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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: 02/21/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Feb. 21, 2008) – EPA’s most recent Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data is now available for the reporting year of 2006. This year, due to continued increases in electronic reporting by industry, TRI data is available earlier than ever for both local communities and national analysis.

In Maine, the reporting data show that overall releases of pollutants to the environment have declined. 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.

“EPA is continuing to see lower amounts of pollutants being released to New England’s environment,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA’s New England office. “We’re also getting quality data out to the public faster, thanks to more facilities reporting electronically. This helps citizens, communities, industry and our environment.”

During 2006, the latest year for which data are available, approximately 27.7 million pounds of chemicals were released in the six New England states, a reduction of 2,560,906 pounds. In Maine, 98 facilities reported in 2006 approximately 10.6 million pounds (a reduction of 964,058 pounds). Approximately 47.6 percent of releases in Maine were emitted to the air and 32.5 percent of releases were discharged to water during 2006.

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.

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 2006 in Maine were:

- Nitrate Compounds 2005 releases = 3,035,733 lbs. 2006 releases = 2,812,904 lbs.
- Methanol 2005 releases = 2,739,559 lbs. 2006 releases = 2,501,288 lbs.
- Zinc Compounds 2005 releases = 1,087,639 lbs. 2006 releases = 1,114,087 lbs.
- Manganese Compounds 2005 releases = 1,050,038 lbs. 2006 releases = 1,029,511 lbs.
- Ammonia 2005 releases = 886,749 lbs. 2006 releases = 866,754 lbs.

The five facilities that reported the largest quantity of on- and off-site environmental releases in Maine under TRI for 2006 were:

Facility Pounds Environmental Releases
McCain Foods USA, Easton 2,278,292 lbs.
Verso Paper Holdings, LLC, Jay 1,928,971 lbs.
Newpage Paper Corp., Rumford 1,700,733 lbs.
SD Warren Co. Sappi Fine Paper, Skowhegan 1,470,906 lbs
Domtar Maine Corp., Baileyville 1,119,196 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 2008. 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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