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EPA releases latest data on toxic chemicals in Arizona

Release Date: 04/13/2006
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248,

Arizona decreases releases to air and water
(San Francisco, Calif. -- April 13, 2006) Arizona industries reported a 16 percent decrease in toxic chemicals released into the air and water from 2003 to 2004, according to new data released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The data comes from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory, an annual measure of toxic chemical releases, transfers and waste generated by facilities in the United States. Total releases include toxic chemicals discharged to air, water, underground injection, land (including landfills), and the amount transferred off-site for disposal.

In Arizona, 324 facilities reported a total of 56.6 million pounds of toxic chemical releases to air, land and water.

Data from 2004 in Arizona shows:

Air emissions dropped 11 percent, from 4.8 million pounds in 2003 to 4.2 million pounds in 2004;

    Water releases declined 5 percent, from 7,214 pounds in 2003 to 6,821 pounds in 2004;
      Off-site land releases rose 10 percent, from 759,205 pounds in 2003 to 831,520 pounds in 2004;
        Land releases increased 20 percent, from over 42 million pounds in 2003 to over 51 million pounds in 2004;

        Increases in off- and on-site land releases were due primarily to an increase in copper production.

        “TRI helps all of us – regulators, emergency responders, businesses and communities – remain aware of the types and amounts of chemicals being used in neighborhoods throughout the country,” said Wayne Nastri, the EPA’s administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. “We are pleased to report a continued downward trend in releases to Arizona’s air and water.”

        In Arizona, 5.7 million pounds of total on-site and off-site releases of non persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals were reported – a 16 percent increase over 2003. A 798 thousand pound increase in reported lead compounds drove the increase of these chemicals released in 2004.

        Ninety-seven percent of these releases were land releases from the metal mining and primary metal facilities, where one mining facility, ASARCO LLC Mission Complex, reported the rise due to an increase in copper production, and the company mining an area of rock that had a higher percentage of lead. The EPA is looking into the increase at Phelps Dodge Sierrita.

        Nationally, the amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment decreased by 4 percent from 2003 to 2004, and has declined 45 percent since 1998.

        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.

        Many mines extract, move, store, process, and dispose of large amounts of waste rock and ore materials that often contain low concentrations of naturally occurring metals. The vast majority of this material is placed on the land, and the metals are reported as on-site releases to land.

        The top 10 facilities for total on- and off-site releases for all chemicals in Arizona are:

        1. Phelps Dodge Miami, Inc. (Claypool, Gila County) with 21.4 million pounds.
        2. ASARCO Inc. Ray Complex Hayden Smelter & Concentrator (Hayden, Gila County) with 11.7 million pounds.
        3. Phelps Dodge Morenci Inc. (Morenci, Greenlee County) with 5.6 million pounds.
        4. Tucson Electric Power Co. Springerville Generating Station (Springerville, Apache County) with 2.9 million pounds.
        5. Cholla Power Plant (Joseph City, Navajo County) with 2.1 million pounds.
        6. Navajo Generating Station (Page, Coconino County) with 1.9 million pounds.
        7. Phelps Dodge Sierrita Inc. (Green Valley, Pima County) with 1.9 million pounds
        8. ASARCO Inc. Mission Complex (Sahuarita, Pima County) with 1.5 million pounds
        9. Phelps Dodge Bagdad Inc. (Bagdad, Yavapai County) with 1.4 million pounds.
        10. ASARCO LLC Ray Operations Mine (Kearny, Pinal County) with 1.1 million pounds.

        Fact sheets and additional information on the 2004 TRI data for Arizona are available at The following Web sites also provide useful information on TRI: and
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