New PRTR-data 2013 in thru.de
Since 31.03.2015 data has been made available @thru.de. This concerns data of the reporting year 2013 and corrected data covering the period 2007 – 2012 of the PRTR (Pollutant Release and Transfer Register).
More than 5.000 facilities in Germany exceeding threshold values reported data on pollutants and waste transfer operations.
We have compiled following information: pollutants most often released, source of the release, amount of hazardous waste reported. This report is available as pdf document for download.
Growing number of facilities that are subject to reporting obligation
The number of facilities has grown from 4.452 to 5.166 in the period from 2007 to 2013 (see figure 1).
93% of facilities that provided data in 2013 were already reported in 2012. 377 facilities exited the register while 386 new facilities were added (see figure 2).
The main reason for the fluctuation was exceedance or falling below threshold values (PRTR Regulation).
The largest number of PRTR facilities were in North Rhine-Westphalia
As expected, the most populated federal state North Rhine-Westphalia and largest federal states Bavaria and Lower Saxony cover the majority of facilities while the city states Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg have the lowest number of facilities with reporting obligations (see figure 3).
Most facilities are subject to reporting due to waste transfer operations
Thru.de distinguishes releases to air, water and land, transfer of substances contained in waste water and transfer of hazardous and non-hazardous waste.
Figure 4: Most facilities (83%) in 2013 that reported data belong to the waste transfer sectors. More than 2/3 of all facilities transfer more than 2.0 tonnes of hazardous waste while 30% transfer more than 2.000 tonnes hazardous waste.
30% of facilities cause air pollution. The number of these facilities remained relative constant.
The number of facilities that release pollutants into waste water treatment plants (e.g. urban waste water treatment plants) was slightly larger than those with direct releases into water bodies. About 10% of both of these facilities are subject to reporting obligations.
The share of facilities that released substances into land remained very low (0.05%) for years.
Many facilities reported both release of substances and transfer of waste. Therefore, summing up of percentage may exceed 100%.
Intensive animal farming and rearing caused high air pollution
About 1.505 PRTR facilities reported air pollution in 2013. More than 600 of these undertake intensive animal farming. Most reported were Ammonia emissions (NH3). About 50% of facilities for rearing of pigs (at least2.000 pigs with more than 30 kg) exceeded the threshold value (10 tonnes ammonia per year). These facilities released about 6.000 tonnes - the largest amount of ammonia in 2013 (see figure 5).
Waste transfer sites (capacity >10 tonnes per day, total storage >25.000 tonnes) were the main sector of facilities that reported data within the sector “Waste and wastewater management”.
The energy sector came third with its thermal power stations and other combustion installations (>50MW) that cover 85% of all PRTR facilities’ reports.
Urban waste water treatment plants release most substances into water bodies
About 413 PRTR facilities reported releases of substances into water bodies. 53% of these belong to the sector „Waste and wastewater management”. Within this sector, about 205 facilities have a capacity larger than 100.000 PE (population equivalent) thus were the main share of PRTR facilities reported data (see figure 6).
The sector “Chemical industry” (48 facilities) and “Paper and wood production and processing” (33 facilities) scored second and third respectively of PRTR facilities reported data.
Note: Release to water bodies only included direct releases.
Chemical industry and Food industry caused the main releases to water bodies
About 418 PRTR facilities reported the release of substances into extern waste water treatment plants in 2013.
Chemical industry (147 facilities) and Food industry (135 facilities) caused the main releases to water bodies (see figure 7).
Within the sector “Food industry” about 59 facilities for treatment and processing of milk >200t/d make the largest share of PRTR reports.
Facilities for the production of basic organic chemical (mainly for basic plastics materials) make the largest share of reports from the chemical industry.
Direct discharge means discharge of pollutants contained in waste water outside the facility. This rule overwrites the direct discharge regulation as the offsite transfer of waste water may also be done through mobile means (tank-trucks, container).
The TOP 10 pollutants and their causer
The 10 pollutants that cause the main releases into the environment (air, water, land, waste water) are our “TOP10 pollutants”. Figure 8 shows the main originating sectors that had large releases in 2013.
The main originator for Carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) was the energy sector, here the Thermal power stations and other combustion plants >50MW.
Chlorides (total amount of releases to air, water, land and waste water) were released from the mineral industry and the chemical industry in similar quantities. The release into land had the largest share with relevant amounts inserted into the ground (injection). Chlorides also stemmed from Waste and wastewater management facilities headed by urban WWTPs.
