TRI National Analysis

Electric Utilities Waste Management Trend in the 2015 TRI National Analysis

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The following graph shows the annual quantities of toxic chemicals managed by electric utilities.


From 2005-2015:

  • Production-related waste managed decreased by 467 million lb (24%) since 2005.
  • Net electricity generation decreased by 35% (in terms of electricity generated using coal and oil fuels as report by the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration). The recent production decrease was driven by the industry’s transition to natural gas, as only facilities that combust coal or oil to produce power are covered under TRI reporting requirements.
  • Per gigawatt-hour (GWH) produced, releases decreased dramatically (38%), while quantities treated increased considerably.

In 2015:

  • Approximately two-thirds of production-related waste managed was treated, while approximately one-third was released.
    • This is in contrast to 2005, when over half of the waste was released, and about one-third was treated. This trend is in large part due to an increase in scrubbers at electric utilities that treat (or destroy) acid gases that would otherwise be released on-site to the air.

This page was published in January 2017 and uses the 2015 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in October 2016.

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