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EPA Releases 2001 Nationwide Toxics Release Inventory Data (California)

Release Date: 6/30/2003
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano (415) 947-4307

SAN FRANCISCO Industries in California reported a 22 percent decrease in the amount of toxic chemicals released into the air, land and water in the year 2001, according to new data released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

This information is part of the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory, an annual measure of toxic chemical releases, transfers and waste generated by facilities in the United States. The TRI data reflect numbers submitted to the EPA by business and industry, and does not mean that facilities with elevated levels are out of compliance with state, local or federal environmental regulations.

Air emissions of toxic chemicals went down by 16 percent, to slightly over 20 million pounds, land disposal releases decreased 18 percent to 28.1 million pounds and releases to water decreased by 19 percent to 4.9 million pounds.

Reporting thresholds for lead and lead compounds were lowered from 2000 reporting limits, increasing the number of facilities reporting releases this year.

"California has done well managing toxic chemical releases to the environment," said Wayne Nastri, EPA's regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. "Information contained in this years report translates into better protected air, water and land," said Nastri.

This information is part of the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory, an annual measure of toxic chemical releases, transfers and waste generated by facilities in the United States. In California, 1,617 facilities reported 60.7 million pounds of toxic chemical releases, ranking 27th nationwide.

The lowered lead data amounts, which were reported for the first time in 2000, are an important addition to TRI because these chemicals persist for a long time and build up in the environment. Thus, even small releases are of concern. The data provide communities with a much better picture of the sources of persistent bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals in the environment, and how these chemicals are managed.

Total releases of chemicals nationwide decreased by 15.5 percent, or 1.05 billion pounds, from reporting year 2000 to 2001. Based on trends since the inception of TRI in 1988, chemical releases have decreased approximately 54.5 percent.

Since 1987, manufacturers have reported their releases of 650 toxic chemicals and chemical categories under this program. Federal facilities began reporting in 1994. In 1998, seven additional industry sectors began reporting their toxic chemical releases for the first time including: metal and coal mining, electricity generation, commercial hazardous waste treatment, solvent recovery, petroleum bulk terminals, and wholesale chemical distributors.

The reporting of data to the Toxics Release Inventory is required under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, passed in 1986. This program has been credited with arming communities with valuable knowledge and encouraging facilities to reduce their releases of toxic chemicals into the environment through source reduction, or pollution prevention measures.

Top Facilities for Releases
The top 10 facilities for total on- and off-site releases in California are:

  • Chemical Waste Management (Kettleman City, Kings County) with 20.2 million pounds
  • Safety-Kleen (Buttonwillow, Kern County) with 3.0 million pounds
  • Chevron Prods. Co. Div. Of Chevron USA (El Segundo, Los Angeles County) with 1.9 million pounds
  • Hilmar Cheese Co. Inc. (Hilmar, Merced County) with 1.9 million pounds
  • Chevron Products Co. Richmond Refinery (Richmond, Contra Costa County) with 1.5 million pounds
  • McLaughlin Mine (Lower Lake, Lake County) with 1.4 million pounds
  • Valero Refining Co. California Benicia Refinery (Benicia, Solano County) with 1.3 million pounds
  • Samoa Pacific Cellulose L.L.C. Samoa Pulp Mill (Samoa, Humboldt County) with 1.3 million pounds
  • Tesoro Refining & Marketing Co. (Martinez, Contra Costa County) with 1.2 million pounds
  • Tosco Refining Co. Los Angeles Refinery Wilmington Plant (Wilmington, Los Angeles County) with 1.1 million pounds.
Fact sheets and additional information on the 2001 TRI data for California are available at .
The following Web sites also provide useful information on TRI:
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