Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program

2011 TRI National Analysis: Urban Communities - Philadelphia Metropolitan Area

Metro Philadelphia
TRI facilities in Philadelphia Metropolitan Area

Quick Facts for 2011

Number of TRI Facilities: 304
Total On-site and Off-site Disposal
or Other Releases:
16.2 million lb
Total On-site: 12.4 million lb
• Air: 4.4 million lb
• Water: 7.5 million lb
• Land: 452 thousand lb
• Underground Injection: none
Total Off-site: 3.8 million lb

View definitions of TRI terms

The Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD metropolitan area covers 5,118 square miles in four states: five counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, four counties in southern New Jersey, one county in northern Delaware, and one county in northeastern Maryland.

The metropolitan area is also called the Delaware Valley because the Delaware River flows through the area and into the Delaware Bay, both important estuaries. Other major rivers and waterways include the Schuylkill River, the Lower Susquehanna River, and the upper most portion of the Chesapeake Bay. It is the sixth largest metropolitan area in the United States, with a population of about 6 million.

The making of chemicals, including pharmaceuticals, is the area's leading manufacturing activity. Other important products manufactured in the Delaware Valley include medical devices, personal care products, food products, computer and electronic products, industrial machinery, fabricated metal products, petroleum products, rubber and plastic products, and printed materials.

Chemical manufacturers had the largest total disposal or other releases in the Philadelphia metropolitan area due to their surface water discharges. One petrochemical plant in New Jersey accounted for 65% of surface water discharges in the area for 2011, primarily composed of nitrate compounds to the Delaware River. Petroleum refineries had the largest on-site air releases in this area for 2011. Air releases of sulfuric acid and hydrogen cyanide comprised 54% of the total air releases for the petroleum sector in this area. Four refineries located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware accounted for 36% of the total air releases.

Total on-site disposal or other releases for the Philadelphia metropolitan area decreased by 16% from 2003 to 2011, and by 3% from 2010 to 2011. Total surface water discharges increased by 160% from 2003 to 2011, including a 5% increase from 2010 to 2011. Air releases decreased by 59% from 2003 to 2011 including a decrease of 10% from 2010 to 2011.

Top Five Metro Philadelphia

Top Five Metro Philadelphia

Top Five Chemicals by Environmental Medium Philadelphia Metropolitan Area, 2011

Top Five Metro Philadelphia

Top Five Metro Philadelphia

Top Five Metro Philadelphia

Top Five Metro Philadelphia

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