Toxic waste release increases slightly
The amount of toxic waste released into the environment by Hawai'i utilities and businesses in 2004 remained fairly stable compared to 2003, according to numbers collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A total of 3.2 million pounds of toxic chemical releases were released into the environment by 42 Hawai'i facilities in 2004, an increase of less than 1 percent over 2003, the agency reported this week.
Hawai'i's biggest polluters are electric company facilities, military facilities and oil companies. Air and underground releases increased in the state while other types of releases decreased.
Releases include toxic chemicals discharged to air, water, underground injection, land (including landfills), and the amount transferred off-site for disposal.
Nationally, the amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment decreased by 4 percent from 2003 to 2004, and has declined 45 percent since 1998.
According to the EPA, land releases in Hawai'i dropped nearly 9 percent, from 249,634 pounds in 2003 to 227,719 pounds in 2004. Water releases declined by 19 percent, from 364,067 pounds in 2003 to 296,414 pounds in 2004. Air emissions increased 11 percent, from 2.131 million pounds in 2003 to 2.356 million in 2004. Underground injection releases increased 147 percent, from 2,670 pounds in 2003 to 6,601 in 2004.
The 10 facilities highest on the list for total on- and off-site releases in the state are:
Fact sheets and additional information on the 2004 Toxics Release Inventory for Hawai'i are available at www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/tri/report/04/.