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EPA releases 2006 Arizona Toxics Release Inventory data
Release Date: 02/21/2008
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 415-947-4227 smith.bonnie @epa.gov
SAN FRANCISCO (02/21/2008) - - According to the latest data released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, industries operating in Arizona report an overall increase of 52 percent of toxic releases in 2006 compared to 2005. This increase was due primarily to on-site land disposal in the metal mining industry. Phelps Dodge Miami, a copper mine, reported a 33 million pound increase in on-site land disposal in 2006.
The data comes from the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), an annual measure of toxic chemical releases 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. Data provided does not mean that facilities with elevated levels are out of compliance with state, local or federal environmental regulations.
“This inventory is a powerful tool for helping to protect public health and the environment. Safe communities depend on well-informed citizens,” said Wayne Nastri, the EPA’s administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. “This annual report also helps us see trends over time.”
Data from 2006 in Arizona show:
• 300 facilities operating in Arizona reported a total of 98.7 million pounds of toxic chemical releases.
• In 2006, metal mining and metal industries accounted for 87 percent of the total releases and 94 percent of on-site land 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.
• Air emissions increased 4 percent, from 4.3 million pounds in 2005 to 4.5 million pounds in 2006.
• Water releases rose substantially from 6,300 pounds in 2005 to 688,000 pounds in 2006. This increase is primarily due to a large increase in water releases reported by Phelps Dodge Miami.
• Off-site releases rose 122 percent, from just over one million pounds in 2005 to 2.4 million in 2006.
• Land releases increased 3 percent, from 60 million pounds in 2005 to 90 million pounds in 2006.
• The state ranks 17th in the nation for total toxic releases.
In 2000, the Toxics Release Inventory expanded to include persistent bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals, or PBTs, and to require reporting for these chemicals at ranges from 0.1 grams to 100 pounds. PBT pollutants are toxic chemicals that remain in the environment and bioaccumulate in food chains, posing risks to human health and ecosystems.
In Arizona, 15.7 million pounds of total on-site and off-site releases of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals were reported – a 136 percent increase over 2005. Lead and lead compound releases increased 135 percent, to approximately 9 million pounds.
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 facilities for total on- and off-site releases for all chemicals in Arizona are:
1.Phelps Dodge Miami Inc (Claypool, Gila County) with 59 million pounds.
2.Asarco LLC Ray Comples/Hayden Smelter & Concentrator (Hayden, Gila County) with14 million pounds.
3.Cholla Power Plant (Joseph City, Navajo County) with 3.5 million pounds
4.Tucson Electric Power Co Springerville Generating Station (Springerville, Apache County) with 3.3 million pounds.
5.Asarco LLC Mission Complex (Sahuarita, Pima County) with 3.2 million pounds
6.Phelps Dodge Bagdad Inc. (Bagdad, Yavapai County) with 2.7 million pounds
7.Phelps Dodge Sierrita Inc. (Green Valley, Pima County) with 1.9 million pounds.
8.Asarco LLC Ray Operations Mine (Kearny, Pinal County) with 1.7 million pounds.
9.Salt River Project Navajo Generating Station (Page, Coconino County) with 1.5 million pounds.
10. Coronado Generating Station (Saint Johns, Apache County) with 1.1 million pounds.
Some findings of interest at the national level: Total disposal and other releases are down two percent from last year. Combined air releases of TRI chemicals are down seven percent. Total disposal and other releases of mercury to all media combined increased 17 percent However, air releases of mercury are down four percent.
From 2001-2006, total releases reported to TRI decreased 24 percent.
This is the first year facilities are reporting under the December 2006 rule making that expands eligibility for facilities to use a more streamlined, shorter form. The rule provides incentives to facilities to improve environmental performance and reduce the quantity and the toxicity of its releases. For 2006 reporting in the Pacific Southwest Region, there was a small net increase of the short forms submitted. A number of factors could account for the increase, including: changes in production process or products, new TRI reporters, facilities that previously qualified but did not use the short form, or the December 2006 rule.
The following web sites also provide city, county and facility information on TRI: https://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/ and https://www.epa.gov/enviro. State fact sheets are available at: https://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/statefactsheet.htm.
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