Water Releases by Chemical & Industry
Water Releases By Chemical
This pie chart shows which TRI-listed chemicals were released to water bodies in the largest quantities during 2019.
Note: 1) In this chart, metals are combined with their metal compounds, although metals and compounds of the same metal are listed separately on the TRI list (e.g. manganese is listed separately from manganese compounds). 2) Percentages do not sum to 100% due to rounding.
- Nitrate compounds accounted for 89% of the total quantity of TRI chemicals released to water in 2019. Nitrate compounds dissolve in water and are commonly formed as part of facilities’ on-site wastewater treatment processes. The food manufacturing sector contributed 39% of total nitrate compound releases to water, due to the treatment required for biological materials in wastewater, such as from meat processing facilities.
- While nitrate compounds are less toxic to humans than many other TRI chemicals, in nitrogen-limited waters, nitrates have the potential to cause increased algal growth leading to eutrophication in the aquatic environment. See EPA’s Nutrient Pollution webpage for more information about the issue of eutrophication.
- Ammonia, manganese compounds, and methanol were the chemicals released in the next-largest quantities, and, in terms of combined mass, accounted for 7% of the chemicals released to water.
Water Releases By Industry
This pie chart shows the TRI-covered industry sectors that reported the greatest releases of TRI chemicals to water bodies during 2019.
Note: Percentages do not sum to 100% due to rounding.
- The food manufacturing sector accounted for 35% of the total quantity of TRI chemicals released to water during 2019, which was similar to its contribution over the past 10 years.
- Nitrate compounds accounted for 99% of the total quantity of TRI chemicals released to water from the food manufacturing sector. Nitrate compounds are relatively less toxic to humans than many other TRI chemicals discharged to surface waters but are formed in large quantities by this sector during wastewater treatment processes due to the high biological content of wastewater.
This page was published in January 2021 and uses the 2019 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in October 2020.