According to Delaware’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), industrial facilities throughout the state have considerably fallen since 2010. Since 1990, industrial facilities throughout the state have reduced on-site releases of chemicals by 91 percent.
TRI is required for certain industrial facilities in Delaware and the rest of the United States. Title III, Section 313, of the Federal Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA 313) was passed in 1986 and required industrial facilities to start informing the public about toxic chemicals used around the communities. Title III of SARA 313 is also called the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
During 2011, companies had to report statistics on the use of 593 individual chemicals and 30 chemical categories. Individual chemicals include toxic and persistent compounds like mercury and other less serious chemicals, and the chemical categories include chemicals like dioxins, PCBs, and more.
Manufacturing facilities, electric utilities run by oil and coal, and bulk petroleum companies are the most common companies required to submit a TRI. Reporting is also necessary for companies with 10 or more employees, companies that manufacture or process over 25,000 pounds, or companies that use 10,000 pounds or more of toxic chemicals.
The companies must report all chemicals that are released into the environment, managed on the site’s grounds, and managed off-site.
In 2011, 63 different companies reported using 89 TRI-designated chemicals throughout Delaware. About 3.9 million pounds of the TRI chemicals were released into the environment (2.4 million to the air, 1.2 million to the water, and 279,000 to the land). Hydrochloric acid releases accounted for 66 percent of air releases, and the majority came from coal power plants.
Total releases to the air decreased by 1.1 million pounds, or 31 percent. Releases into the water actually increased by 630,000 pounds, and releases onto land increased by 68,000 pounds.
Notable decreases in the release of hydrochloric acid were reported by NRG’s Indian River Power Plant and the Edge Moor/Hay Road Power Plant.
Carcinogen releases increased by 28,000 pounds (18 percent) in 2011, and the largest releases were reported by Formosa Plastics, River Power Plant, and the Delaware City Refinery.
DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara stated: “Productivity is up and emissions are down. We are demonstrating in Delaware that we can have both a healthy environment and a strong economy – and we are committed to improving the environmental quality further by working with all industrial facilities to reduce toxic chemical emissions.”
Source: Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control