The Metal industry was the main polluter of Carbon monoxide (CO) emissions. Nitrous oxide (N2O) and Sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions stemmed mainly from the energy sector. The mineral industry, especially coal mining, was the main polluter of Methane (CH4) emissions followed by disposal sites.
Total organic carbon (TOC) was mainly released from the chemical industry, followed by food industry and Waste and wastewater management (WWTPs). TOC covers the release into water plus amounts transferred with waste water. WWTPs released the largest amounts of Total nitrogen.
The sector “Other industries” released the largest amounts of Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC). This included facilities which use solvents for surface treatment (e.g. paint application facilities). Intensive farming was the main polluter of Ammonia emissions (NH3).
Ammonia emissions from intensive farming – the most reported pollutant
PRTR in 2013 contained 2.795 reports covering 36 air pollutants originated from about 1.505 facilities. (see figure 9).
Ammonia emissions were reported by about 669 facilities of which about 606 reports stemmed from intensive farming.
427 reports covered emissions of nitrogen (NOx) and 406 reports carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Reports for both pollutants came from the energy sector.
Releases into water mainly stemmed from urban WWTPs
PRTR in 2013 contained 1.758 reports covering 31 water pollutants originated from about 385 facilities in this compartment. (see figure 10).
TOC was the most reported pollutant followed by heavy metal reports for Zinc (237) and Nickel (210). Reports for all three parameters mostly stemmed from urban WWTPs: TOC with 167, Zinc with 162 and Nickel with 149.
Releases into waste water mainly stemmed from food and chemical industry
PRTR in 2013 contained 288 reports covering 26 water pollutants originated from about 418 facilities in this compartment (see figure 11).
TOC was mostly reported (327 reports) equally shared by food and chemical industry.
With a noticeable interspace the pollutants Total phosphorus (93 reports) and Total nitrogen (66 reports) are following on position two respectively position three.
Off-site transfers of waste slightly increased
About 4.315 facilities reported the transfer of waste in the year 2013 - an increase by 1,25% compared to 2012. Operators of facilities have to report the transfer of hazardous and non- hazardous waste if the amount exceeded either,
• 2 tonnes of hazardous waste or
• 2.000 tonnes of non- hazardous waste
The operator must also inform about the waste intended to be recovered or disposed.
In the year 2013, 1.931 facilities reported waste transfer of about 93,2 Mio. tonnes of non- hazardous waste and 3.840 facilities reported transfer of 12,2 Mio. tonnes hazardous waste.
More information can be found at:
More than 93 million tonnes of non-hazardous waste transferred
About 1.931 facilities reported the transfer of 93,2 Mio. tonnes non-hazardous waste in 2013.
Most of the reported came from 1.058 facilities belonging to the sector “Waste and wastewater management” (total amount 43,1 Mio. tonnes). Within this sector “Facilities for recovery or disposal of hazardous waste having the capacity of >10 tonnes per day” 505 facilities had the biggest share. These transferred about 23,8 Mio. tonnes, of which 22,4 Mio. tonnes were for recovery and 1,4 Mio. tonnes for disposal (see figure 12).
Most of hazardous waste remained inland
About 3.840 facilities reported the transfer of total 12,2 Mio. tonnes of hazardous waste in 2013 of which 3.799 facilities (=98%) covered the transfer of about 12 Mio. tonnes in Germany. About 147 facilities covered the transfer of hazardous waste abroad (see figure 13).
The operator must inform about the final destination of waste (name and address) transported cross-border. Most of hazardous waste was transported to Belgium, The Netherlands and France.
Most of the facilities belong to sector “Waste and wastewater management”, metal industry came second. This was valid for the transfer of waste inland and abroad.
Germany had the second most PRTR facilities in the EU
The big industrial nations United Kingdom (UK), Germany, France, Spain and Italy reported the most facilities in 2013. The UK scored first with the only nation exceeded 6.000. Germany came second with about 5.000 PRTR facilities. France, Spain and Italy reported between 3.000 and 4.000 facilities (see figure 14).
There were a number of interesting questions received from the public, from scientists, policy makers and the industry, NGOs and others. Answers to these questions are for download at:
If you are interested in complex, cross-sectional analyses, please search the SQLite database. You will also find short instructions for use of this database at: