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 (TRI).

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 1,423,486 25 25,515 0 1,449,286
Chlorine in Water 0 0 0 0 0
Hydrazine 0 0 0 0 0
Hydrochloric acid 15,513,000 NA NA NA 15,513,000
Hydrogen fluoride 981,200 NA NA NA 981,200
Sulfuric acid 3,862,200 NA NA NA 3,862,200
Antimony Compounds 0 0 0 0 0
Arsenic Compounds 1,620 317,520 2,018 180 321,338
Barium Compounds 15,256 10,951,840 49,489 148,302 11,165,037
Beryllium Compounds 68 22,500 0 0 22,568
Chromium Compounds 3,222 526,600 6,740 692 537,260
Cobalt Compounds 485 143,330 16 0 143,831
Copper Compounds 2,963 613,520 45,206 3 661,700
Lead Compounds 2,200.9 265,503.4 53.9 11,323.2 279,081.4
Manganese Compounds 4,565 1,137,975 10,108 20,000 1,173,388
Mercury Compounds 2,882.3 2,478.4 1.5 835.7 6,197.9
Nickel Compounds 3,200 438,800 10,073 7 452,220
Selenium Compounds 4,740 23,700 656 544 29,640
Thallium Compounds 103 74,000 70 0 74,173
Vanadium Compounds 3,869 1,167,180 1,740 25,000 1,197,789
Zinc Compounds 27,590 691,552 5,167 22,129 746,457
Benzo(g,h,i)perylene 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Naphthalene 362 0 0 29 429
Styrene 32,005 0 0 0 32,005
Dioxin and Dioxin-like Compounds* 15.0367 0.0 0.0 0.0 15.0367
Polycyclic aromatic compounds 6 0 0 0 6
Total by Media (Reportable) 21,885,023 16,376,524 156,854 229,045  
Total for All Media (Reportable) 38,648,806
Note: Chart updated August 2015 - using data from 2014 TRI report.

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 system 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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