industrial operations in the Commonwealth having 10 or more employees and reaching specific minimum amounts of toxic chemicals used. (See p. 2 in the report Introduction to this year’s report for the list of criteria determining which operations must report.) Virginia industries reported on 153 chemical and chemical categories, out of over 650 chemicals can chemical categories subject to TRI report.
Virginia industries reported 916.6 million pounds of chemicals managed released to the environment, transferred off-site, or managed on-site in 2014, a 5.6-percent increase from the previous year. This included 35.2 million pounds of chemicals released on-site to the air, water and land (2.4-percent decrease from 2013 data); 66.9 million pounds transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery or disposal (1.0-percent decrease from 2013); and 814.4 million pounds managed on-site by treatment, recycling, or energy recovery (6.6-percent increase from 2013).
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 640,801 pounds released on-site; 819,099 pounds transferred off-site from reporting Virginia facilities for treatment, recycling, energy recovery, or disposal; and 200,232 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 do 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.”
The 2014 Virginia TRI report is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityPlanningEmissions/SARATitleIII/SARA313ToxicsReleaseInventory/VA2014ToxicsReleaseInventoryReport.aspx. Reports from previous years are located online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityPlanningEmissions/SARATitleIII/SARA313ToxicsReleaseInventory.aspx.
Additional source: Virginia issues report on chemical releases for 2014, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 3/29/16.