What is a release?
Releases in TRI are classified as either "on-site" or "off-site."
On-site release: When a facility emits or disposes a toxic chemical to land, air, or water.
Off-site release: When a facility transfers a toxic chemical off site for disposal. This includes metals released to wastewater that goes to a publicly-owned treatment facility.
How is this data used?
TRI is used to better understand:
- Potential risks from chemical releases.
- Ways to improve safety.
- Ways to protect the environment.
TRI data provides communities and researchers critical information about potential environmental hazards and pollution. For instance, studies that used TRI data have shown that low-income populations and communities of color across the nation are more likely to live near industrial facilities than other communities.
For information about our work regarding environmental justice and the relationship to TRI, contact Ecology's Environmental Justice coordinator Millie Piazza at 360-407-6177.
TRI data over time
The data serves as an indicator of environmental progress over time. Federal, state, and local governments have used TRI to set priorities, measure progress, and target areas of special and immediate concern.
For example, TRI data is used to measure pollution trends from specific industries. It shows whether industrial pollution is going up or down and helps identify if reduction targets are being met.
TRI is one indicator used in the Washington Beyond Waste and Toxics Progress Report to track progress toward reducing wastes and toxics.