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Community Chemical Release Data Available for Massachusetts

Release Date: 03/22/2007
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. - March 22, 2007) – EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data is available this year earlier than ever before for local communities and national analysis. Facility-specific data was released last September and the full national data released today.

EPA has released the most recent reporting data (for the year 2005) for the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). This information, released each year to the public and communities throughout the U.S., covers 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.

For the past several years, EPA has consistently made this information available to communities earlier than in the past. This is the earliest EPA has ever released TRI information.

“EPA is getting quality data out to the public faster, thanks to efficiencies like electronic reporting which is good for the environment, good for states and good for communities and industry alike,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA’s New England office.

During 2005, the latest year for which data are available, approximately 24 million pounds of chemicals were released in the six New England states, a reduction of about 700,000 pounds. In Massachusetts, releases in 2005 were approximately 5.49 million pounds (a reduction of about 949,000 pounds). Of Mass. releases, 95 percent were emitted to the air during 2005.

This year’s data shows that progress is being made nationally in reducing releases of several chemicals of special concern. For example, between 2004 and 2005 dioxin releases decreased by 23 percent and mercury releases fell by nine percent.

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. TRI data also does not indicate illegal discharges of pollutants to the environment. Yearly releases can vary due to factors such as power outages, production variability, etc., that do not reflect a facility's pollution prevention program(s).

The top five chemicals released to the environment during 2005 in Massachusetts were:

- Hydrochloric Acid 2005 releases = 2,215,473 lbs. 2004 releases = 2,187,134 lbs.
- Ammonia 2005 releases = 623,653 lbs. 2004 releases = 670,103 lbs.
- Zinc Compounds 2005 releases = 489,645 lbs. 2004 releases = 568,012 lbs.
- Toluene 2005 releases = 430,298 lbs. 2004 releases = 469,985 lbs.
- Barium Compounds 2005 releases = 417,418 lbs. 2004 releases = 283,432 lbs.

Massachusetts five largest on- and off-site environmental releases reported under TRI for 2005 were:

Facility Pounds Environmental Releases
Dominion Energy, Brayton Point, Somerset 1,691,935
Dominion Energy, Salem Harbor Station, Salem 550,358
Mirant Canal LLC, Sandwich 529,941
Somerset Power LLC, Somerset 410,965
Crown Beverage Packaging, Lawrence 405,285

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.