What is the EPA Toxic Release Inventory, and Why It Matters to You

TRI was created by the EPA after a tragedy in Bhopal, India in December 1984.

A cloud of toxic methlyl isocynate gas escaped from union carbide chemical plant. Thousands died, thousands more died in the years to come, and thousands of survivors have permanent injuries.

2 years later, Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, which helped to establish TRI.

How does this affect Hazardous Waste Generating Organizations?

TRI is a database of toxic chemical releases and hazardous waste management activities as reported to the EPA, through specified industry groups and certain government facilities.

TRI is different from other EPA efforts to regulate hazardous waste disposal, which focuses on standards for how toxic materials should be handled.

The TRI program purpose is to publicize the industrial management of toxic chemicals, regardless of your level of hazardous waste management.

The goal is that making the public aware of toxic substances in their area will provide appropriate incentive for companies who generate toxic waste or use industrial chemicals to follow the law.

What is reported and how often?

TRI program requires organizations that process, use or manufacture significant amounts of toxic chemicals to annually report the amount of release into the environment. It requires reporting for all planned and unplanned releases, as well as if they were in solid, liquid or vapor form.

The inventory makes this information available to public, and also includes information about toxic chemicals that are sent to hazardous waste disposal companies for further waste management.

Companies usually involved in manufacturing, metal mining, electric power generation, chemical manufacturing and hazardous waste management are generally required to file a report.

If you process more than 10,000 pounds of any single listed chemical within 1 year, or 25,000 lbs of listed chemicals total, even if you don’t process 10,000 lbs of 1 chemical within that yearlong period.

Where does the public find the Toxic Release Inventory Data

While there are several options, here are 2 robust online resources that make TRI available to the public:

TOXMAP shows the map of the United States and where chemicals are present in certain areas.

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation has created a downloadable file for Google Earth that shows all the recent reports to the TRI Database.

Why make this information public?

The main objective of TRI is to expose an enterprise that involves toxic chemicals or hazardous waste. It puts the reputation of the companies on the line as an incentive for companies to self-monitor their management of these chemicals and hazardous waste. 

As always, if you are looking for more information, we suggest talking to an expert about your hazardous waste management, or what to do to become compliant with current laws and regulations.

Contact us today at 1-877-777-6708.

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