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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 23 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 95 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions have been reduced by about 91 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 2013, TVA’s fossil system produced 91.1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. From 1977 to 2013, TVA spent about $5.6 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 2013 were 26,262,607 pounds, a 6 percent decrease from 2012. This was because:

  • Less coal usage by fossil plants
  • Increased removal of SO3 emissions by controls
  • Decrease partially offset by an increase in off-site disposal of ash mined from Allen Fossil Plant and increased unscrubbed operations at Kingston

2013 data for TVA operations

All amounts are in pounds

Chemical Air Water Land Off-Site Disposal Total
Hydrochloric Acid (aerosol)
1,635,000
0
0
0
1,635,000
Hydrogen Fluoride
974,600
0
0
0
974,600
Sulfuric Acid (aerosol)
7,908,045
0
0
0
7,908,045
Ammonia
375,172
18,747
0
0
393,919
Antimony Compounds
0
0
0
0
0
Arsenic Compounds
2,232
2,240
178,541
1
183,014
Barium Compounds
14,435
120,321
7,923,500
1,700,116
9,758,372
Beryllium Compounds
182
0
19,147
0
19,329
Cadmium Compounds
0
0
0
0
0
Chromium Compounds
2,682
1,610
287,300
2
291,594
Cobalt Compounds
400
0
32,660
0
33,060
Copper Compounds
2,257
47,702
378,833
75,000
503,792
Lead Compounds
3,258
178
294,088
33,015
330,538
Manganese Compounds
5,247
7,859
833,900
67,000
914,006
Mercury Compounds
1,256
79
1,169
140
2,644
Nickel Compounds
2,612
6,830
272,100
0
281,542
Selenium Compounds
3,902
6,400
15,410
0
25,712
Silver Compounds
0
0
0
0
0
Thallium Compounds
76
0
76,810
0
76,886
Vanadium Compounds
4,103
28,210
726,600
61,500
820,413
Zinc Compounds
12,590
28,083
923,740
55,000
1,019,413
Benzo(g,h,i)perylene
1
0
1
0
2
Naphthalene
313
0
0
0
313
Nitrate Compounds
0
618,000
0
0
618,000
Dioxin (grams)
13
0
0
0
13
Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds
197
0
69
2
269
Hydrazine
Total
10,948,560
886,259
11,963,868
1,991,776
25,790,463

 

Gross MWh generated:
62,922,110
Pounds released per MWh:
0.410

 

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

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