What is the Toxics Release Inventory?
The Toxics Release Inventory, or TRI, is a collection of data that contains information about toxic chemicals that are manufactured or used by some, but definitely not all, facilities in the United States. This information is reported each year by the facilities to the states where they are located and to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The information is made available to the public through state environmental agencies and EPA. In Delaware, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) publishes TRI reports annually and provides public access to TRI data in an online searchable format. The Delaware reports and data are available online or in hard copy. The EPA publishes national TRI reports and the data is available on EPA’s web site.
Covered facilities primarily include manufacturing plants, oil and coal fired electric utilities and bulk petroleum terminals. Facilities submit information to DNREC and the EPA on the amount of each toxic chemical released to the environment and/or managed on-site and off-site as waste. The public can get the EPA's TRI reporting information through the EPA's website.
The TRI program was established in 1986 to provide information to the public about the presence and release of toxic chemicals in their communities. It is part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The EPCRA Reporting Program maintains an electronic TRI database going back to 1995 that is updated as new reports are received. Data prior to 1995 and going back to the beginning of the TRI Program in 1987 are also maintained and can be provided by the TRI Program Coordinator. Most chemical releases reported under TRI are also regulated through federal and/or state permits.
What is a toxic chemical and which chemicals are reported?
A toxic chemical is one that meets any of several standards for serious or significant potential to harm human, fish or animal life or to be harmful to the environment. There are now roughly 600 chemicals and approximately 30 chemical categories, such as mercury compounds, polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) and dioxin and dioxin-like compounds on the TRI chemical list. Of these chemicals and compounds, about 90 are currently reported in Delaware.
Who must report to the TRI Program?
Not every facility in Delaware reports to the TRI Program. There are three requirements a facility must meet before reporting is required.
- Only facilities that have 10 or more full time employees are required to report.
- A facility must be doing business as a manufacturer or processor, or generate electric power, or distribute bulk petroleum products. Federal facilities may also be required to report.
- A facility must manufacture or process one of the chemicals on the TRI list in quantities greater than a minimum threshold value. This value is generally 25,000 pounds for manufacturing and processing and 10,000 pounds for the “Otherwise Use” category. There are lower thresholds for certain chemicals known as Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins (PBTs).
For more information, see the Delaware Toxics Release Inventory Reporting page at: http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/SERC/Services/Pages/ToxicsReleaseInventoryReporting.aspx
For more information
The latest TRI data, as well as data from earlier years back to 1995, is available in an easy-to-use, on-line searchable format at: http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/SERC/Information/Pages/DataSearch.aspx. Data from individual facilities is available upon request. Because the program reporting requirements change each year, comparison with prior years may not be valid without proper adjustments.
For more information on the reporting requirements, see the Delaware Toxics Release Inventory Reporting page at: http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/SERC/Services/Pages/ToxicsReleaseInventoryReporting.aspx
DNREC has published both technical and summary reports for the latest TRI data. Reports for the latest data and previous years back to 1998 are available online at: http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/SERC/Pages/Reports.aspx.
Who can I contact directly for more information about TRI?
Delaware EPCRA Reporting Program
c/o Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances
89 Kings Highway
Dover, Delaware 19901