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Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program

Test of 2013 TRI National Analysis: TRI & Beyond - Example chemical: Chlorine reported in RMP & TRI

Section 3: Chemical Safety and Emergency Planning

Example Chemical: Chlorine Reported in RMP & TRI


Chlorine is reported to both TRI and RMP. It is one of the most commonly manufactured chemicals in the United States, with a domestic production volume of 22 billion pounds in 2011.3 It is used in industrial operations primarily as a chemical reactant, but is also widely used as a bleach or disinfectant. While chlorine can be pressurized and cooled to a liquid for storage and shipment, when liquid chlorine is released, it quickly turns into a gas that stays close to the ground and spreads rapidly. Chlorine gas irritates the respiratory system, and as a strong oxidizer, it may react strongly (e.g., explosively) with other materials. Data over the past five years show that there have been 588 chlorine-related accidents resulting in 749 injuries, one death, and an estimated $128 million in property damage.4,5 Proper management of chlorine at industrial facilities is vital to workers and the surrounding community.

Chlorine is covered by RMPs in over 3,300 facilities from May of 2009 to May of 2014, with approximately 808 million pounds in processes. The top industries by pounds of chlorine are Chemical Manufacturing and Chemical Wholesalers, as shown in the figure. These industry sectors also reported to TRI. When viewed by counts of facilities, the two industries with the most facilities reporting chlorine in processes in an RMP are water supply and irrigation systems (1,401 facilities) and sewage treatment facilities (703 facilities). Neither of these industries is required to report to TRI.

Facilities report different types of information in an RMP than to TRI. For example, a facility in Charleston, TN, reported in its 2013 RMP:

  • Quantity in processes: 33.8 million pounds of chlorine in its chlor-alkali process in 100% concentration as gas liquefied by pressure.
  • Accident history: In 2005, over-pressurization of a line, caused by human error, resulted in an accidental release of less than 1 pound of chlorine.

For 2013, the same facility reported 272.7 pounds of chlorine air releases to TRI. Taken together, the data provide a more complete picture of the facility’s handling of the chemical.

For more information, please visit the EPCRA webpage. To learn more about Risk Management Plans, see the RMP Rule webpage. The public may access RMP data at Federal Reading Rooms. For more information on TRI, see EPA’s TRI website .

4 EPA Internal RMP Dataset, data frozen on May 14, 2014.
5 Injuries and damages include all accidents at the facilities, not just those involving chlorine.

This page was published in January 2015 and uses the 2013 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in October 2014.