Toxics Release Inventory National Analysis

cover page for TRI National Analysis publication

Project Brief

The Challenge

The TRI National Analysis, published annually, serves as the principal outreach publication for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory Program. Containing TRI data reported by more than 20,000 facilities on over 500 chemicals, the TRI National Analysis interprets the TRI data on toxic chemical releases, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities, to provide users with a clearer understanding of the story behind the most recent TRI data. To be effective, the TRI National Analysis needs to compile and present the information in a format that is clear and engaging to a wide audience, including the public, industry, media, and researchers. ERG has been providing support to EPA for this publication since 2017.

ERG's Solution

Annually, ERG develops a web-based TRI National Analysis that presents the most recent year of data and trends over time. The presentation uses a layered approach that displays the overall trend for each topic (e.g., toxic chemical releases, quantities recycled, quantities treated) and then allows users to drill down for more detail (e.g., releases by chemical, industry, and medium). For each layer, we develop an interactive chart using HighCharts, followed by concise bullets interpreting the data shown in the chart. The interactivity allows users to further dig into specific information in the chart. In addition to more than 60 charts, ERG develops numerous other data visualizations to engage the audience, including a QlikSense data exploration application of the TRI release data that allows users to explore the data by filtering on the parameters of their choice, such as by chemical or sector; an interactive GIS-based map application where users can search for chemical releases in their area of interest; and an interactive Executive Summary Storymap.