Newsroom: Press Release Archive: December 2003
  • Dec. 16, 2003: South Phoenix Community Action Council Selects Target Area for Toxic Reduction Plan
  • Dec. 16, 2003: ADEQ Seeking Recycling Proposals
  • Dec. 15, 2003: ADEQ Launches Visibility Index Web Site
  • Dec. 15, 2003: ADEQ Cites Johnson International for Storm Water Discharges at La Osa Ranch Development
  • Dec. 9, 2003: ADEQ to Update Status of Pinto Creek Study
  • Dec. 3, 2003: ADEQ Program Reduces Compliance Costs for Small, Rural Water Systems
  • Dec. 2, 2003: ADEQ FY 2003 Annual Report Now Available Online

South Phoenix Community Action Council Selects Target Area for Toxic Reduction Plan

PHOENIX (Dec. 16, 2003) -- A community council advising the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality as part of a toxics reduction pilot project in South Phoenix has selected a heavily industrialized area between 25th Avenue and 24th Street, south from the main railroad lines to Broadway as the target area for the project.

The council, in partnership with ADEQ and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 9, will now begin developing a strategy to lower toxic emissions and reduce public exposure to toxic pollutants in the area.

"We are grateful to community council members for their work thus far on the project," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens. "Their continued participation and assistance are vital in our efforts to improve environmental conditions in the community."

The project was started in May to build upon ADEQ efforts in recent years to protect public health and the environment in South Phoenix. It is funded by a grant from the EPA's Region 9 in San Francisco.

In the coming months, the council will develop a plan to reduce exposure to toxic pollutants through a combination of pollution prevention, compliance assistance, public education and business outreach efforts.

The council will also be looking for early reduction projects that could result in immediate environmental improvements to those living in the project's target area.

The overall goal of the pilot project is to identify sources of toxic pollutants and develop strategies to reduce them, so that the success can be used in other communities.

The project seeks to leverage ADEQ's shared interests and existing partnerships with EPA Region 9, Maricopa County, the city of Phoenix, elected officials, civic leaders, the private sector and non-profits, community groups and local residents.

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ADEQ Seeking Recycling Proposals

PHOENIX (Dec. 16, 2003) -- As part of its continuing efforts to promote recycling throughout the state, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality will soon begin soliciting annual recycling proposals from private enterprises, political subdivisions, and non-profit organizations that serve Arizona communities.

Last year, ADEQ provided more than $1 million to fund recycling projects statewide in three categories � Waste Reduction Assistance (WRA), Waste Reduction Initiative Through Education (WRITE) and Recycling Research and Development (RR&D).

The WRA program funds projects that divert significant amounts of materials from the solid waste stream or are a part of a comprehensive program that contributes to increased recycling rates. These projects often include a small public awareness component.

The WRITE program funds education projects that increase public awareness of the need to reduce and properly dispose of solid waste and encourage participation in source reduction, reuse, and recycling opportunities. These projects should communicate the importance of conserving natural resources and the benefits of reducing, reusing, recycling, buying recycled products, composting, and/or properly disposing of solid waste.

The Recycling Research and Development program provides funding assistance to projects that develop tools and create knowledge that will help to divert significant amounts of materials from the solid waste stream in the future. These projects involve research, including feasibility studies, solid waste audits and/or technology development, such as new equipment or processes with an overall objective to increase the proper disposal of solid waste, source reduction, recycling, buying recycled content products, and/or composting.

Copies of the request for proposals (RFPs) in each of the categories should be available on or after Jan. 8, 2004.

Those interested in submitting a proposal should visit the ADEQ Contracts and Procurement Web page and request the RFP via email to the ADEQ solicitation coordinator.

RFP's may also be requested via facsimile at (602) 771-4439 or by sending a written request to ADEQ, Procurement Office - Solicitation Coordinator, 1110 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007. Requests must include the RFP number(s), the name of your organization, a point of contact, a mailing address, a telephone/fax number and, if possible, an email address.

