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EPA Analysis Shows 2014 Decrease of Toxic Chemical Releases in Massachusetts
Release Date: 01/25/2016
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017
BOSTON – EPA’s most recent Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data is now available for the reporting year of 2014. In Massachusetts, the reporting data show that overall releases of pollutants to the environment decreased since the previous reporting year (2013).
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. TRI reporting provides Americans with vital information about their communities by publishing information on toxic chemical disposals and releases into the air, land and water, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities in neighborhoods across the country.
“Data from the Toxic Release Inventory is an important tool for citizens to know what chemicals are being used in their communities, and what companies are doing to prevent pollution,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “This year is the 30th Anniversary of TRI, and we are proud that EPA continues to make this information easily accessible through online tools, maps and reports.”
During 2014, the latest year for which data are available, approximately 16.5 million pounds of chemicals were released in the six New England states, a reduction of about 2,192,318 pounds (decreased by 11.7 percent). In Massachusetts, 417 facilities reported in 2014 approximately 3.4 million pounds (a decrease of 215,230 pounds, or 6.0 percent). Approximately 35.4 percent of releases in Massachusetts were emitted to the air during 2014. Approximately 0.7 percent of releases in Massachusetts were released to the land during 2014.
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 which exceed thresholds for chemicals. 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. 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 ten chemicals released to the environment on- and off-site during 2014 in Massachusetts were:
Rank Chemical Total On- and Off-site Disposal or Other Releases
1 (1) ZINC COMPOUNDS 1,045,419
2 (2) NITRATE COMPOUNDS 251,093
3 (3) TOLUENE 238,644
4 (4) N-BUTYL ALCOHOL 149,954
5 (6) CERTAIN GLYCOL ETHERS 126,675
6 (7) HYDROCHLORIC ACID (ACID AEROSOLS ONLY) 125,626
7 (9) METHANOL 106,731
8 (5) AMMONIA 103,421
9 (28) FORMALDEHYDE 98,980
10 (10) LEAD COMPOUNDS 87,412
The ten facilities that reported the largest quantity of on- and off-site environmental releases in Massachusetts under TRI for 2014 were:
Rank Facility Total On- and Off-site Disposal or Other Releases
2014 (2013) Location
1 (1) SOLUTIA INC, SPRINGFIELD 914,188
2 (2) CROWN BEVERAGE PACKAGING, LAWRENCE 237,436
3 (3) INEOS MELAMINES LLC, SPRINGFIELD 212,238
4 (7) ACUSHNET CO BALL PLANT III, NEW BEDFORD 129,023
5 (6) IDEAL TAPE CO, LOWELL 127,765
6 (9) SUPERCON INC, SHREWSBURY 121,803
7 (11) BRAYTON POINT ENERGY LLC, SOMERSET 87,018
8 (44) SMITH & WESSON, SPRINGFIELD 85,554
9 (5) CLEAN HARBORS OF BRAINTREE INC, BRAINTREE 83,438
10 (8) DUNCAN GROUP, EVERETT 79,443
TRI data are submitted annually to EPA, states, and tribes by facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste. Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), facilities must report their toxic chemical releases for the prior year to EPA by July 1 of each year. The Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 also requires facilities to submit information on pollution prevention and other waste management activities related to TRI chemicals.
This year, the TRI report is available on its own dedicated website, giving users easier access to key information, including analyses and interactive maps showing data at a state, county, city, and zip code level. Other new features of this year’s analysis include integrated demographic information, profiles of federal facilities and the automotive manufacturing sector, and a discussion forum where users can share feedback about the report.
EPA will hold training workshops to assist facility managers to understand and comply with TRI reporting requirements during the spring of 2016 in each of the six New England states.
- Generate a TRI Fact Sheet for Vermont (http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/statefactsheet.htm)
- Details of TRI Training workshops in New England will be posted at http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-1-new-england
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