Virginia DEQ issues report on chemical releases

Virginia DEQAccording to the latest Toxic Release Inventory prepared by the Virginia DEQ, chemicals released to the environment have decreased during the last decade.

In 2017, DEQ reports 899.96 million pounds of chemicals – a one percent decrease – being managed, transferred or released to the environment by industries in Virginia. While this year’s data shows a small decrease, the positive trend continues. Between 2004 and 2017, the amount of chemicals released has decreased by approximately 51 percent.

“Chemical releases are managed under a wide variety of environmental permits, which ensure that people and the environment are protected,” said DEQ Director David Paylor. “This significant downward trend reflects Virginia’s continuing efforts to eliminate or reduce pollution at the source of generation. This positive trend is an encouraging sign that all sectors of Virginia’s government, business, industry and citizens are adopting pollution prevention measures as part of everyday activities.”

Statistics* of note in the 2017 TRI compared to 2016:

  • 16.5 million pounds released into the air (13 percent decrease)
  • 11.29 million pounds released into water (17 percent decrease)
  • 2.71 pounds released to land (16 percent decrease)
  • 245,500 pounds of persistent bio-accumulative toxins released (0.51 percent decrease)

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

Releases are controlled by various air, water and waste permits. DEQ, through its Virginia Environmental Excellence Program (VEEP), promotes environmental stewardship beyond regulatory compliance. The goal is to help develop more-efficient technologies and business operations by reducing the amount of chemicals released to the environment and improving how the chemicals are managed, along with better managing solid waste, and conserve energy and water use. The VEEP added 3 new members in 2018 as a direct result of contacting facilities that submitted TRI reports in 2016 TRI.

The 2017 TRI is available on the DEQ website at Information on 2018 will be submitted to DEQ later this year and will be available to the public in early 2020.

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