Here's a shameless request ...
The Environmental Protection Agency put out a report Thursday on the release of toxic chemicals in states and counties throughout the U.S., including Racine County.
The agency says toxic chemicals released into water or air dropped 5 percent nationally from 2006 to 2007. It also lists Racine County as average compared to other Wisconsin counties.
You can see reports on Racine County here and on Racine County businesses here.
So, here's the request. If there are any scientists out there, or people who like digging into these sorts of reports, take a look and let us know what this means for Racine County and Wisconsin. There's a lot of technical jargon and chemical names that really need an expert's view to be boiled down.
Here's some initial findings:
1. Racine County's total release of toxic chemicals was reported at 180,388 pounds. That's down 24 percent from 2006's total of 238,118 pounds, but up from 2005's total of 127,216 pounds and 2004's total of 110,813 pounds. You can see previous years using the form here.
2. Looking at "Total On and Off-site Disposal or Other Releases," the former Maple Leaf Farms in Raymond was the county's biggest polluter. The duck farm accounts for 77,821 pounds of toxic chemicals.
3. American Roller Co. in Union Grove was second with 29,300 pounds, followed by JohnsonDiversey at 24,044 pounds.
4. JohnsonDiversey reported 4,627 pounds of "point-source air emissions" and 8,937 pounds of "fugitive air emissions." It had the highest total of "fugitive air emissions" in the county, and was second in "point-source" emissions behind Fibertech Inc., of Franksville, which had 9,488 pounds of "point-source" emissions.
5. SC Johnson's Waxdale reported 14,413 pounds, including 500 pounds of "fugitive air emissions" and 2,101 pounds of "point-source air emissions."
If you have a minute, and are inclined to understanding these sorts of numbers, please take a look and report back. I'm interested in the context of the numbers - what's a lot of pollution? Or a little? Do any of the numbers jump out as unusual? Or is this a good sign that Racine County businesses are taking care of their toxic pollution?
You can send responses to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or post them in the comments.