ADEQ plans to hold three pre-proposal conferences in February to assist those interested in applying for funding. The meetings are scheduled for:

  • Monday, Feb. 2, 2004 at 10:30 a.m. at ADEQ's Southern Regional Office, 400 W. Congress St., Suite 444, Tucson, AZ; (520) 779-7660
  • Friday, Feb. 6, 2004 at 1 p.m. at ADEQ, Room 250, 1110 W. Washington St., Phoenix, Arizona; (602) 771-4133
  • Monday, Feb. 9, 2004 at 10:30 a.m., at the Arizona Fish & Game Office, 3500 S. Lake Mary Road, Flagstaff, AZ; (928) 774-5045

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ADEQ Launches Visibility Index Web Site


Cameras, Instruments Provide First 'Clear' Picture of Phoenix Air Quality

PHOENIX (Dec. 15, 2003) -- As part of his department's efforts to improve statewide air quality, Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced the availability of a new Visibility Index Web site that provides near real-time images and air quality data on visibility conditions from five different locations in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The site, www.phoenixvis.net , will serve as a public education tool designed to provide residents with accurate information about current visibility in and around Phoenix, as well as information about the factors that influence visibility such as air pollution and weather conditions.

The web site offers photographs and air quality data measured between Phoenix and South Mountain, the Estrella Mountains, the White Tank Mountains, Camelback Mountain and the Superstitions. The data and photos are refreshed every 15 minutes.

"The creation of this site is an important step in the continued efforts by ADEQ and the Napolitano administration to provide the public with timely information about air quality," Owens said. "It is important to note that air pollution affects not only aesthetic qualities of living in the Valley, but also public health."

Owens said visibility is a good indicator of pollution levels, particularly during the winter months when frequent temperature inversions trap fine particles, creating the "brown cloud" here in the Valley.

Emissions from a wide range of sources such as power generating stations, automobiles, trucks and other diesel-powered equipment contribute to the problem by scattering and absorbing light passing through the atmosphere.

Owens said the site should also end speculation about air quality conditions and trends.

"I think we have all heard someone say the air is bad today or that air quality in Phoenix is getting worse each year," Owens said. "This site and the data collected through air quality measuring devices will for the first time allow us to accurately assess air quality and visibility trends in metropolitan Phoenix."

Owens said ADEQ is working in many areas to improve air quality, including plans to reduce regional haze in many parts of Arizona and reducing ozone forming emissions in Maricopa and Pima counties.

"While we have made a lot of progress in addressing air quality concerns in recent years, continued rapid growth here in the desert Southwest requires us to improve our programs and strengthen our air pollution control efforts," Owens said.

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ADEQ Cites Johnson International for Storm Water Discharges at La Osa Ranch Development

PHOENIX (Dec. 15, 2003) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality today issued a notice of violation to George Johnson, president of Johnson International, Inc., developer of La Osa Ranch near Marana, directing the company to cease operations at the construction site until it resolves concerns about storm water discharge violations.

ADEQ cited Johnson with failing to notify officials before clearing the land and for discharging pollutants from its ground-clearing activities into Los Robles Wash and other unnamed tributaries of the Santa Cruz River.

The two violations each carry a maximum civil penalty of $25,000 per day, per violation. Officials confirmed the violations Dec. 5, but continue to gather information about when the ground-clearing activities began.

ADEQ cited the Johnson with similar violations at The Ranch at South Fork L.L.C. development in Apache County in 2002. Johnson has also been cited on numerous occasions in recent years for violations of state drinking water laws at other developments around the state.

In April 2003, ADEQ fined the company $80,000 for failing to receive approvals to build and operate a newly constructed water system to serve the Sun Valley Farms housing development near Queen Creek in Pinal County.

"Johnson International is a large, sophisticated company," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens. "We can only conclude from its actions in this case and others in recent years that the company either willfully disregards our state's environmental laws, or that it simply disregards them. In either case, this behavior is unacceptable."

Owens said ADEQ will continue to monitor the development site.

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ADEQ to Update Status of Pinto Creek Study

PHOENIX (Dec. 9, 2003) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality will hold a meeting in Miami Dec. 15 to update community members on the status of a water quality study on Pinto Creek.

As part of the update, ADEQ will present recent data on Pinto Creek and be soliciting feedback on several possible computer models which might be used for the final study addressing copper levels in the watershed.

