Thursday, January 17, 2013

Great Lakes Toxic Releases Up 12% From 2010 To 2011

Jan 16: U.S. EPA Region 5 Administrator issued a release discussing the latest 2011 annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report and its implications for the Great Lakes [See WIMS 1/16/12]. EPA indicates that toxic releases into surface waters in the Great Lakes Basin increased by 12 percent from 2010 to 2011. Nationwide, toxic surface water discharges decreased by 3 percent. Susan Hedman, EPA Region 5 Administrator and Great Lakes National Program Manager said, "This is a significant increase in toxic releases to our waters -- and an indication that the Great Lakes region is lagging behind other parts of the country. EPA's Toxic Release Inventory is a valuable tool to help target areas for improvement and we will use this new information to work with municipalities, agricultural producers and manufacturers in the Great Lakes Basin to improve water quality."

    Nitrates and pesticides from municipal wastewater treatment plants and agriculture account for most of the toxic surface water discharges to the Great Lakes Basin. Nitrates were also discharged by primary metals facilities, such as iron and steel mills and smelters, and food and beverage manufacturers. Despite increases from 2010 to 2011, overall toxic releases in the Great Lakes Basin have decreased about 40 percent since 2003 and are currently at the second-lowest level in a decade. Surface water, air and land releases in the basin increased by 12, 1 and 4 percent respectively, while underground injection decreased 5 percent from 2010 to 2011. Nationwide, the 2011 TRI data show total toxic air releases in 2011 declined 8 percent from 2010, mostly because of decreased emissions of hazardous air pollutants. Total releases of toxic chemicals increased for the second year in a row as a result of mining.

    Access an EPA Region 5 release with links to related information (click here). Access a national release from EPA with links to related information (click here). Access more on the 2011 TRI analysis and TRI web-based tools (click here). Access more on facility efforts to reduce toxic chemical releases (click here).


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