Newsroom: Press Release Archive: July 2003
  • July 30, 2003: ADEQ Issues an Ozone Health Warning
  • July 29, 2003: ADEQ Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Underground Storage Tank Cleanup
  • July 23, 2003: ADEQ Extends the Ozone Health Warning Through Thursday
  • July 22, 2003: ADEQ Issues an Ozone Health Warning
  • July 21, 2003: ADEQ Director, WIFA Chairman Steve Owens Awards Arizona City ‘Best Public Support Project of the Year’
  • July 17, 2003: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Eases Solid Waste Rules to Help Communities Recovering from Aspen Fire
  • July 15, 2003: ADEQ Issues an Ozone Health Warning
  • July 15, 2003: Governor Napolitano Recommends Non-Attainment Area in Maricopa County to Comply with New Federal 8-Hour Ozone Standard
  • July 15, 2003: ADEQ Denies Permit for Big Sandy Power Plant
  • July 11, 2003: ADEQ Issues Weekend Ozone Health Warning
  • July 09, 2003: ADEQ Director Owens, Attorney General Goddard Settle Three Lawsuits for Hazardous Waste
  • July 03, 2003: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Issues Safe Drinking Water Brochure to Aid Homeowners Recover Private Wells Affected by the Aspen Fire
  • July 01, 2003: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces a Fish Consumption Advisory for Soldier, Soldier Annex and Long Lakes

ADEQ Issues an Ozone Health Warning

PHOENIX (July 30, 2003) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued an ozone health warning for Thursday, July 31.

Ground-level ozone pollution is expected to reach unhealthful levels tomorrow. Children and adults with respiratory problems should avoid outdoor activities, and everyone, regardless of their respiratory condition, should limit time spent outdoors.

Employers participating in the Valley's Trip Reduction Program should implement their actions plans. All Valley motorists are asked to limit driving as much as possible while the ozone health warning is in effect.

Residents of Maricopa County are requested to take the following steps to reduce ozone-producing emissions:

  • Car pool, use mass transit, walk, bicycle, telecommute, and/or reduce driving.
  • Fill gasoline tanks after dark, during the cooler evening hours.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn or gardening equipment.

The warning is based on already high concentrations of ozone in the Valley and regional weather forecasts which indicate a combination of high daytime temperatures, little to no cloud cover and generally light winds. These conditions are likely to produce increased concentrations of ground-level ozone pollution in Maricopa County.

Ground-level ozone pollution, or smog, is caused by the interaction of sunlight with the many pollutants generated by automobiles, gas-powered lawn equipment and other sources.

Residents who want more information about alternative forms of transportation, rideshare programs or who wish to receive electronic notification of Ozone Health Watches or Ozone Health Warnings when issued should call Valley Metro at (602) 262-Ride (7433) or visit www.valleymetro.org .

Valley Metro also has an online rideshare matching system, www.sharetheride.com , to ease the process of finding a carpool, vanpool or bike-riding partner. The Web site allows users to find potential commute partners who travel to and from the same general area and who share similar work schedules.

ADEQ Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Underground Storage Tank Cleanup

PHOENIX (July 29, 2003) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is seeking comments from the public concerning a planned clean up of soil and groundwater contaminated with petroleum from a leak which occurred from an underground storage tank at a Circle K Store in Springerville.

The proposed Corrective Action Plan for remediation of the site located at 815 E. Main St., will use a dual-phase extraction system to remove existing soil and groundwater contamination at the site. The system uses pumps to remove various combinations of groundwater, petroleum product and vapors.

The system at the Circle K site in Springerville will use a vacuum process to extract both vapors and groundwater from the underground contaminated area. The groundwater is then separated from the vapors and treated using above ground treatment methods. After treatment, the clean water will be discharged to the west side of the property and then flow into Nutrioso Creek.

ADEQ encourages public participation and welcomes comments on the proposed corrective action plan for this site.

Comments should be submitted in writing by Sept. 8, 2003 to ADEQ/UST/Corrective Action Section, