EPA reports continued downward trend of significant pollutants from Industrial facilities

Date released: Apr 29 2011

The EU Commission will tomorrow publish the European Pollutant Release and transfer Register (E-PRTR) for the reporting year 2009.  It will be available at http://prtr.ec.europa.eu/.  This information will be revised in October 2011, to accommodate updated data.

The Register tracks annual data on 91 specific substances or pollutants released and recorded by industrial and public facilities, above specified reporting thresholds, to air, water, land as well as waste transferred off site. Data from Ireland was submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  This is the third annual E-PRTR data submission.

Commenting on the report, Gerard O’ Leary, Programme Manager, EPA Office of Environmental Enforcement said:

“The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register provide access to key environmental data from some 24,000 industrial facilities including 336 facilities in Ireland.  The register covers 65 economic activities across Europe and contributes to transparency and public participation in environmental decision-making.

The data from Ireland continues to show an overall downward trend in emissions to air as a result of a reduction in production output arising from macroeconomic activity and capital investment in Best Available Technology in abatement technology in the energy sector.”

The key findings of the 2009 E-PRTR shows:

  • 336 facilities in Ireland are covered by E-PRTR reporting. These include facilities from power generation, wastewater treatment, chemicals, intensive livestock, minerals & cement sectors.  Also included are large companies in areas such food & drink and waste sites.
  • Releases to air were dominated by facilities from the energy, minerals & cement and chemical sectors.
  • Overall, the data shows a continued downward trend, since 2007, in emissions of key substances or pollutants to air (carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, methane and non-methane volatile organic carbons).
  • The energy sector contributed 79% of Ireland’s 2009 E-PRTR carbon dioxide releases while the remaining 21% was from the cement & minerals sector.  Releases of carbon dioxide from the cement sector have decreased by 16.5% since 2008.
  • Nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide emissions decreased by 39% and 37% respectively, since 2008.
  • Public wastewater treatment plants which receive wastewater from a variety of sources were the top contributors to the total amount of nutrients (i.e. total nitrogen and total phosphorus, released to waters in 2009). The increase in emissions from this sector is indicative of additional wastewater treatment facilities reporting under E-PRTR.
  • The tonnage of hazardous waste transferred off-site from E-PRTR facilities decreased by 55% since 2008, to 220,428 tonnes.  This is most likely a result of the economic downturn.
  • The waste transfer stations and chemical sector contributed 52% and 36% respectively, of the total hazardous waste transfers off-site.
  • The tonnage of non-hazardous waste from all sectors decreased by 6%, to 3.28 million tonnes.

A summary report of the Ireland’s pollutant and transfer register can be found on the EPA website.

ENDS

Further information: Niamh Hatchell, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hrs)


Note to Editors:

The European Communities (European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register) Regulation 2007, S.I. No. 123 of 2007) signed into Irish Law on 22 March 2007 the E-PRTR Regulation, (EC) No 166/2006, concerning the establishment of a European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register.

The E-PRTR Regulation has a number of principal objectives, as set out in Article 1 of the Regulation:

Article 1
Subject matter
This Regulation establishes an integrated pollutant release and transfer register at Community level in the form of a publicly accessible electronic database and lays down rules for its functioning, in order to implement the UNECE Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers and facilitate public participation in environmental decision-making, as well as contributing to the prevention and reduction of pollution of the environment.

Annex 1 of the E-PRTR Regulation (EC) No 166/2006 lists the activities which are subject to reporting under E-PRTR.

Annex 2 of the E-PRTR Regulation lists the 91 substances that are subject to reporting under E-PRTR, above specified release thresholds.