Clean Harbors' Buttonwillow facility, which is licensed to store, treat, and dispose hazardous and non-hazardous wastes, released 9,861,640 pounds of toxic chemicals in 2011.
Additionally, Chemical Waste Management's controversial Kettleman Hills facility was number three at 3,901,513 pounds. Chevron's El Segundo refinery was number five at 1,772,493 pounds. (Chevron operates numerous oil and gas production facilities in Kern County.)
A TRI “release” is defined by Federal reporting laws as the amount of a toxic chemical released on-site (to air, water, underground injection, landfills, and other land disposal), and the amount transferred off-site for disposal.
The statewide total of TRI releases was 38 million pounds, reported by 1,265 facilities. Compared to 2010 data, this was an increase of about 10%.
Clean Harbors' Buttonwillow and Chemical Waste Management's Kettlemen Hills facilities also finished in the top five releases of persistent bioaccumulative toxic (PBT) chemicals. These are of particular concern not only because they are toxic, but also because they remain in the environment for long periods of time, are not readily destroyed, and build up or accumulate in body tissue. Statewide, 16 million pounds of PBT were released, a 24% increase since 2010.
“Community Right-to-Know data helps all of us remain aware of the types and amounts of chemicals being used in our neighborhoods,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “It is great to see pollution prevention activities at reporting facilities, and we encourage them to reduce their chemical releases via this method.”
The 2011 data show:
- Air: Air releases decreased 13% (one million pounds) since 2010.
- Water: Water releases increased 10% (258 thousand pounds) since 2010.
- On-Site Land: On-site land releases increased 9% (2 Million pounds) since 2010.
- Underground Injection: Underground Injection releases decreased 67% (2.5 million pounds) since 2010.
- Off-Site Transfers: Total off-site transfers have increased 72% (2.5 million pounds) since