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EPA Analysis Shows Decrease in 2009 Toxic Chemical Releases in Maine
Release Date: 12/16/2010
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017
Analysis shows continued reduction of chemical disposal and releases in New England
(Boston, Mass. – Dec. 16, 2010) – EPA’s most recent Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data is now available for the reporting year of 2009. 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.
In Maine, the reporting data show that overall releases of pollutants to the environment have decreased since the previous reporting year (2008). 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 was recently recognized by the Aspen Institute as one of the 10 major ways that EPA has strengthened America.
During 2009, the latest year for which data are available, approximately 21.9 million pounds of chemicals were released in the six New England states, a reduction of about 2,359,064 pounds. In Maine, 84 facilities reported in 2009 approximately 8.5 million pounds (a decrease of 2,035,471 pounds). Approximately 52 percent of releases in Maine were emitted to the air and 30 percent discharged to water during 2009. Across the U.S. in 2009, 3.37 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the environment, a 12 percent decrease from 2008.
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. This year, EPA is offering additional information to make the TRI data more meaningful and accessible to all communities. The TRI analysis now highlights toxic disposals and releases to large aquatic ecosystems, selected urban communities, and tribal lands. In addition, portions of the analysis are available in Spanish for the first time.
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.
Facilities must report their chemical disposals and releases by July 1 of each year. This year, EPA made the 2009 preliminary TRI dataset available in July, the same month as the data were collected. This is the earliest release of TRI data to the public ever.
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 ten chemicals released to the environment on- and off-site during 2009 in Maine were:
- Nitrate Compounds, 2,220,704 lbs.
- Methanole, 2,212,312 lbs.
- Xylene (mixed isomers), 1,179,159 lbs.
- Manganese Compounds, 996,971 lbs.
- Zinc Compounds, 839,991 lbs.
- Ammonia, 774,413 lbs.
- Hydrochloric Acid (after 1995 “acid aerosols” only), 391,834 lbs.
- Acetaldyhyde, 200,948 lbs.
- Sulfuric Acid, (after 1994 “acid aerosols” only), 112,052 lbs.
- Chromium Compounds, 103,783 lbs.
The ten facilities that reported the largest quantity of on- and off-site environmental releases in Maine under TRI for 2009 were:
McCain Foods USA Inc., Easton, 1,980,426 Lbs.
Verso Paper Holdings LLC., Jay, 1,835,372 Lbs.
SD Warren Co., Skowhegan, 1,539,735 Lbs.
Sprague Searsport Terminal, Searsport, 1,167,794 Lbs.
Rumford Paper Co., Rumford, 810,587 Lbs.
Domtar Maine LLC., Baileyville, 701,135 Lbs.
Red Shield Acquisition LLC., Old Town, 433,332 Lbs.
Lincoln Paper & Tissue LLC., Lincoln, 282,000 Lbs.
SD Warren Co., Westbrook, 247,350 Lbs.
Katahdin Paper Co LLC., East Millinocket, 197,120 Lbs.
TRI was established in 1986 by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and later modified by the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990. Together, these laws require facilities in certain industries to report annually on releases, disposal and other waste management activities related to these chemicals. TRI data are submitted annually to EPA and states by multiple industry sectors including manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste facilities.
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 2011. Training sessions will be set up in each state. Further information will be available on our Web site.
- TRI in Maine Fact Sheet (epa.gov/triexplorer/statefactsheet.htm)
- Additional National information on TRI (epa.gov/tri/)
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