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Online release of North American industrial pollution data reveals significant reporting gaps
Date:7/13/2010

g: this sector accounted for 84% of all reported Canadian discharges to water in 2006; in the United States, the public wastewater treatment sector is exempt from TRI reporting; and in Mexico, although facilities discharging to national water bodies are required to report to RETC, very few wastewater treatment plants did so in 2006.

Progress is being made by governments to close these gaps-such as removing exemptions for sectors and adding substances subject to PRTR reporting. For example, Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory removed the exemption for disposal of mining tailings and waste rock, which should result in an increase in reporting by Canadian mines next year. Considering the data reported in 2006 by US metal mines, this step is potentially significant for better understanding industries' releases and handling of pollutants of particular concern. Metal mines in the states of Alaska, Nevada, Utah and Arizona, for example, reported releases to land-often in waste piles or uncovered areas-of millions of kilograms of heavy metals including lead and mercury compounds, both of which are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic pollutants.

Today's release of online PRTR data and analytical tools will be complemented with further analyses and information in the CEC's Taking Stock report to be released later this year. It will feature a special analysis of North American industrial pollutant releases to water, with a more detailed look at the sources and amounts as well as their potential impacts on the environment. Last year's Taking Stock report provided an in-depth look at pollutant reporting from North American's petroleum industry.


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Contact: Eduardo Viadas
eviadas@cec.org
514-350-4331
Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Source:Eurekalert

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