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EPA releases 2005 nationwide Toxics Release Inventory data; Four percent overall reduction in California releases, persistent bioaccumulative, toxic chemical releases also down

Release Date: 03/22/2007
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, (415) 947-4297

(03/22/07 -- SAN FRANCSICO) Industries operating in California reduced toxic releases by 4 percent in 2005 compared to 2004, according to the latest data available from 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. Data provided does not mean that facilities with elevated levels are out of compliance with state, local or federal environmental regulations.

“TRI is an important tool for regulators, emergency responders, businesses and communities because it helps them better understand and be aware of the types and amounts of chemicals being released in their neighborhoods,” said Wayne Nastri, the EPA’s administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. “We are pleased to report a decrease in the amount of toxic chemicals released in California in 2005.”

In California, 1,513 facilities reported a total of 46.3 million pounds of toxic chemical releases. This is 1.9 millions pounds less than was released in 2004, a reduction of 4 percent.

Leading the downturn was a decrease in air releases by 6 percent, or a total of 1.2 million pounds.

On-site land releases went down by 3 percent, or 487,000 pounds.

Underground injection releases decreased nearly 4,000 pounds, a 17 percent reduction.

California saw a reported decrease in water releases as well. Water releases decreased 758,000 pounds, an 18 percent drop.

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.

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 persist in the environment and bioaccumulate in food chains, posing risks to human health and ecosystems. In California, 5 million pounds of total on-site and off-site releases of PBT chemicals were reported. This is a decrease of 10 percent or 545 thousand pounds from the previous year. A decrease in lead and lead compound releases drove down the overall decrease of PBT releases in the state.

The top ten facilities in California for total on-site and off-site releases of all chemicals are:

1. Chemical Waste Management Inc. (Kettleman City, Kings County) with 10.9 million pounds.
2. Tesoro Refining & Marketing Co (Martinez, Contra Costa County) with 2.5 million pounds.
3. Quemetco Inc (City of Industry, Los Angeles County) with 2.1 million pounds.
4. Evergreen Pulp Enterprises (Samoa, Humboldt County) with 1.7 million pounds.
5. Clean Harbors Buttonwillow LLC (Buttonwillow, Kern County) with 1.2 million pounds.
6. Exxonmobil Oil Corp – Torrance Refinery (Torrance, Los Angeles County) with 1.1 million pounds.
7. Chevron Products Co. Richmond Refinery (Richmond, Contra Costa County) with 978 thousand pounds.
8. Chevron Products Co. Div of Chevron USA Inc. (El Segundo, Los Angeles County) with 879 thousand pounds.
9. Shell Oil Products US – Martinez Refinery (Martinez, Contra Costa County) with 872 thousand pounds.
10. GE Osmonics (Vista, San Diego County) with 866 thousand pounds.

The top ten facilities in California for total on-site and off-site releases of PBT chemicals are:

1. Chemical Waste Management Inc. (Kettleman City, Kings County) with 1.9 million pounds.
2. Quemetco Inc (City of Industry, Los Angeles County) with 1.4 million pounds.
3. Exide Technologies (Los Angeles, Los Angeles County) with 533 thousand pounds.
4. TXI Riverside Cement Oro Grande Plant (Oro Grande, San Bernardino County) with 186 thousand pounds.
5. Clean Harbors Buttonwillow LLC (Buttonwillow, Kern County) with 185 thousand pounds.
6. U.S. Marine Corps TwentyNine Palms Air Ground Combat Center (TwentyNine Palms, San Bernardino County) with 163 thousand pounds.
7. U.S. Marine Corps MCB Camp Pendleton (Camp Pendleton, San Diego County) with 147 thousand pounds.
8. P Kay Metal Inc (Los Angeles, Los Angeles County) with 85 thousand pounds.
9. Clean Harbors San Jose LLC (San Jose, Santa Clara County) with 74 thousand pounds.
10. U.S. Navy Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake (China Lake, Kern County) with 31 thousand pounds.

Fact sheets and additional information on the 2005 TRI data for Arizona are available at
https://www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/tri/report/05/california.pdf. The following Web sites also provide useful information on TRI: https://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/ and https://www.epa.gov/enviro