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Toxic emissions up 10 percent; Chesterfield, Hopewell ranked among worst

Posted at 10:14 PM, Mar 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-28 23:39:30-04

CHESTER, Va. -- A new report out by the Virginia Department of Enviroment quality shows a ten percent increase in toxic emissions.

The Full Report is available here: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Portals/0/DEQ/Air/SARATitle3/2013_TRI_Report.pdf

Among the findings, Hopewell ranks as the second worst locality in the state for toxic emissions while Chesterfield County ranks third.

Hopewell's statistics are in large part based on the fact that the Honeywell Company is located there.

According to the report, the Honeywell plant is the second worst polutter of toxins in the state.

Honeywell sent CBS 6 this statement Saturday:

"Honeywell strives for excellence in health, safety and the environment at all its facilities. The Hopewell facility operates under state and federal regulations and permits  designed to protect human health and the environment and the plant has active programs to reduce its environmental impact. In the past five years, Honeywell has invested more than $170 million in its Hopewell plant, including projects that directly support health, safety and the environment. This includes a $66 million environmental control project that will improve emissions systems. This project, which will continue through 2018, will reduce NOx emissions from the site by roughly 80 percent annually."

Editor's note: NOx is a generic term for the mono-nitrogen oxides NO and NO2 (nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide).

In Chesterfield County, Dominion Virginia Power's Chesterfield plant in Chester ranks fourth worst in Virginia.

Power Plant

"I have kids and grand-kids who live around here -- it is scary," said Donna Clark, who lives near the power plant.

But Clark also said that the plant is a source of many jobs in the area.

"A lot of incomes...lots of people who live around here work here," Clark said.

Dominion sent CBS 6 this statement Saturday:

"This is an annual report. We are required to file the information with the Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency. It is done so the public can be aware of the types of materials that are emitted at our power stations. The information is reported by us and it’s also available on our website. We support this program (Toxic Release Inventory) because the public has a right to know what we are emitting. The public also needs to be aware that over the course of a year, none the of these chemicals are emitted at levels determined to be harmful to human health. Those regulations have been established to protect human health and we are in compliance with those regulations. During the past decade Dominion has spent more than $1-billion in environmental controls to reduce our emissions."

Glen Besa with the Sierra Club told CBS 6, "I think one of the big concerns we have is the overall ten percent increase in toxic emissions."

"In the short term this could result in respiratory irritation so you might have trouble breathing," Besa added.

Besa says his organization is planning on issueing their own report soon highlighting toxic issues.