EPA supports Europe-wide Pollutant Release and Transfer Register by publishing latest releases from industrial activities

Date released: Jul 10 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published environmental data on Ireland’s national pollutant release and transfer register (PRTR). This is a public register of pollutant releases and waste transfers from large industrial activities in Ireland. This information supports EU-wide reporting through the European Commission’s e-Register website, which contains data reported annually by more than 30,000 industrial facilities across the EU.

Covering 91 pollutants from 397 large industrial facilities in Ireland, the data indicates trends across a number of key parameters. In particular, there is a trend towards recovery treatment rather than disposal in hazardous waste management for relevant facilities. It also shows that recovery of hazardous waste within Ireland increased by 49 per cent in 2016.  In addition, the total hazardous waste transferred outside Ireland for recovery increased by 33 per cent in 2016.

While recovery increased by 5 per cent for non-hazardous waste from relevant facilities in 2016, the total waste transferred from PRTR facilities for disposal increased by 8 per cent. This is reflective of increased economic activity.

Patrick Geoghegan, EPA Senior Manager said:

The register contributes to transparency and public participation in environmental decision-making. The aim of the register is to make information on industrial emissions more accessible and to help the public be better informed.  The register is also intended to create greater transparency among stakeholders and incentivise industry to establish clean production techniques and abatement to reduce emissions.

Further information on the PRTR Register
Irish Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR)  
European E-PRTR

ENDS


Further information: EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours) or media@epa.ie

Notes to Editor

Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR): The data contained within the Register does not present an assessment of environmental performance at any particular facility, nor does it assess the impact of reported emissions on the local/national environment.  EPA licensed operations are regulated and monitored by the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement in accordance with licence conditions.

The register allows the public to search facilities by the nature of their activity, their location, the operator and the type of environmental emission. It aims to enhance public access to environmental information and thereby contribute to the prevention and reduction of environmental releases, inform policy development and facilitate public participation in environmental decision-making.

Key highlights:

  • The figures show a total of 397 facilities were reported to the EPA compared to 384 for 2015. The increase is reflective of increased economic activity and regulation of facilities.
  • The Energy sector contributed 55% of the total PRTR Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and 74% of Sulphur Oxide (SOx) releases to air. Such pollutants are derived from high temperature fuel combustion from power generation activities.
  • Ammonia (NH3) releases to air were predominantly reported from the intensive livestock production sector.
  • Nutrient releases to water (e.g. total nitrogen and total phosphorus) were mainly reported from large urban (city) wastewater treatment plants.
  • Total Heavy metal releases to waters including cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, nickel, zinc and arsenic decreased by 28% between 2015 and 2016.
  • The total hazardous waste tonnage, transferred from PRTR facilities for recovery within Ireland increased by 49% from 25,556 tonnes in 2015 to 38,087 tonnes in 2016.  Hazardous waste transfers sent for disposal within
  • Ireland decreased by 29% from 10,444 tonnes in 2015 to 7,367 tonnes in 2016. This reflects a combination of increased economic activity in 2016 and potentially, an increased movement towards recovery treatment rather than disposal.
  • The total hazardous waste transferred from PRTR facilities, for recovery, to facilities outside Ireland increased by 33% from 84,593 tonnes in 2015 to 112,347 tonnes in 2016.
  • For non-hazardous waste the total waste transferred from PRTR facilities for recovery increased by 5% from 3.19 million tonnes in 2015 to 3.36 million tonnes in 2016. 
  • For non-hazardous waste, the total waste transferred from PRTR facilities for disposal increased by 8% from 1.38 million tonnes in 2015 to 1.49 million tonnes in 2016. 

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

PRTR Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 649 of 2011) signed into law on the 13th December 2011, established an Irish pollutant release and transfer register in the form of a publicly accessible electronic database.

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 PRTR Regulation (EC) No. 166 of 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.