EPA reports toxic chemicals released by QC industries fell in 2014; Tyson Foods tops local list

Toxic chemicals released to the environment by metro Quad Cities area industries fell by nearly 20 percent in 2014, according to a new report issued Thursday (1/21) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The top five facilities by total disposal or releases to the environment were: Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., Joslin; Nichols Aluminum's casting plant, Davenport; Lafarge North America (now Continental Cement), Buffalo; John Deere Harvester Works, East Moline; and Alcoa's Davenport Works, Bettendorf.

The releases include any chemical emitted to the air or water, or placed in some type of land disposal, or transferred off-site for disposal or release.

The top chemicals released to the air included hydrochloric acid, ammonia, hydrogen fluoride and sulfuric acid. The principal chemicals released to the water in the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island metropolitan area were nitrate compounds.

CLICK HERE to go to the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory web page to search by city, county or company about toxic chemical releases.

Nationally, toxic chemical releases to the environment and total disposal were down 6 percent from 2013 to 2014. Air releases from industrial facilities decreased by 4 percent during the period, mainly because of declines in releases from chemical manufacturing facilities and electric utilities. Air releases have decreased 55 percent since 2003.

"2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), a program that has given people unprecedented access to information about what toxic chemicals are being used and released in their neighborhoods, and what companies are doing to prevent pollution,” Ann Dunkin, EPA’s Chief Information Officer, was quoted in the news release issued about the new emission information. “TRI data continue to be an essential part of informed decision-making by citizens, communities, industries, and local governments.”

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