Annual toxic inventory shows continued air emission reductions

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ToThe annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data report from Delaware’s industrial facilities shows continued progress by the state in reducing toxic releases into the environment. The state saw an overall decrease in toxic waste of 14 percent from 2014 to the most recent reporting year of 2015.

The report was compiled by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Some of the reductions were due to plant closings that included Claymont Steel and the Chemours Edgemoor site. Other sites have converted from coal to natural gas generation over the years, one example being the NRG power plant in Dover.

See report below detailed toxic releases by companies on the list.

2015 TRI Facility Profiles

While TRI data recorded a decrease in onsite releases to air, onsite releases to both water and land increased – when compared to the state’s 2014 TRI figures.

Total onsite releases were up 23 percent in Delaware for 2015 – with releases to air down 12 percent, releases to water up 32 percent, and releases to land up 62 percent.

However, onsite releases represent only a very small portion of total reported waste. For 2015, about 1 percent of the total-reported TRI waste was released onsite, while 2.6 percent was transferred off-site for treatment or disposal, and 96.3 percent was managed onsite through treatment, energy recovery, and recycling operations by the facilities generating the waste.

The Delaware Army National Guard training site range in New Castle, with its first report of 16,000 pounds of lead released to land – which was 55 percent of the state’s total releases to land.

Total waste for 2015 was down 14 percent compared with 2014.

Although overall onsite releases are up for 2015 TRI reporting, Delaware has seen a 61 percent reduction in toxic releases over the last 18 years – since 1998, the year when TRI reporting requirements were expanded to include a larger list of reporting facilities.

The reporting of nitrate compounds released to water again had a major impact on the overall onsite releases, accounting for 81 percent (3.7 million pounds) of the total onsite releases. Releases for nitrate compounds were up by 837,000 pounds compared to 2014.

Releases to air, land and water in Delaware are permitted by DNREC under stricter environmental standards at both the national and state level.

This increase to land was primarily attributable to the Delaware Army National Guard training site range in New Castle, with its first-time TRI reporting of 16,000 pounds of lead released – which was 55 percent of the state’s total releases to land. (This site did not report previously because of troop deployments. The training site range has not been used extensively in recent years).

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