TRI Data - EPCRA

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act was enacted by Congress in 1986 to help communities protect public health, safety, and the environment from chemical hazards.

A provision of the act requires that the EPA maintain a database of information on the amount of chemicals used or produced by industry that are released into the air, land or water. The database is known as the Toxics Release Inventory.

In 1997, the EPA expanded reporting to include electric utilities that use coal or oil to generate electricity. The first report was filed in June 1999 for 1998 releases. Of the more than 650 substances on the reporting list, about 20 are released or produced as a result of coal or oil combustion.

 

Element Air Releases (lbs) Land Releases (lbs) Water Releases (lbs) Off-Site Transfers (lbs) Total Releases (lbs)
Ammonia 811,649 495 12,066 6,200 830,410
Chlorine in Water 0 0 0 0 0
Hydrazine 0 0 0 0 0
Hydrochloric acid 15,000,000 NA NA NA 15,000,000
Hydrogen fluoride 2,232,000 NA NA NA 2,232,000
Sulfuric acid 4,464,000 NA NA NA 4,464,000
Antimony Compounds 0 0 0 0 0
Arsenic Compounds 5,735 565,220 5,105 37,554 610,614
Barium Compounds 54,840 15,943,210 56,022 53,104 16,587,176
Beryllium Compounds 319 59,827 0 0 60,146
Chromium Compounds 7,180 834,750 4,457 45,155 891,542
Cobalt Compounds 1,951 317,510 15 21,000 340,476
Copper Compounds 5,730 1,093,678 55,164 53,001 1,207,573
Lead Compounds 5,251.7 419,678.2 342.0 21,123.8 446,395.7
Manganese Compounds 10,857 1,538,564 20,036 90,000 1,659,456
Mercury Compounds 4,123.5 2,652.0 0.1 1,135.2 7,910.8
Nickel Compounds 7,230 727,030 11,390 36,004 781,654
Selenium Compounds 19,090 57,900 3,103 6 80,099
Thallium Compounds 99 100,000 14 0 100,113
Vanadium Compounds 9,533 1,835,700 3,756 86,000 1,934,989
Zinc Compounds 20,860 969,937 11,524 45,008 1,047,329
Benzo(g,h,i)perylene 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1
Naphthalene 624 0 0 0 624
Styrene 13,088 0 0 0 13,088
Dioxin and Dioxin-like Compounds* 8.6569 0.0 0.0 0.0 8.6569
Polycyclic aromatic compounds 4 0 0 0 4
Glycol Ethers 0 0 0 0 0
Propylene 0 0 0 0 0
Formic Acid 0 0 0 0 0
Total by Media (Reportable) 22,674,764 24,463,151 182,994 975,291  
Total for All Media (Reportable) 48,296,200

Putting Risk into Perspective

While the EPCRA requires reporting of releases—important information the public should have—these numbers by themselves do not represent risk factors. More on risk »

Many of the "releases" utilities report are actually kept on the plant site. On average, at Southern Company plants, more than 95 percent of the substances classified as metals—such as nickel and zinc—are contained on-site. Additionally, on average, 25 percent of "total releases" are actually captured using control equipment and do not escape from our plant sites.

The vast majority of releases listed as "air releases" are the acid aerosols, which are dispersed gradually over time from our plants and often dissipate in the atmosphere within minutes or hours once they leave the stacks. At the highest concentrations, the acid aerosols are less than one part per billion, or one part of acid aerosol per billion parts of air. The majority of the other releases, which are classified as metals, are contained on our plant sites and are identified as "land or water releases." Of the metals that are released into the air—also done so gradually over time—the concentration is well below one part per trillion.

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