EPA says Augusta's chemical emissions increased from 2009 to 2010

Monday, April 2, 2012 11:42 AM
Last updated Tuesday, April 3, 2012 1:56 AM
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Chemical emissions in industry-laden Richmond County increased by more than 3 million pounds from 2009 to 2010, most likely because of expanded factory production, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Inventory Report.

The annual study, which tracks releases to air, land and water, shows a corresponding increase in chemicals discharged to the Savannah River, which ranked fourth in the nation among waterways that receive the largest waste volumes.

The total of all releases increased from 10.88 million pounds in 2009 to 13.98 million pounds in 2010, the most recent year for which complete figures are available. The EPA expects to release its 2011 totals in late December.

Historically, Augusta’s largest polluters have tended to be the largest industries, with No. 1 emitter DSM Chemicals North America reporting the 2010 release of 5,850,325 pounds of chemicals that included nitrates, cyclohexane, ammonia and toluene. The 2010 figure was more than double the 2009 release of 2,895,359 pounds.

PCS Nitrogen Fertilizer reported the release of 4,932,127 pounds in 2010, reflecting a decrease from the 5,514,756 pounds released during 2009.

Ranking third was another major industry, International Paper, which reported 2,829,221 pounds of ammonia, hydrochloric acid, methanol and other compounds. The company’s 2009 releases totaled 2,175,876 pounds.

All the releases are authorized under state and federal regulatory permits issued to industries that provide jobs and tax revenues.

In a related study released last week as part of the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Clean Water Act, the PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center said the Savannah River trails only three other waterways – the Ohio, Mississippi and North Carolina’s New River – in the volume of chemicals it absorbs. One of the main compounds released into the Savannah is nitrates, a common fertilizer ingredient.

According to the study, nitrates are among the leading nationwide sources of nutrient pollution that can fuel the growth of algal blooms. As the algae decay, decomposition can cause the depletion of oxygen levels in the waterway, the study said.

Oxygen levels have become a perennial issue in the complex management program associated with the Savannah River, which is governed by both Georgia and South Carolina, with coastal regions overseen by the EPA. The EPA is in the final stages of implementing regulatory changes in Augusta designed to resolve low oxygen levels in Savannah Harbor 180 miles downstream.

AUGUSTA-RICHMOND COUNTY

Year Emissions (in pounds)

2010 13,982,774

2009 10,880,547

2008 11,852,485

2007 12,713,205

2006 14,014,418

2005 13,118,856

2004 13,060,871

2003 15,947,383

2002 8,802,960

2001 7,431,775

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

DISCHARGE

Top 10 Rivers for Total Toxic Discharges (2010)

1. Ohio River (IL, IN, KY, OH, PA, WV) 32,111,718

2. Mississippi River (AR, IA, IL, KY, LA, MN, MO, MS, TN, WI) 12,739,749

3. New River (NC, VA) 12,529,948

4. Savannah River (GA, SC) 9,624,090

5. Delaware River (DE, NJ, PA) 6,719,436

6. Muskingum River (OH) 5,754,118

7. Missouri River (IA, KS, MO, ND, NE) 4,887,971

8. Shonka Ditch (NE) 4,614,722

9. Tricounty Canal (NE) 3,386,162

10. Rock River (IL, WI) 3,370,39

Source: PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Comments (17) Add comment
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burninater
9785
Points
burninater 04/02/12 - 11:22 am
2
0
Who cares? The righteous are

Who cares? The righteous are going to their eternal reward, and if God didn't mean for us to turn the Creation into a steaming poisonous dung pile, we wouldn't have been blessed with the capacity for the unfettered pursuit of profit.

Little Lamb
47857
Points
Little Lamb 04/02/12 - 11:42 am
0
2
It's a bit strange to see the

It's a bit strange to see the EPA making a press release to tout the Obama recovery, but politics make strange bedfellows.

Little Lamb
47857
Points
Little Lamb 04/02/12 - 11:47 am
0
1
The nitrate fertilizes the

The nitrate fertilizes the algae. Then the algae's photosynthesis pumps tons of oxygen into the water during the daylight hours. But at night that same oxygen is consumed by the algae as they respire (or is it transpire?). This low-oxygen thing is diurnal and not as big a problem as the environmental whackos are making it out to be.

burninater
9785
Points
burninater 04/02/12 - 12:05 pm
2
0
A little knowledge is a

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Algae blooms produce a lot of dead algae, which causes bacteria blooms, which consume oxygen dissolved in the water and produce anoxic conditions.

