Pollution Prevention and Reduction
Toxics Release Inventory
The Environmental Protection Agency requires industries, manufacturing facilities, and utilities to report on the release of any of 650 chemicals it defines as potentially hazardous to human health. This collection of data is called the Toxics Release Inventory.
TVA files annual reports on the amounts of TRI chemicals released by its fossil-fuel plants (those that burn coal or oil). Only 26 substances on the list are emitted by TVA plants in quantities large enough to require reporting.
The TRI doesn’t include sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which all fossil plants emit and monitor routinely. Since 1977, TVA has reduced its sulfur dioxide emissions by 94 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions have been reduced by about 90 percent since 1995.
As a federal agency TVA must report TRI releases from all of its operations, not just its fossil plants. Although the amounts are small, the emissions numbers TVA submits are comprehensive and include substances that might be used for cleaning or maintenance activities at any TVA facilities, including nuclear or hydro plants. Only federal facilities must include all of their operations other than just coal- or oil-burning plants. Private utilities are not covered under this requirement.
For more information about the Toxics Release Inventory, including reporting requirements and a list of the chemicals reported on by TVA, see Frequently Asked Questions.
In calendar year 2012, TVA’s fossil system produced 91.1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. From 1977 to 2012, TVA spent about $5.4 billion to reduce its air emissions. TVA is in compliance with federal and state regulations governing air, land and water releases.
TVA’s fossil TRI releases for 2012 were 27,907,753 pounds, a 29 percent decrease from 2011. This was because:
- Less ash was handled offsite from fossil plants
- Additional air controls were brought on line at fossil plants
- Less coal usage by fossil plants
2012 data for TVA operations
All amounts are in pounds
|Hydrochloric Acid (aerosol)||1,858,000||0||0||0||1,858,000|
|Sulfuric Acid (aerosol)||9,268,085||0||0||0||9,268,085|
|Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds||217||0||80||4||301|
|Gross MWh generated:||91,061,956|
|Pounds released per MWh:||0.303|
To view TRI data for each TVA fossil plant, choose a plant from the Emissions Data menu at top right.