The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently published an updated Toxics Release Inventory, which quantifies the amount of pollutants released across the country. In the most recent update, EPA reported that in 2009, "more than 511 million pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the environment in the six states located in Region 5[, which are Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin]. Compared to 2008 data, regional releases to the air were down 20 percent, on-site releases to surface water were down 24 percent and on-site releases to land were down 33 percent. More than 5,000 facilities in Region 5 report their chemical releases by July 1 of each year."
EPA also released an Illinois-specific fact sheet as well as specific data for Chicago. Regarding Chicago, EPA reported:
"Total on-site disposal or other releases for the Chicago metropolitan area decreased by 25% from 2001 to 2009 with a 12% decrease from 2008 to 2009. Air releases decreased 29% from 2001 to 2009 and 14% from 2008 to 2009. Surface water discharges decreased by 50% from 2001 to 2009 and 17% from 2008 to 2009. The primary metals total disposal or other releases decreased by 20% from 2001 to 2009, including a 49% decrease in surface water discharges and a 31% decrease in air releases."
Stay tuned to the Illinois Environmental Law Blog for more news and developments.