The U.S. EPA has released preliminary 2013 TRI data on their website. The data is currently only available on a facility specific search basis and local, regional and national summaries will not be available until the full data release in October.
The U.S. EPA Toxic Release Inventory program, abbreviated as TRI, was established as part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right To Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986. It requires manufacturing facilities within the United States, that meet certain requirements, to publicly report the total quantities of chemicals that they manufacture, process or otherwise use in each calendar year.
Facilities that fall into Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes ranging from 20-39 must report their releases and transfers of listed chemicals on an annual basis. Facilities are only required to report if they manufacture or process more than 25,000 pounds of a listed chemical or if they otherwise use more than 10,000 pounds of a listed chemical during the calendar year.
The reports are submitted electronically to the U.S EPA and are due each year by July 1, for the period covering the previous calendar year. In each report, facilities must break down the type of release of each chemical into standard categories, where applicable. The primary categories include releases to the air, water and land and there are multiple subcategories such as quantities used for energy recovery, quantities recycled, volumes sent to a landfill, an incinerator, a recycling operation, or deepwell injected. Additional subcategories include breakdowns on releases to the atmosphere from a point source such as a smoke stack or from fugitive emissions like leaking equipment.
So how does Ohio and the greater Toledo/Northwest Ohio area fair?
Ohio has continued to reduce the amount of chemicals released to the environment and transfers offsite. According to the Ohio EPA’s 2014 Toxic Release Inventory Annual Report, Table 2 shows a downward trend in most reporting categories since 2003.
Looking at Lucas County and nine additional surrounding counties in Northwest Ohio, the ten year trend shows a 73.3% reduction in TRI chemical releases and transfers, as noted in the attached table in the upper left corner of this article. Lucas County and the Toledo area has achieved over 90% reduction in TRI chemical releases and transfers in the past ten years. Defiance and Henry counties have achieved greater than 50% reduction, with only Hancock county increasing their releases and transfers over the past decade.
The Ohio EPA has compared Ohio to the remaining states and notes the following in their report:
Ohio ranks 2nd in number of industrial facilities required to report (1,341) behind only Texas (1,624).
Ohio was previously ranked #1 in total air emissions in 2010, but has dropped to #3 as of 2012.
48% of Ohio’s facilities reported an increase in production from 2011 to 2012, but an overall decrease in TRI releases and transfers during the same time period.
For the 2012 reporting year, Ohio ranks 3rd in the nation for air releases, 10th for water releases, 14th for on-site land releases and 4th for deepwell injection volumes.
As one of the nations leading industrial manufacturing states, it is expected that Ohio would have higher chemical releases and transfers than states with less industry and growth. However, Ohio industrial facilities have worked to decrease their releases and transfers of listed chemicals over the years through Pollution Prevention (P2) efforts. And in Northwest Ohio, where we live, work and play, a 73% reduction in releases and transfers over the past decade is significant and beneficial to the environment and human health.