Pinto Creek was listed as impaired in 1988 for exceeding surface water standards for copper, which can be detrimental to aquatic wildlife. In 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency completed the first phase of a two-phase study to identify possible causes of the contamination. ADEQ is currently developing the second phase.

The study, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load analysis, is a process that examines the physical and chemical characteristics of a stream to gain a better understanding of water quality and potential pollutant sources. This process will ultimately determine the maximum amount of copper the stream can withstand while still maintaining surface water quality, and developing a plan to keep copper levels in check.

The meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 15, 2003 at 7 p.m. at the BHP Copper, Pinto Valley Mine Training Facility.

For more information, contact Susan Craig of ADEQ at (602) 771-4509 or, toll free in Arizona, (800) 234-5677, Ext. 771-4509.

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ADEQ Program Reduces Compliance Costs for Small, Rural Water Systems

PHOENIX (Dec. 3, 2003)-- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has awarded a contract to MWH Laboratories of Monrovia, Calif., to assist Arizona's small and rural public water systems in meeting their compliance requirements under Safe Drinking Water Act.

Under terms of the one-year contract, valued at more than $590,000, MWH will collect and analyze water samples from drinking water systems to ensure they meet water quality standards. The service is paid for by the water companies to ADEQ, which monitors contract performance and water quality reports.

Increased competition for the contract this year resulted in a significant savings compared with 2003, savings that are passed along to the water systems that participate in the program.

ADEQ's Monitoring Assistance Program was started in 1999 to help small public water systems deal with the increasing sophistication and frequency of monitoring requirements. Since that time, the program has helped the 878 participating water systems comply with safe drinking water standards and identified systems that need improvement.

"The Monitoring Assistance Program has been very successful in reducing the costs of compliance for Arizona's small and rural water systems," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens. "By combining the purchasing power of these small systems, we are able to help them receive the same services at a 60 percent discount. Most important, this program ensures that residents statewide are being served safe drinking water."

Owens said sound management has enabled the department to keep the contract administration costs consistently under budget.

The program assessments typically include monitoring for volatile organic compounds such as trichloroethene (TCE), tetrachloroethene (PCE), or trichloromethane (chloroform) and a variety of other compounds.

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ADEQ FY 2003 Annual Report Now Available Online

PHOENIX (Dec. 2, 2003) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced the availability of the department's FY 2003 annual report on the ADEQ Web site.

The report provides an overview of the department's activities from July 2002 and June 2003. It also includes detailed program-related information on the state's Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund, pesticide use in the state, and a comprehensive air quality report.

"This has been a very positive year for ADEQ, and I am pleased with the many accomplishments that are highlighted in the report," Owens said. "Operating under the pressure of a statewide revenue shortfall, our staff has done a commendable job."

Owens said the report reflects ADEQ's efforts in recent years focus on the department's core functions while undertaking several new initiatives since January 2003 that will improve the delivery of services and position the department to better perform its mission.

Key among those efforts were:

  • A process improvement that eliminated the large backlog of claims that had accumulated in the State Assurance Fund, which covers the cost of removal and cleanup of leaking underground storage tanks.
  • The launch of the Children's Environmental Health Project, which will address environmental factors that affect the health of Arizona's children.
  • The completion of the Arsenic Master Plan, which will greatly assist the state's small water systems in economically lowering the content of arsenic in drinking water before the federal government's January 2006 compliance deadline.

The department's program divisions also enjoyed a number of noteworthy accomplishments during FY2003.

The Air Quality Division received the American Lung Association's Clean Air Award in recognition of the department's efforts to improve statewide air quality. The Waste Programs Division commenced groundwater remediation efforts at two new sites in Phoenix and Tucson. The Water Quality Division received one of three federal innovation grants awarded nationwide, which it used to develop an online system to make the application process for construction water discharge permits "user friendly." ADEQ's FY 2003 annual report reflects a significant reduction in the department's reporting requirements this year, as directed by the Arizona Legislature in HB2049.

Paper copies of the report also are available for review or purchase at the ADEQ Records Center, located at 1110 W. Washington Street in Phoenix.

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