On March 30, 2017, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced publication of the latest annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), covering data reported for 2015. The report for 2015 data, along with reports for data years back to 2007, is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityPlanningEmissions/SARATitleIII/SARA313ToxicsReleaseInventory.aspx.
According to the 2015 report’s Executive Summary, this year’s report lists types and amounts of chemicals released and reported by 439 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’s Introduction for the list of criteria determining which operations must report.) Virginia industries reported on 148 chemical and chemical categories, out of over 650 chemicals and chemical categories currently on the TRI list of reportable substances.
Virginia industries reported 858.60 million pounds of chemicals managed released to the environment, transferred off-site, or managed on-site in 2015, a 6.3-percent increase from the previous year’s 916.6 million pounds. This included 32.49 million pounds of chemicals released on-site to the air, water and land (7.7-percent decrease from 2014 data); 65.46 million pounds transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery or disposal (2.2-percent decrease from 2014); and 760.65 million pounds managed on-site by treatment, recycling, or energy recovery (6.6-percent increase from 2014). The total amount of TRI chemicals released to water increased by 371,029 pounds (3.3 percent) over 2014, while the total amount released to air or land decreased by 2.36 million pounds (11.6 percent).
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 223,108 pounds released on site (compared to 640,801 pounds in 2014); 804,856 pounds transferred off-site from reporting Virginia facilities for treatment, recycling, energy recovery, or disposal (compared to 819,099 pounds in 2014); and 247,934 pounds managed on-site by treatment, recycling, or energy recovery (compared to 200,232 pounds in 2014).
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.”
Water Central News Grouper items on previous years’ TRI reports are available online at https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Toxics+Release.
Additional source: Virginia issues report on chemical releases for 2015, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 3/30/17.
Related news media item:
Tri-Cities ranks high for toxic emissions, Petersburg Progress-Index, 3/30/17.