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Pollution Prevention and Reduction

Toxics Release Inventory

The Environmental Protection Agency requires industries, manufacturing facilities, and utilities to report on the release of any of 650 chemicals it defines as potentially hazardous to human health. This collection of data is called the Toxics Release Inventory.

TVA files annual reports on the amounts of TRI chemicals released by its fossil-fuel plants (those that burn coal or oil). Only 26 substances on the list are emitted by TVA plants in quantities large enough to require reporting.

The TRI doesn’t include sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which all fossil plants emit and monitor routinely. Since 1977, TVA has reduced its sulfur dioxide emissions by 94 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions have been reduced by about 90 percent since 1995.

As a federal agency TVA must report TRI releases from all of its operations, not just its fossil plants. Although the amounts are small, the emissions numbers TVA submits are comprehensive and include substances that might be used for cleaning or maintenance activities at any TVA facilities, including nuclear or hydro plants. Only federal facilities must include all of their operations other than just coal- or oil-burning plants. Private utilities are not covered under this requirement.

For more information about the Toxics Release Inventory, including reporting requirements and a list of the chemicals reported on by TVA, see Frequently Asked Questions.

In calendar year 2012, TVA’s fossil system produced 91.1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. From 1977 to 2012, TVA spent about $5.4 billion to reduce its air emissions. TVA is in compliance with federal and state regulations governing air, land and water releases.

TVA’s fossil TRI releases for 2012 were 27,907,753 pounds, a 29 percent decrease from 2011. This was because:

  • Less ash was handled offsite from fossil plants
  • Additional air controls were brought on line at fossil plants
  • Less coal usage by fossil plants

2012 data for TVA operations

All amounts are in pounds

Chemical Air Water Land Off-Site Disposal Total
Hydrochloric Acid (aerosol) 1,858,000 0 0 0 1,858,000
Hydrogen Fluoride 1,126,000 0 0 0 1,126,000
Sulfuric Acid (aerosol) 9,268,085 0 0 0 9,268,085
Ammonia 650,881 21,403 0 0 672,284
Antimony Compounds 131 0 20,000 0 20,131
Arsenic Compounds 2,201 3,360 213,113 20 218,694
Barium Compounds 30,775 114,874 7,777,100 1,307,860 9,230,609
Beryllium Compounds 175 0 23,545 0 23,720
Cadmium Compounds          
Chromium Compounds 2,698 1,730 329,006 48 333,482
Cobalt Compounds 405 0 41,350 0 41,755
Copper Compounds 2,338 43,610 380,284 44,003 470,235
Lead Compounds 3,644 244 346,388 19,103 369,378
Manganese Compounds 5,994 22,542 908,800 53,300 990,636
Mercury Compounds 1,364 3 1,464 73 2,903
Nickel Compounds 2,478 7,854 321,336 8 331,676
Selenium Compounds 4,402 5,100 18,590 1 28,093
Silver Compounds          
Thallium Compounds 83 2,600 88,180 0 90,863
Vanadium Compounds 4,600 27,319 838,690 45,700 916,309
Zinc Compounds 13,801 33,192 1,071,330 40,000 1,158,323
Chlorine 0 14 0 0 14
Benzo(g,h,i)perylene 1 0 1 0 3
Naphthalene 376 0 0 0 376
Nitrate Compounds 0 759,000 0 0 759,000
Dioxin (grams) 14 0 0 0 14
Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds 217 0 80 4 301
Hydrazine 0 0 0 0 0
Total 12,978,649 1,042,844 12,379,257 1,510,120 27,910,870

 

Gross MWh generated: 91,061,956
Pounds released per MWh: 0.303

 

To view TRI data for each TVA fossil plant, choose a plant from the Emissions Data menu at top right.

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