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 872,797 0 9,836 11,000 893,633
Chlorine in Water 0 0 0 0 0
Hydrazine 0 0 0 0 0
Hydrochloric acid 11,776,000 NA NA NA 11,776,000
Hydrogen fluoride 1,519,700 NA NA NA 1,519,700
Sulfuric acid 3,165,800 NA NA NA 3,165,800
Antimony Compounds 0 0 0 0 0
Arsenic Compounds 3,280 356,302 3,998 1,300 364,880
Barium Compounds 35,443 13,973,811 59,945 480,002 14,549,201
Beryllium Compounds 87 9,300 0 0 9,387
Chromium Compounds 4,344 480,142 5,698 47,005 537,189
Cobalt Compounds 1,038 162,111 30 0 163,179
Copper Compounds 3,743 720,571 47,340 0 771,654
Lead Compounds 3,197.6 254,209.3 19.0 26,399.4 283,825.3
Manganese Compounds 7,583 1,201,386 26,035 79,000 1,314,004
Mercury Compounds 2,944.4 2,935.6 0 143.2 6023.2
Nickel Compounds 4,500 431,604 9,490 0 445,594
Selenium Compounds 14,600 20,500 3,511 0 38,611
Thallium Compounds 89 105,000 0 0 105,089
Vanadium Compounds 5,670 1,173,222 787 94,000 1,273,679
Zinc Compounds 13,840 662,616 6,984 63,000 746,440
Benzo(g,h,i)perylene 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Naphthalene 481 0 0 0 481
Styrene 0 0 0 0 0
Dioxin and Dioxin-like Compounds* 6.2082 0.0 0.0 0.0 6.2082
Polycyclic aromatic compounds 3.3 0 0 0 3.3
Glycol Ethers 0 0 0 0 0
Propylene 0 0 0 0 0
Methyl Methacrylate 16,000 0 0 0 16,000
Formic Acid 0 40,000 0 0 40,000
Total by Media (Reportable) 17,451,147 19,593,710 173,673 801,850  
Total for All Media (Reportable) 38,020,379
Note: Chart updated May 2014 - using data from 2013 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.

More on...

Diversifying Fuel Options | Renewable Resources | Championing Energy Efficiency | New Nuclear | NOx and SO2 | Mercury | Greenhouse Gases | Water | Solids | Environmental Performance | GRI Index plus Keywords