Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program

2011 TRI National Analysis: Urban Communities - Denver Metropolitan Area

Metro Denver
TRI facilities in Denver Metropolitan Area

Quick Facts for 2011

Number of TRI Facilities: 98
Total On-site and Off-site Disposal
or Other Releases:
7.4 million lb
Total On-site: 5.1 million lb
• Air: 907 thousand lb
• Water: 206 thousand lb
• Land: 4.0 million lb
• Underground Injection: none
Total Off-site: 2.2 million lb

View definitions of TRI terms

The Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO metropolitan area is centered in the South Platte River Valley of Colorado between the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains to the west and the High Plains to the east. The 10 counties surrounding Denver cover 8,414 square miles. The metropolitan area includes the cities of Arvada, Lakewood, Thornton, and Westminster. Its population of about 2.6 million people makes it the 21st largest U.S. metropolitan area.

The Denver metropolitan area's economy was historically based upon mining and energy extraction due to its location near the mineral-rich Rocky Mountains. Energy and mining are still important in Denver's economy, but the city has also become a major energy research center. The metropolitan area is also a regional transportation hub for the western United States. It hosts a number of federal agency headquarters and regional offices.

The metropolitan area has a varied manufacturing base, producing food and beverages, printed materials, mining and farming machinery, electrical instruments, rubber goods, fabricated metal products, chemicals and allied stone and clay products, clothing, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, feed, flour, and luggage.

Land disposal accounted for more than three-quarters (78%) of total on-site disposal or other releases in the Denver metropolitan area in 2011. One metal mine accounted for 53% of the on-site land disposal, and one hazardous waste management facility accounted for almost all of the remainder. While the mining facility's on-site land disposal consisted mainly of manganese and its compounds, the hazardous waste facility's land disposal consisted mainly of aluminum oxide, lead and its compounds, and chromium and its compounds. Electric utilities and fabricated metals facilities each accounted for about one-third of total air releases for 2011. Electric utilities' air releases were mainly hydrochloric acid and hydrogen fluoride. Fabricated metals facilities' air releases were mainly n-butyl alcohol and glycol ethers.

From 2003 to 2011, total on-site disposal or other releases increased by 172%, with a 16% increase from 2010 to 2011. Both on-site land disposal and surface water discharges increased between 2003 and 2011, while air releases decreased. However, air releases increased by 6% from 2010 to 2011 while surface water discharges decreased by 6%. On-site land disposal in 2011 was more than seven times the amount reported 2003, with a 20% increase from 2010 to 2011. One hazardous waste management facility did not report any disposal or other releases from 2003 to 2006 and, thus, accounts for over half of the large increase from 2003 to 2011 in on-site land disposal. One metal mine reported more than three times the amount of on-site disposal in 2011 as in 2003, accounting for most of the rest of the large increase in on-site land disposal in this region.

Top Five Metro Denver

Top Five Metro Denver

Top Five Chemicals by Environmental Medium
Denver Metropolitan Area, 2011

Top Five Metro Denver

Top Five Metro Denver

Top Five Metro Denver

Top Five Metro Denver

Note: This page was published in January of 2013 and uses the TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in November 2012.