EPA Explains Toxic Pollution Data Delay

The agency's Toxic Release Inventory is delayed due to facilities filling out forms incorrectly.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week accounted for the delay in the release of new data on toxic chemical releases for 1998.

The Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) was expanded for 1998 to include several new industrial sectors, including electrical utilities and certain mining operations. Many facility operators in those industries who were new to TRI reporting apparently made significant mistakes in filling out their TRI forms.

EPA staff members discovered the errors during routine reviews of the submitted data. They are making telephone calls to hundreds of facilities to walk the plant operators through the reporting form and the problems with their previously-submitted reports. The agency is also asking operators to submit new, corrected forms.

EPA does not levy fines or penalties on facility operators who submit TRI reports with errors or inaccuracies. The 1998 TRI data is expected to be released to the public in several weeks.

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