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EPA releases 2003 nationwide Toxics Release Inventory data, Arizona toxics releases down 85 percent over prior year

Release Date: 5/11/2005
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano (415) 947-4307

SAN FRANCISCO -- From 2002 to 2003 industries in Arizona reported an 85 percent decrease in the amount of toxic chemicals released into the air, land and water, 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.

"TRI continues to be a useful tool for states, counties and communities to know what types and amounts of chemicals are present in their neighborhoods," said Wayne Nastri, EPA's administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. "This is good news for the Grand Canyon state."

A 2003 court decision determined that non persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals present in waste rock are eligible for an exemption if present below certain established thresholds. This decision better defines what is a reportable release from waste. Prior to this decision mining facilities were required to consider all concentrations of toxic chemicals in waste rock. This clarification of the requirements led to Arizona's total overall decrease of 280 million pounds of reported land releases primarily from copper mining facilities.

In Arizona, 288 facilities reported 48.3 million pounds of toxic chemical releases, down 85 percent from 2002 reporting levels.

Air emissions of toxic chemicals for non-mining facilities increased 3.6 percent primarily from Arizona Electric Power Cooperative Inc., whose primary releases were of hydrogen fluoride, hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid.

Water releases also increased by 10.1 percent from the non-mining sector. This was primarily due to 817 pounds of chlorine releases at the U.S. DOI Bureau of Reclamation Yuma Area Office. Land releases from non-mining facilities increased 640,000 pounds, the majority contributed by electric generating facilities.

Total releases include toxic chemicals discharged to air, water, underground injection, land (including landfills), and the amount transferred off-site for disposal.

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. There are also air releases from ore processing and metal refining operations.

Nearly 4.9 million pounds of total on- and off-site releases of lead and lead compounds were reported in Arizona. Ninety-four percent of these releases were land releases from the metal mining and primary metal facilities which experienced a decrease of 6.7 million pounds.

Nationwide, disposal and other releases of TRI chemicals totaled almost 4.44 billion pounds from over 23,000 U.S. facilities submitting over 91,000 chemical forms. From reporting year 2002 to 2003, there was a 6 percent decrease in total disposal or other releases into the environment. This was largely attributable to the metal mining sector (18 percent)

Since 1987, manufacturing facilities have been reporting 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.

The top 10 facilities for total on- and off-site releases in Arizona are:
1 Phelps Dodge Miami, Inc. (Claypool, Gila County) with 13.6 million pounds.
2 ASARCO Inc. Ray Complex Hayden Smelter & Concentrator (Hayden, Gila County) with 12.4 million pounds.
3 Phelps Dodge Morenci Inc. (Morenci, Greenlee County) with 4.5 million pounds.
4 Tucson Electric Power Co. Springerville Generating Station (Springerville, Apache County) with 3 million lbs.
5 Phelps Dodge Sierrita Inc. (Green Valley, Pima County) with 2.1 million pounds
6 Navajo Generating Station (Page, Coconino County) with 1.9 million pounds.
7 Cholla Power Plant (Joseph City, Navajo County) with 1.5 million pounds.
8 Phelps Dodge Bagdad Inc. (Bagdad, Yavapai County) with 1.2 million pounds.
9 Coronado Generating Station (Saint Johns, Apache County with 1.2 million pounds.
10  ASARCO Inc. Mission Complex (Sahuarita, Pima County) with 1.1 million pounds.

Fact sheets and additional information on the 2003 TRI data for Arizona are available at

The following Web sites also provide useful information on TRI: and
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