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Latest report on North American industrial pollution reveals impacts on our shared water environment
Date:4/12/2011

This release is available in Spanish and French.

Montreal, 12 April 2011The 13th edition of the Taking Stock report, released today by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), provides the most comprehensive picture of industrial pollution across North America, documenting reported releases and transfers of 5.7 billion kilograms of pollutants from facilities reporting to pollutant release and transfer register (PRTR) programs in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

This year's report features an analysis of the more than 228 million kilograms of pollutant releases reported to surface waters across the three countries. Taking Stock reveals that just two of the 256 pollutants released to surface waters made up 90 percent of the total volume: nitrate compounds and ammonia. These pollutants are associated with the increased presence of nuisance and even toxic algal blooms that result in aquatic dead zones, or areas depleted of oxygen, increasingly affecting water bodies throughout the three countries.

In addition to direct releases to surface waters, over 133 million kilograms of a wide variety of pollutants were transferred to sewage or wastewater treatment facilities. Depending on whether and how they are treated, these pollutants can also be eventually released to surface waters.

The information on releases to surface waters also reveals significant gaps in the tracking of North American industrial pollution as a result of national reporting exemptions for certain sectors and pollutants, combined with incomplete reporting by some facilities. For example, public wastewater treatment plants accounted for 44 percent of the total reported releases, but the data come almost exclusively from Canadian facilities. In the United Sta
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Contact: Eduardo Viadas
eviadas@cec.org
514-350-4331
Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Source:Eurekalert  

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