Learning from the people that actually study the world does not make one a whacko, but believing half-truths without checking the facts just might.

burninater
9785
Points
burninater 04/02/12 - 12:14 pm
2
0
It's ironic that

It's ironic that anti-environmentalists are often the same people that argue that Americans need to be held more responsible for the consequences of their actions.

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 04/02/12 - 12:48 pm
0
1
PLEASE mr.president,help us!

PLEASE mr.president,help us! pass more regulations so that more plants can be closed and more unelpmoyment money to boost our economy. as we all know that unemployment money and food stamps are the backbone of our economy! please MORE regulation and more government to enforce the new regulations.

burninater
9785
Points
burninater 04/02/12 - 02:58 pm
1
1
Tell you what copperhead, as

Tell you what copperhead, as soon as we live in little bubbles, get our food and water from laboratories, and breathe all of our air out of little canisters, we can pollute and destroy natural biological systems to our hearts' content. Until then, it would be completely mindless to ignore the necessary balance between jobs and the world we rely on for our survival. Mindless.

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 04/03/12 - 05:02 am
0
0
I don't understand why this

I don't understand why this is being reported, the data is 2 years old. The article stated all the releases are authorized under state and federal regulatory permits, and some of these industries have made improvements in the past two years. Why not report something more up to date, figures from 2010 to 2011 won't be reading until December of 2012???? Why does it take so long to report this data?

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 04/03/12 - 05:29 am
1
2
Lots of data requires lots of

Lots of data requires lots of time to compile and analyze.

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 04/03/12 - 05:43 am
1
0
I understand a lot of data is

I understand a lot of data is required, but with technology what it is and computer programs do most of the work, it just doesn't seem like it should take a whole year to analyze the data.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 04/03/12 - 05:44 am
0
0
This is not a problem. The
Unpublished

This is not a problem. The real problem is second or third hand smoke eminating from your neighbors house down the block. Now that is what we need to focus on and focus on and focus on. So please leave the poor chemical plants alone.

seenitB4
93349
Points
seenitB4 04/03/12 - 06:06 am
0
0
Like it or not MANY have

Like it or not MANY have health problems in South Richmond county & Burke county.....cancer deaths .......there is a problem....& I'm not blaming the people & their life styles for ALL of it either...

http://ga.water.usgs.gov/projects/savannahriver/

the water flows south.....soil & drinking water are affected..read the article.

Little Lamb
47857
Points
Little Lamb 04/03/12 - 07:10 am
0
0
Burninater wrote: Algae

Burninater wrote:

Algae blooms produce a lot of dead algae.

Yeah, but it sure was fun while it lasted.

Riverman1
90171
Points
Riverman1 04/03/12 - 07:13 am
0
0
Live algae, dead algae....all

Live algae, dead algae....all the same to me.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 04/03/12 - 09:16 am
0
0
InChristLove, GA has some of

InChristLove,

GA has some of the weakest environmental laws in the country. How many think that numerous chemical plants located here because of the highly qualified nature of our public school graduates?

allhans
24456
Points
allhans 04/03/12 - 09:24 am
0
0
I don't know about the water

I don't know about the water in south Richmond County but I do know that in the Forest Hills area if you use a dish towel to wipe down the counter just one time, toss it in the laundry, it will stink too bad to use again.

Clean Water
11
Points
Clean Water 04/03/12 - 10:27 am
1
0
I am impressed with the

I am impressed with the Augusta Chronicle for printing this article at this time. Maybe they will do something about the contamination in the River. We have for so long looked the other way while so many people have suffered. People still fish and swim in places like Savannah River, Lake Olmstead and Langley Pond. Even though they have for some time known that Langley Pond is contaminated they still hold events like the triathalon. So many people young people swimming and eating fish out of these contaminated areas. The Langley pond Triathalon will be on April 28, 2012. This is a tragedy. Good article Mr. Pavey.

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