By Wendy Osher
A total of 37 facilities in Hawaiʻi reported a combined 2.7 million pounds of toxic chemical releases during 2012, according to new information provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
According to the EPA report, Hawaiian Electric Industries’ Kahe Generating Station on Oʻahu contributed the most on-site releases in Hawaiʻi in 2012. The report states that 585,264 pounds of chemicals were released into the air, with a primary chemical release of sulfuric acid, representing 84% of total air releases for the area.
Other companies that rounded out the top five included: (2) Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam; (3) Chevron Products Co. – Hawaiʻi Refinery; (4) AES Hawaiʻi Inc; and (5) Hawaiian Electric Co. Inc. – Waiau Generating Station on Oʻahu, according to the report.
Sulfuric acid was identified as the top chemical released into the air, representing 61% of the the 1.86 million pounds or air releases reported in the state.
Here on Maui, the following five companies were tracked for inclusion in the report with supporting data provided by the US EPA:
- Maui Electric Co. Ltd. Kahului Generating Station, Hobron Ave.: 180,019 pounds of chemicals were released into the air, most of which was sulfuric acid. Other chemicals released included: 18.9 pounds of lead compounds; 0.1 pound of polycyclic aromatic compounds; and 3.0E-4 dioxin and dioxin-like compounds. The data represents 71% of the toxic release inventory in Maui County and was ranked 287 out of 567 facilities in the electric utility industry, on a scale with 1 being the highest ranking.
- Maui Electric Company Māʻalaea Generating Station, N. Kīhei Road: 70,062 pounds of chemicals were released into the air, most of which was sulfuric acid. The data represents 28% of the toxic release inventory in Maui County and was ranked 352 out of 567 facilities in the electric utility industry. Other releases included 556.3 pounds of polycyclic aromatic compounds; 400 pounds of naphthalene; 94.6 pounds of lead; 11.5 pounds of mercury compounds; and 4.1 pounds of benzo (g,h,i) perylene.
- Maui Electric Company, Palaʻau Generating Station, ʻŪlili Street in Kaunakakai Molokaʻi: 69.8 pounds of chemicals were released into the air, all of which was polycyclic aromatic compounds. The figure represents less than 1% of the toxic release inventory in Maui County. The facility was ranked 520 out of 567 facilities in the electric utility industry.
- BEI Hawaiʻi Maui Main Warehouse, Pakana St. Wailuku: 0.4 pounds of chemicals were released into the air, representing less than 1% of the toxic release inventory in Maui County. The chemical wholesaler ranked 310 out of 319 toxic release inventory facilities for that particular industry.
- Maui Electric Company, Miki Basin Generating Station on N. Miki Road on Lānaʻi: The releases represented less than 1% of the toxic release inventory in Maui County. The facility did not have a ranking on the list of 567 electric utility facilities monitored in the report.
- Chevron Kahului Terminal, Hobron Ave.: This facility does not report to the toxic release inventory, however the EPA report states that the facility has the potential to release hazardous pollutants. The facility was found in compliance according to the most recent status report.
The analysis of chemicals is intended to help residents understand which chemicals are being used in their community, but the EPA notes that the data alone is not sufficient to determine exposure or to calculate potential risks to human health and the environment.
“TRI data, in conjunction with other information, such as the toxicity of the chemical, the release medium, and site-specific conditions, may be used to evaluate exposures from releases of toxic chemicals,” the report states.
The agency reports that Hawaii’s total on-site and off-site releases increased from 2011 to 2012 with air releases up 2%, water releases up 6%, on-site land releases up 46%, underground injection releases up 21%, and off-site transfers down 9%.
Nationally, the EPA reports that total releases of toxic chemicals decreased 12% from 2011 to 2012.
The information was contained in the EPA’s annual Toxics Release Inventory report and Pacific Southwest state fact sheets which were published today.
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