Rhode Island facilities release 375,746 pounds of toxic chemicals in 2010, EPA finds; Saint-Gobain's Performance Plastics plant named ninth biggest pollutant
January 5, 2012
– EPA’s most recent Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data is now available for the reporting year of 2010. TRI reporting provides Americans with vital information about their communities by publishing information on toxic chemical disposals and releases into the air, land and water, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities in neighborhoods across the country.
In Rhode Island, the reporting data show that overall releases of pollutants to the environment have decreased since the previous reporting year (2009). TRI information is a key part of EPA’s efforts to provide greater access to environmental information and get information to the public as quickly as possible. TRI was recently recognized by the Aspen Institute as one of the 10 major ways that EPA has strengthened America.
During 2010, the latest year for which data are available, approximately 20.6 million pounds of chemicals were released in the six New England states, a reduction of about 287,337 pounds. In Rhode Island, 96 facilities reported in 2010 approximately 375,746 pounds (an decrease of 123,853 pounds). Approximately 52 percent of releases in Rhode Island were emitted to the air during 2010. Across the U.S. in 2010, 3.93 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the environment, a 16 percent increase from 2009.
Each year, EPA makes publicly available TRI data reported by industries throughout the United States regarding chemical releases to air, water and land by power plants, manufacturers and other facilities which employ ten or more workers and exceed thresholds for chemicals. This year, EPA is offering additional information to make the TRI data more meaningful and accessible to all communities. The TRI analysis now highlights toxic disposals and releases to large aquatic ecosystems, selected urban communities, and tribal lands. EPA has improved this year’s TRI national analysis report by adding new information on facility efforts to reduce pollution and by considering whether economic factors could have affected the TRI data. With this report and EPA’s Web-based TRI tools, citizens can access information about the toxic chemical releases into the air, water, and land that occur locally. Finally, EPA’s first mobile application for accessing TRI data, myRTK, is now available in Spanish, as are expanded Spanish translations of national analysis documents and Web pages.
“We will continue to put accessible, meaningful information in the hands of the American people. Widespread public access to environmental information is fundamental to the work EPA does every day,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “TRI is a cornerstone of EPA's community-right-to-know programs and has played a significant role in protecting people’s health and the environment by providing communities with valuable information on toxic chemical releases.”
“TRI is an important tool for citizens and communities to have access to information about what chemicals may be in and near their local environment,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator for EPA’s New England office.
Reporting includes information on chemicals released at a company's facility, as well as those transported to disposal facilities off site. TRI data do not reflect the relative toxicity of the chemicals emitted or potential exposure to people living in a community with reported releases.
Facilities must report their chemical disposals and releases by July 1 of each year. This year, EPA made the 2010 preliminary TRI dataset available in July, the same month as the data were collected.
Reporting under TRI does not indicate illegal discharges of pollutants to the environment. EPA works closely with states to provide regulatory oversight of facilities that generate pollution to the nation’s air, land and water. Effective review and permitting programs work to ensure that the public and the environment are not subjected to unhealthful levels of pollution, even as agencies work to further reduce emissions of chemicals to the environment.
Further, robust enforcement efforts by EPA and states ensure that facilities that violate their environmental permits are subject to penalties and corrective action. Yearly releases by individual facilities can vary due to factors such as power outages, production variability, lulls in the business cycle, etc., that do not reflect a facility's pollution prevention program(s).
The top ten chemicals released to the environment on- and off-site during 2010 in Rhode Island were:
XYLENE (MIXED ISOMERS)
The ten facilities that reported the largest quantity of on- and off-site environmental releases in Rhode Island under TRI for 2010 were:
CHEMART.11 NEW ENGLAND WAY, LINCOLN RHODE ISLAND 02865 (PROVIDENCE)
SENESCO MAIN YARD.10 MACNAUGHT ST, NORTH KINGSTOWN RHODE ISLAND 02852 (WASHINGTON)
GANNON & SCOTT.33 KENNEY DR, CRANSTON RHODE ISLAND 02920 (PROVIDENCE)
PEARSON COMPOSITES LLC.373 MARKET ST, WARREN RHODE ISLAND 02885 (BRISTOL)
BLOCK ISLAND POWER CO.100 OCEAN AVE, BLOCK ISLAND RHODE ISLAND 02807 (WASHINGTON)
GENERAL CABLE CO.3 CAROL DR, LINCOLN RHODE ISLAND 02865 (PROVIDENCE)
TEKNOR APEX CO.505 CENTRAL AVE, PAWTUCKET RHODE ISLAND 02861 (PROVIDENCE)
TACO INC - CRANSTON.1160 CRANSTON ST, CRANSTON RHODE ISLAND 02920 (PROVIDENCE)
SAINT-GOBAIN PERFORMANCE PLASTICS.386 METACOM AVE, BRISTOL RHODE ISLAND 02809 (BRISTOL)
SPERIAN EYE & FACE PROTECTION.10 THURBER BLVD, SMITHFIELD RHODE ISLAND 02917 (PROVIDENCE)
TRI was established in 1986 by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and later modified by the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990. Together, these laws require facilities in certain industries to report annually on releases, disposal and other waste management activities related to these chemicals. TRI data are submitted annually to EPA and states by multiple industry sectors including manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste facilities.
EPA continues to work closely with the regulated community to ensure that facilities understand and comply with their reporting requirements under TRI and other community right-to-know statutes. EPA will once again hold training workshops throughout the New England region during the Spring of 2012. Training sessions will be set up in each state. Further information will be available on our Web site.