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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Annual report shows chemical release amounts from local facilities

The Toxics Release Inventory for 2017 has been released, showing varying amounts of chemicals entering the air and water in the Historic Triangle.

Every year, The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality creates a public study that collects data on the manufacturing, processing and use of toxic chemicals by in-state industries and federal facilities. These are chemicals such as lead, mercury and ammonia.

While the study does not provide information about public exposure to chemicals or evaluate risks, it does help people understand what is going into the environment.

In James City County, the three facilities that are monitored are Anheuser-Busch, Call Metal Beverage Container Corp. and Greystone of Virginia.

In York County, the facilities are Camp Peary, Eaton Corporation-Williamsburg Manufacturing, Plains All American Pipeline, the U.S. Navy NWSY Defense Fuel Supply Point in Yorktown and the Yorktown Power Station.

Related story: Report spotlights how much pollution is being released into air, water in Williamsburg area

Those facilities have not only their chemical use monitored, but the study breaks down the numbers of on-site releases, on-site management and off-site transfers.

On-site management refers to where the chemicals are produced. With on-site management, the risk of releasing those chemicals into the environment and having them interact with other toxic chemicals is decreased.

Off-site transfers is when the toxic chemical waste of a facility is taken to a separate facility for disposal, according to the Environmental Protection Agency website.

On-site disposal monitors chemical emissions in the air, discharges to bodies of water and disposal at the facility land.

James City County

NOTE: All data and statistics below are from the Toxics Release Inventory from 2016 and 2017.

Anheuser-Busch had 11,780 pounds of ammonia released on-site from fugitive air emissions, which are emissions not released through a confined air stream.

That’s an increase from the previous year when the company only released a total of 8,399 pounds of ammonia through on-site treatment. The company’s total on-site releases were 16,885 pounds and there was 1,334 pounds transferred off-site to a publicly owned treatment works facility. There were also 837 pounds transferred to other off-site facilities.

Anheuser-Busch did not immediately respond for comment.

Ball Metal Beverage Container Corp had a total of 482,000 pounds of on-site release of certain glycol ethers and N-Butyl alcohol. There was only 530 pounds of chemicals transferred to off-site facilities.

Ball Metal did not immediately respond for comment.

Greystone of Virginia had 11,773 pounds of chromium compound transferred to off-site facilities and only 17 pounds transferred to a publicly owned treatment works facility.

Greystone did not immediately respond for comment.

York County

Camp Peary released zero emissions of copper. Eaton Corporation-Williamsburg Manufacturing released zero emissions of chromium and nickel, but had 44,220 pounds of other chemical emissions transferred to an off-site facility.

Neither organization immediately responded for comment.

Plains All American Pipeline had the most total air emissions of the chemical n-hexane at 7,800 pounds. In 2017, the company had a total of 38,304 pounds of on-site releases and 36 pounds of off-site transfers.

Plains All American Pipeline did not immediately respond to comment.

The U.S. Navy NWSY Defense Fuel Supply Point in Yorktown released 131 pounds of the chemical naphthalene through on-site releases, down from 161 pounds in the previous year. The facility had a total of 11,621 pounds of on-site management.

The Navy did not immediately respond for comment.

The Yorktown Power Station had 54,100 pounds of chemicals released through on-site releases, which is significantly decreased form 244,156 pounds in the previous year.

The reason for the decrease: the two coal-fired units at the station did not run as often as the previous year, which resulted in the reduction of emissions, said Jeremy Slayton, spokesman for Dominion Energy.

Those chemical releases are monitored by the government as a public resource so residents can know what is going into their land and water, according to the report.

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at

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