EPA reports on 2011 European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register for large industrial facilities

Date released: Jun 05 2013

The EU Commission has published data submitted by the EPA for the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR). The European e-Register is available on their website.  Ireland’s national Pollutant Release and Transfer Register website has also been updated and provides easily accessible key environmental data from industrial facilities in Ireland. The map based website provides information to raise awareness among citizens about local air and water emissions, and waste transfers.


A total of 376 large scale industrial facilities in Ireland are covered by E-PRTR reporting requirements. These facilities come from various industrial sectors which include energy, chemical, minerals & cement, food & drink, intensive agriculture, waste and wastewater sites. The list of up to 91 PRTR substances which is reported by individual industrial facilities (point sources) is available on the PRTR websites.


Kieran O’ Brien, EPA Programme Manager, said:

“The data shows an overall downward trend in emissions by industry of key air pollutants. Some of this decline can be attributed to improvements in abatement measures, particularly in the energy sector, though reductions are mainly a result of reduced production rates during Ireland’s economic recession.


“Emissions of nutrients to water (i.e. total phosphorus and total nitrogen), predominantly from the large urban wastewater treatment plants, remain relatively unchanged over previous years. This emphasises the need for local authorities, and soon Irish Water, to implement the nutrient treatment improvements required by the EPA’s licenses for wastewater treatment plants.”


Key Highlights

  • Methane emissions from the Waste sector (landfills) have decreased by 13.5 % from 2010 to 2011 mainly due to a combination of factors; substantial reduction in the quantity of Municipal Solid Waste landfilled; landfill closures (Arthurstown and Corranure), existing landfills reaching peak methane production in 2009/2010 and increased gas recovery on-site.
  • In terms of methane emissions, 80% came from the Waste sector and 20% from intensive agriculture.
  • Emissions of Ammonia were predominately from the Intensive agriculture sector and were marginally higher (5%) in 2011 compared with 2010 levels. This increase is mainly due to the intensification of operations in existing licensed facilities and the commencement of new facilities in 2011.
  • The Energy sector contributed 64% of the overall Nitrogen Oxides emissions in 2011 with similar contributions for Sulphur Oxides.
  • In the Solvent sector, both the number of releases and release/emission quantities decreased for non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) in 2011. This is mainly due to facility closures.
  • Pesticide levels are predominately reported from the large urban wastewater treatment plants sector (e.g. Alachlor, Dieldrin). Emission estimations from this group of pollutants are significantly lower in 2011 compared with 2010. This is expected to be due to the use of a more absolute and validated e-reporting tool for 2011 data. This tool was also used for estimations of heavy metals. Findings indicate lead levels are 18% higher in 2011, while Cadmium, Chromium, Mercury and Nickel levels are 14%, 100%, 52%, 67% lower respectively, in 2011 when compared to 2010.
  • Hazardous waste transferred off-site from E-PRTR facilities originated primarily from the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors with Germany, Belgium and UK remaining the principal destinations for E-PRTR facilities for disposal or recovery of hazardous waste.



Notes to Editor:

When reading the E-PRTR data, it is important to recognise that the data is an aggregate, mass emission report. The data does not present an assessment of environmental efficiency at any particular facility, nor does it assess whether the emissions of a given facility are consistent with its legal requirements.


For comparative purposes Ireland’s E-PRTR emissions since 2007 were as follows (Figures 1-4 below):

PRTR emissions to air 2007-2011
Figure 1: E-PRTR emissions to air, key parameters 2007-2011

Note: Zero emissions reported in 2010 and 2011 for Non-Methane Volatile Organic Carbons (NMVOC)

Total Phosphorous and Total Nitrogen
Figure 2: E-PRTR Total Phosphorus and Total Nitrogen emissions to water 2007-2011


 Key Pesticides Emissions

Figure 3: E-PRTR Key Pesticides emissions to water 2007-2011
Note: Zero emissions reported in 2011 for Alachlor, Dieldrin and Isodrin.


 Heavy Metal Emissions

Figure 4: E-PRTR heavy metal emissions to water 2007-2011
Note: Zero emissions reported in 2011 for Chromium


E-PRTR Regulation
The European Communities (European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register) Regulation 2007, S.I. No. 123 of 2007) signed into Irish Law on 22 March 2007 the E-PRTR Regulation, (EC) No 166/2006, concerning the establishment of a European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register. The E-PRTR Regulation has a number of principal objectives, as set out in Article 1 of the Regulation:


Article 1
Subject matter
This Regulation establishes an integrated pollutant release and transfer register at Community level in the form of a publicly accessible electronic database and lays down rules for its functioning, in order to implement the UNECE Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers and facilitate public participation in environmental decision-making, as well as contributing to the prevention and reduction of pollution of the environment.
Annex 1 of the E-PRTR Regulation (EC) No 166/2006 lists the activities which are subject to reporting under E-PRTR.
Annex 2 of the E-PRTR Regulation lists the 91 substances that are subject to reporting under E-PRTR, above specified release thresholds.