May 1, 2013
Virginia industries reported that chemicals released on-site at their facilities decreased by 12.7 percent in 2011, according to the latest Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report produced by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
Industries also reported 860.2 million pounds of chemicals managed on-site, transferred off-site or released to the environment, a 5.5 percent decrease from the previous year.
DEQ compiles information on a wide range of toxic chemicals released by facilities that are required to submit reports each year. The 2011 report, which contains the most recent information available, includes these findings:
- 39.2 million pounds of chemicals were released on-site to the air, water and land (a decrease of 12.7 percent from 2010).
- 68.7 million pounds of chemicals were transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery or disposal (a 13.3 percent decrease from 2010).
- 752.3 million pounds of chemicals were managed on-site by treatment, recycling or energy recovery (a 4.3 percent decrease from 2010).
The report also includes data about releases of a group of chemicals known as persistent bioaccumulative toxics. These chemicals remain in the environment for long periods of time and can build up in body tissue. On-site releases of these chemicals totaled 269,986 pounds in 2011, a decrease of 29.4 percent. DEQ uses the TRI data to target facilities for projects to reduce pollution at the source.
DEQ’s Environmental Excellence Program uses incentives and assistance efforts to promote environmental stewardship beyond regulatory compliance. The goal of this initiative is to help develop more efficient technologies and business operations by reducing the amount of chemicals released to the environment and improving how the chemicals are managed.
The 2011 TRI is available on the DEQ website. Information on releases from 2012 is due to DEQ this summer and will be available to the public in early 2014.