Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program

2011 TRI National Analysis: Urban Communities - Metropolitan Atlanta

Metro Atlanta
TRI facilities in Metropolitan Atlanta

Quick Facts for 2011

Number of TRI Facilities: 251
Total On-site and Off-site Disposal
or Other Releases:
13.0 million lb
Total On-site: 12.3 million lb
• Air: 7.2 million lb
• Water: 157 thousand lb
• Land: 4.9 million lb
• Underground Injection: none
Total Off-site: 750 thousand lb

View definitions of TRI terms

The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA metropolitan area, also called Metro Atlanta, is made up of 28 counties in north Georgia. Its population of 5.4 million is spread out over a relatively large land area of 8,376 square miles. Although it has the ninth largest population of U.S. metropolitan areas, it is one of the less densely populated large metropolitan areas in the United States.

Most of the Metro Atlanta area lies in the Chattahoochee River basin. The Chattahoochee River feeds Lake Lanier, the main source of drinking water for Metro Atlanta.

The main industrial activities in Metro Atlanta include automobile and aircraft manufacturing, primary metals, food and beverage processing, textiles, printing and publishing, chemical manufacturing, and telecommunications hardware. In addition, the metropolitan area generates significant amounts of electric power, primarily from coal-fired plants.

In the Atlanta metropolitan area, electric utilities had the largest total disposal or other releases for 2011. Four electric utilities reported 84% of the total on-site disposal or other releases. They also accounted for 85% of total air releases, mainly hydrochloric and sulfuric acids, and 95% of total on-site land disposal or other releases, 41% of which was barium and its compounds. The food products industry reported 52% of total surface water discharges, primarily as nitrate compounds. The primary metals sector (such as aluminum extruded product and copper wire manufacturing in this region) had the second largest total disposal or other releases due to its off-site transfers to disposal.

Total on-site disposal or other releases decreased by 71% from 2003 to 2011, including a 28% decrease from 2010 to 2011. Air releases decreased by 80% from 2003 to 2011 and by 18% from 2010 to 2011. Surface water discharges decreased overall by 83% from 2003 to 2011, including a 41% decrease from 2010 to 2011. On-site land disposal or other releases decreased from 2003 to 2011 by 13%, including a decrease of 39% from 2010 to 2011. Electric utilities, accounting for 90% of on-site releases in this region, reported a decrease of 11% in air releases, of 24% in surface water discharges and 40% in on-site land disposal or other releases from 2010 to 2011.

Top Five Metro Atlanta

Top Five Metro Atlanta

Top Five Chemicals by Environmental Medium Metropolitan Atlanta, 2011

Top Five Metro Atlanta

Top Five Metro Atlanta

Top Five Metro Atlanta

Top Five Metro Atlanta

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