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Toxic Release Inventory shows trend of decreasing released chemicals

Virginia DEQThe amount of chemicals released into Virginia’s environment was down 5.6 percent in 2018, according to the latest Toxic Release Inventory report prepared by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

DEQ reports 852.33 million pounds of chemicals were managed, transferred or released by industries in Virginia.

The TRI is a public database that records toxic chemical releases, transfers, waste management, and pollution-prevention activities reported by industrial facilities in the U.S. While this year’s data shows a small decrease, the positive trend of fewer releases in Virginia continues.

Between 2005 and 2018, the amount of chemicals released has decreased by approximately 49 percent (27.7 million pounds).

The 2018 TRI is available on the DEQ website at Information on reporting requirements for facilities about 2019 releases will be available later this year and results will be published/available to the public in early 2021.

“We are encouraged that Virginia’s citizens, businesses, community organizations and state and local agencies are embracing measures to prevent pollution as part of their everyday activities,” said DEQ Director David Paylor. “The downward trend we continue to see in recent years reflects our efforts to eliminate or reduce pollution at the source…where it is generated. When we all work together we can make meaningful change for the greater good.”

Statistics of note in the 2018 TRI compared to 2017:

  • 5 million pounds released into the air (.02 percent decrease)
  • 1 million pounds released into water (19 percent decrease)
  • 6 pounds released to land (13 percent decrease)
  • 291,740 pounds of persistent bio-accumulative toxins released (17.82 percent decrease)

(*Percentages are approximate; exact amounts available in full report)

Chemical releases are controlled by various air, water and waste permits issued by DEQ to ensure that people and the environment are protected. The agency, through its Virginia Environmental Excellence Program, promotes environmental stewardship that goes beyond regulatory compliance.

The goal is to help develop more efficient technologies and business operations to reduce the amount of chemicals released to the environment and improve how chemicals are managed, conserve energy and water use.