DEQ report shows chemical declines in 2009

An annual state inventory shows Virginia industries released fewer chemicals into the air, land and water in 2009. Details from News/Talk 960’s Timothy Martin.

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Release from the Department of Environmental Quality:

RICHMOND, VA. — Virginia industries reported that chemicals released on-site at facilities decreased by 8.3 percent in 2009, according to the latest Toxics Release Inventory produced by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Virginia industries reported 900.4 million pounds of chemicals managed on-site, transferred off-site or released, a 9.2 percent decrease from the previous year.

DEQ compiles toxic release inventory chemicals data from reporting facilities annually. The 2009 report, which contains the most recent data available, includes these findings:

• 47.5 million pounds of chemicals released on-site to the air, water and land (a decrease of 8.3 percent from 2008).
• 64.6 million pounds of chemicals transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery, or disposal (a 23.1 percent decrease from 2008).
• 788.3 million pounds of chemicals managed on-site by treatment, recycling, or energy recovery (a 7.9 percent decrease from 2008).

The report also includes data about releases of a group of chemicals known as persistent bioaccumulative toxics. These chemicals remain in the environment for long periods of time and can build up in living tissue. Releases of these chemicals totaled 277,724 pounds, a 4.9 percent decrease from 2008.

DEQ uses the TRI data to target facilities for projects to reduce pollution at the source. DEQ’s Environmental Excellence Program uses incentives and assistance efforts to promote environmental stewardship beyond regulatory compliance. The goal of this initiative 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.

The 2009 TRI is available at www.deq.virginia.gov/sara3/3132009.html on the DEQ website. Information on releases from 2010 is due to DEQ for analysis this summer and will be available to the public in early 2012.

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