On March 29, 2018, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced publication of the latest annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), covering data reported for 2016. The report for 2016 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 2016 data report’s Executive Summary, this year’s report lists types and amounts of chemicals released and reported by 434 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 153 chemical and chemical categories, out of over 650 chemicals and chemical categories currently on the TRI list of reportable substances.
Virginia industries reported 909.07 million pounds of chemicals managed released to the environment, transferred off-site, or managed on-site in 2016, a 5.9-percent increase from the previous year’s 858.60 million pounds. This included 35.82 million pounds of chemicals released on-site to the air, water and land (10.3-percent increase from 2015 data); 64.40 million pounds transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery or disposal (1.6-percent decrease from 2015); and 808.94 million pounds managed on-site by treatment, recycling, or energy recovery (6.3-percent increase from 2015). The total amount of TRI chemicals released to water increased by 2.03 million pounds (17.6 percent) over 2015, the total amount released to air increased by 986,275 pounds (5.5 percent), and the total released to land increased by 310,127 pounds (10.6 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 190,961 pounds released on site (compared to 223,108 pounds in 2015); 747,944 pounds transferred off-site from reporting Virginia facilities for treatment, recycling, energy recovery, or disposal (compared to 804,856 pounds in 2015); and 159,916 pounds managed on-site by treatment, recycling, or energy recovery (compared to 247,934 pounds in 2015).
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. The overwhelming majority 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.
Virginia Issues Report on Chemical Releases for 2016, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 3/29/18.
Virginia issues report on chemical releases for 2015, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 3/30/17.