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2011 TRI National Analysis: Large Aquatic Ecosystems - Puget Sound - Georgia Basin
TRI facilities in Puget Sound - Georgia Basin
Quick Facts for 2011
|Number of TRI Facilities:||180|
|Total On-site and Off-site Disposal
or Other Releases:
|6.8 million lbs|
|Total On-site:||4.6 million lbs|
|• Air:||4 million lbs|
|• Water:||471 thousand lbs|
|• Land:||189 thousand lbs|
|• Underground Injection:||1 lbs|
|Total Off-site:||2.1 million lbs|
The Puget Sound - Georgia Basin ecosystem is a shared resource of both the United States and Canada. The saltwater basin contains the Puget Sound in Washington State, the Strait of Georgia in British Columbia, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which separates Washington's Olympic Peninsula from British Columbia's Vancouver Island. The land and numerous rivers of mainland Washington and British Columbia, Vancouver Island, and the other islands compose the watershed, which covers an area of 12,500 square miles in the United States and drains to this common saltwater basin.
The ecosystem is one of the most ecologically diverse in North America and is also the backbone for the Region's culture and economy. The abundant coastline, waters, and natural features afford a high quality of life to residents. Logging, wood products, fish and shellfish production, and tourism are major segments of the region's economy.
Pulp and paper facilities and petroleum refineries had the largest on-site disposal or other releases in this ecosystem in 2011. The largest air releases in the basin were of methanol and hydrochloric acid, primarily from pulp and paper mills. Air releases decreased overall by 36% from 2003 to 2011. However, they increased by 1% from 2010 to 2011.
The largest surface water discharges were of nitrate compounds, primarily from pulp and paper mills and from petroleum refineries. Surface water discharges decreased overall by 23% from 2003 to 2011, including a decrease of 28% from 2010 to 2011.
Federal facilities had the largest on-site land disposal, primarily of lead. One pulp and paper mill reported large amounts of manganese compounds disposed of in an on-site landfill. These releases may make their way to the fresh and salt waters of the ecosystem and accumulate in the food chain as evidenced by elevated levels of these toxic chemicals in the tissues of some aquatic species in the ecosystem. On-site land disposal or other releases decreased by 35% from 2003 to 2011, but increased by 38% from 2010 to 2011, primarily due to one federal facility.
Many federal, state, and tribal government agencies as well as other local and regional groups are involved in monitoring and managing the Puget Sound-Georgia Strait. The EPA and Environment Canada have agreed to common management goals for the Region. In 2007, the Puget Sound Partnership, one of EPA's 28 National Estuary Programs, was formed by the Washington State Legislature for managing the ecological health of the Basin. To learn more about ongoing efforts to protect Puget Sound - Georgia Basin, visit: www.epa.gov/pugetsound/.
Top Five Chemicals by Environmental Medium Puget Sound - Georgia Basin, 2011