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Community-Specific Chemical Release Data Available for Maine - New England continues trend of lower releases to air, land and water

Release Date: 03/20/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – March 20, 2009) – EPA’s most recent Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data is now available for the reporting year of 2007. In Maine, the reporting data show that overall releases of pollutants to the environment have increased since the previous reporting year (2006). TRI information is a key part of EPA’s efforts to provide greater access to environmental information and get information to the public as quickly as possible.

Each year, EPA makes publicly available TRI data reported by industries throughout the United States regarding chemical releases to air, water and land by power plants, manufacturers and other facilities which employ ten or more workers and exceed thresholds for chemicals.

During 2007, the latest year for which data are available, approximately 26.7 million pounds of chemicals were released in the six New England states, a reduction of about 838,080 pounds. In Maine, 99 facilities reported in 2007 approximately 11.1 million pounds (an increase of 507,291 pounds). Approximately 45 percent of releases in Maine were emitted to the air and 30 percent discharged to water during 2007.

Reporting includes information on chemicals released at a company's facility, as well as those transported to disposal facilities off site. TRI data do not reflect the relative toxicity of the chemicals emitted or potential exposure to people living in a community with reported releases.

Recently, TRI reporting changed with the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 11. The new law returns TRI to the more comprehensive reporting requirements that were in effect before December 21, 2006.

Reporting under TRI does not indicate illegal discharges of pollutants to the environment. EPA works closely with states to provide regulatory oversight of facilities that generate pollution to the nation’s air, land and water. Effective review and permitting programs work to ensure that the public and the environment are not subjected to unhealthful levels of pollution, even as agencies work to further reduce emissions of chemicals to the environment.

Further, robust enforcement efforts by EPA and states ensure that facilities that violate their environmental permits are subject to penalties and corrective action. Yearly releases by individual facilities can vary due to factors such as power outages, production variability, lulls in the business cycle, etc., that do not reflect a facility's pollution prevention program(s).

The top five chemicals released to the environment on- and off-site during 2007 in Maine were:

-Nitrate Compounds 2006 releases = 2,810,132 lbs. 2007 releases = 2,704,580 lbs.
-Methanol 2006 releases = 2,555,363 lbs. 2007 releases = 2,529,904 lbs.
-Zinc Compounds 2006 releases = 1,114,087 lbs. 2007 releases = 1,496,584 lbs.
-Manganese Compounds 2006 releases = 1,029,761 lbs. 2007 releases = 1,198,918 lbs.
-Ammonia 2006 releases = 866,754 lbs. 2007 releases = 916,617 lbs.

The five facilities that reported the largest quantity of on- and off-site environmental releases in Maine under TRI for 2007 were:

Facility Pounds Environmental Releases

McCain Foods USA Inc, Easton 2,211,487 lbs.
Verso Paper Holdings LLC, Jay 1,909,959 lbs.
Newpage Paper Corp., Rumford 1,854,694 lbs.
S.D. Warren Co., Skowhegan 1,740,639 lbs.
Domtar Maine Corp., Baileyville 1,063,591 lbs.

TRI tracks the chemicals and industrial sectors specified by the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act of 1986 and its amendments. The Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990 also mandates that TRI reports must include data on toxic chemicals treated on-site, recycled, and burned for energy recovery. Together, these laws require facilities in certain industries to report annually on releases, disposal and other waste management activities related to these chemicals.

EPA continues to work closely with the regulated community to ensure that facilities understand and comply with their reporting requirements under TRI and other community right-to-know statutes. EPA will once again hold training workshops throughout the New England region during the Spring of 2009. Training sessions will be set up in each state. Further information will be available on our Web site.

More information:

-
TRI in Maine Fact Sheet (epa.gov/triexplorer/statefactsheet.htm)

- Further analysis of
TRI data for New England states and information on TRI training sessions (http://www.epa.gov/region1/tri)

- Fully searchable
TRI database (epa.gov/triexplorer)

- Additional
National information on TRI (epa.gov/tri/)

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Editor's Note - PR amended on 3/20/09 to correct typo: ("Baileyville" was incorrectly identified as "Bradleyville")