Contact Us

Newsroom

News Releases

 

U.S. EPA Issues Nevada Toxic Release Data, Arsenic and Lead Among Most Common

Release Date: 12/08/2009
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, 415-947-4149, perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov

Latest report shows 202 million pounds of toxics released into environment, a decrease of nearly 22 million pounds

(12/8/09-SAN FRANCISCO) Toxic releases into the environment from facilities operating in Nevada decreased 10 percent in 2008 when compared to 2007, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The 22 million pound decline is primarily due to a decrease in land releases from mining facilities.

The data comes from the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory, commonly referred to as TRI. It’s one of the EPA’s largest publicly available databases, arming communities with valuable information on more than 650 toxic chemicals released by various industries. The chemical information in the inventory is calculated by industrial facilities and reported to the EPA, as required by law.

“We encourage people to use data from the Toxics Release Inventory in order to gain a better understanding of what is being released into their neighborhoods,” said Laura Yoshii, actin EPA administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. “Industry and communities informed with accurate information can use the inventory as a starting point to find opportunities to reduce the amount of pollutants released into the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land we enjoy.”

Total releases include toxic chemicals discharged by facilities to air, water, land, and underground, and the amount transferred off-site for disposal. Regulatory controls apply to many of the reported releases. Reporting facilities must comply with environmental standards set by local, state and federal agencies.

Here’s a look at toxic releases in Nevada from 2006 – 2008, reported in pounds:

Reporting Year
Type of Release200620072008
Air1,561,788 1,524,176 1,299,441
Land (On-site)214,170,699 219,527,708 199,173,533
Underground Injection4 0 0
Water191,653 144 158
Off-site disposal1,476,577 2,946,989 1,872,249
Total On- & Off-site releases217,400,721223,999,017202,345,381
Data from 2008 in Nevada show:

    *Overall toxic releases decreased 10% mostly due to a decrease in gold mining releases to land
    *136 facilities in Nevada reported 202 million pounds of toxic chemical releases—ranking the state 6th nationwide in total reported on-site and off-site releases
    *Air releases decreased 15%, 225 thousand pounds
    *The top five released chemicals are lead, arsenic compounds, zinc compounds, manganese, and mercury
    *Approximately 91 million pounds of total releases of lead were reported in Nevada. 99% of these were land releases from the metal mining industry
      *In Nevada, 96 million pounds of total releases of PBT chemicals were reported, an increase of 57% or 35 million pounds since 2007
      *Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) releases decreased 40% from 584 to 350 pounds
      *All of the PCB releases in 2008 were disposed on-site in a permitted hazardous waste landfill, US Ecology Nevada Inc., in Beatty
      *Nevada ranks #1 in the United States for reported mercury releases
      *151 facilities in Region 9 reported 5.4 million pounds of mercury releases, down 794 thousand pounds from 2007-- Nevada mining facilities account for 99% of mercury releases in the region

    Annual Toxics Release Inventory reporting began in 1987 after the enactment of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (1996). The inventory provides information to the public on annual toxic chemical releases reported by certain industrial and federal facilities. The TRI does not include data on toxic emissions from cars and trucks, nor from the majority of non-industrial sources, such as agriculture. In 2000, TRI expanded to include persistent bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals, or PBTs, at ranges from 0.1 grams to 100 pounds. PBT pollutants are toxic chemicals that remain in the environment and food chain, posing risks to human health and ecosystems.

    The top facilities in Nevada for chemicals releases (reported in pounds) are:

    Facility NameCity 2007 Releases
    1Newmont Mining Corp. Copper Canyon FacilityBattle Mountain52,921,128
    2Barrick Goldstrike Mines Inc.Elko48,864,451
    3Newmont Mining Corp. Twin Creeks MineGolconda32,274,695
    4Newmont Mining Corp. Carlin South AreaCarlin26,833,697
    5Robinson Nevada Mining Co.Ruth14,113,597
    6Cortez Gold MinesCrescent Valley11,096,986
    7US Ecology Nevada Inc.Beatty3,197,462
    8Smoky Valley Common OperationRound Mountain1,783,621
    9Newmont Mining Corp. Carlin North AreaCarlin1,402,094
    10Newmont Midas OperationsMidas1,246,648

    TRI Explorer
    TRI Explorer is a tool that you can use to see the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data. It allows you to look at data by state, county, or zip code; by chemical; or by industry. It provides maps that you can click on to find TRI facilities, chemicals and industries in a particular area.

    National TRI Findings:
      *There was a 6% decrease in total reported releases into the environment nationwide from 2007 to 2008
      *The number of facilities reporting chemical releases decreased 5% nationally

      *Total PBT chemical releases decreased by 2% nation-wide

    For more on the TRI program including additional city, county and facility information, please visit the EPA’s Web sites: http://www.epa.gov/tri, http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer and http://www.epa.gov/enviro.

    State fact sheets are available at: http://www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/tri/ and http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/statefactsheet.htm.

    For more information on the PBT Chemicals Program, please visit the EPA’s Web site at http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/pbt
    ###
      Follow the U.S. EPA's Pacific Southwest region on Twitter: http://twitter.com/EPAregion9
      And join the LinkedIn group: http://www.linkedin.com/e/vgh/1823773/