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EPA Issues Annual Report on Chemicals Released Into Land, Air and Water in Puerto Rico; PREPA and Gulf Caribbean Petroleum Refining Top the List of Biggest Polluters in PR

Release Date: 12/16/2010
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov or Brenda Reyes, (787) 977-5869, reyes.brenda@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued its annual report on the amount of toxic chemicals released to the land, air and water by industrial facilities in Puerto Rico in 2009. The Toxics Release Inventory report showed an overall increase in the amount of chemicals released by 114 facilities that are required to report their releases to the Agency. The increase was largely due to the October 2009 explosion and fire at the Gulf Caribbean Petroleum Refining (CAPECO) facility in Bayamon. Total releases to air, water and land by reporting facilities on the island increased by nearly 10% from 4.6 million pounds in 2008 to 5.1 million pounds in 2009.

EPA added 16 chemicals to the list of reportable toxic chemicals in November 2010. These chemicals are reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens, and represent the largest expansion of the reporting program in a decade. Data on the new chemicals will be reported by facilities on July 1, 2012.

Facilities must report their chemical releases by July 1 of each year. This year, EPA made a preliminary set of data for 2009 available in July, the same month as the data was collected. This is the earliest release of data to the public ever.

“This report informs the public and policymakers about the types of pollution in our communities and where they come from,” said Judith Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “It is an invaluable tool that we all can use to better understand pollution problems and to take action to protect health and their local environment. The data is a reminder that we need to work toward preventing pollution at the source.”

Since 1988, Toxic Release Inventory data has been provided to the public annually to help people learn more about the chemicals present in their local environment and gauge environmental trends over time. The inventory contains the most comprehensive information about chemicals released into the environment reported annually by certain industries and federal facilities. These facilities have permits issued under federal regulations that set strict limits on the amount of chemicals that they are allowed to release into the air, water or land. Many are required to install and maintain pollution controls.

Nationally, over 20,000 facilities reported on approximately 650 chemicals for calendar year 2009. The Toxic Release Inventory provides information to the public on which facilities are increasing and decreasing their output of toxic chemicals and compounds. With improvements in EPA’s system, the vast majority of facilities now report data electronically and detailed information about specific facilities is more readily accessible to the public.

The reporting facilities in Puerto Rico with the largest 2009 on-site releases into the environment are (from highest to lowest) in pounds:

Name
City
2009 Total On-site Releases
2008 Total On-site Releases
2008-2009 Change
2008-2009 % Change
PREPA - AGUIRRE POWER GENERATI ON COMPLEXAGUIRRE
1,103,396
1,195,406
-92,010
-7.70
PREPA - SOUTH COAST POWER PLAN TGUAYANILLA
1,023,280
1,240,415
-217,135
-17.51
CARIBBEAN PETROLEUM REFINING LPBAYAMON
765,833
57,305
708,528
1,236.41
PREPA - SAN JUAN STEAM PLANTPUERTO NUEVO
490,134
425,241
64,893
15.26
PREPA - PALO SECO STEAM PLANTTOA BAJA
487,801
177,863
309,938
174.26
AES PUERTO RICO LPGUAYAMA
318,498
363,786
-45,288
-12.45
SCHERING-PLOUGH PRODUCTS LLCLAS PIEDRAS
259,117
276,119
-17,002
-6.16
CROWN BEVERAGE PACKAGINGCAROLINA
120,497
60,005
60,492
100.81
ECOELECTRICA LPPENUELAS
91,277
84,505
6,772
8.01
CEMEX DE PUERTO RICO INCPONCE
75,683
131,852
-56,170
-42.60

To view an area fact sheet, visit: http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/statefactsheet.htm. 10-128