Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program

2013 TRI National Analysis: Water Releases - Trend in Surface Water Discharges

Section 3: Water Releases

Trend in Surface Water Discharges


Facilities are required to report the total quantity of TRI chemicals they release to receiving streams or other water bodies. Releases to surface water have decreased by 19 million pounds (8%) since 2003. Most of this decline is due to a decrease in releases of nitrate compounds, the TRI chemical most commonly released to water. In 2013, nitrate compounds accounted for 89% of all surface water discharges. Nitrate compounds are often formed as part of the wastewater treatment process, such as when nitric acid is neutralized. Surface water discharges of nitrate compounds decreased by 7% from 2003 to 2013. Surface water discharges of other TRI chemicals, many of which are more toxic than nitrate compounds, have been decreasing at a faster rate. Releases to water are discussed further in the next few figures starting with water releases by chemical.

This page was published in January 2015 and uses the 2013 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in October 2014.