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My Watershed


Glossary

Bioaccumulative
To build up in the body tissue of living things through contaminated food sources.  As the toxins move up the food chain, they increase in concentration.

Carcinogens
Chemicals that possibly, probably, or definitely cause cancer in humans.

Environmental Justice
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Exit Ecology) defines environmental justice as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this Nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

Fugitive Releases
Fugitive releases, or 'non-point' source emissions, include evaporative losses, leaks, and other releases from building ventilation systems.

Listed TRI Chemical
The current TRI toxic chemical list contains 581 individually listed chemicals and 30 chemical categories.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) modifies this list periodically. To view the current list of TRI toxic chemicals please visit EPA's website (Exit Ecology).

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) or (SDSs)
Detailed information sheets that provide data on physical and health hazards of chemicals to workers along with associated protective measures.  Over 700,000 products have MSDSs, which should be easily accessible to employees in their work environment. With the implementation of the Global Harmonized System, many MSDSs are starting to be phased out and replaced by SDS. More information is available at the Department of Labor and Industries' website.

Mine Tailings
The material remaining after target minerals have been separated during the mining process.  Tailings may contain trace quantities of metals found in the host ore, and they may contain amounts of added compounds used in the extraction process.

Non-point Source Emissions
See Fugitive Releases

Persistent
Remains in the environment for long periods of time and are not readily destroyed. 

Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT)
PBTs are persistent, bioaccumulative, and highly toxic pollutants.  These long-lasting substances can build up in the food chain to levels that are harmful to human and ecosystem health.  They are associated with a range of adverse health effects, including nervous system damage, reproductive and developmental problems, cancer, and genetic impacts, such as birth defects.

Process Outfalls
The discharge point of a waste stream into a body of water.  Examples include pipes and open trenches.

Reporting Universe
When EPCRA was first enacted, the TRI Program focused on the releases and other waste management activities of the manufacturing sector - facilities in SIC codes 20-39.  To provide the public with a more complete picture of the toxics in their community, EPA undertook a detailed examination of non-manufacturing industries to determine which may be significant generators of toxic chemical releases and other wastes.  This effort focused particular attention on sectors linked to manufacturing - those providing energy, further managing products, or further managing waste from the manufacturing sector.

On May 1, 1997, EPA (Exit Ecology) added seven industry sectors to TRI:  metal mining, coal mining, electrical utilities that combust coal and/or oil, hazardous waste treatment and disposal facilities, chemical wholesale distributors, petroleum bulk stations and terminals, and solvent recovery services.

Stack Releases
Stack, or 'point source' emissions, comes from known points such as smokestacks, confined vents, ducts, pipes, or other confined air streams.  Stack releases also include air releases from air pollution control equipment and storage tank emissions.

Surface Impoundments
Natural topographic depressions, man-made excavations, or diked areas designed to hold an accumulation of liquid wastes or wastes containing free liquids. Surface impoundments include holding, settling, storage and elevation pits, ponds, and lagoons.

Underground Injection
The subsurface emplacement of fluids through wells.  TRI chemicals associated with manufacturing, the petroleum industry, mining, commercial and service industries, and federal and municipal government related activities may be injected into Class I, II, III, IV, or V wells, if they do not endanger underground sources of drinking water, public health or the environment.  This type of land release is not allowed in Washington State.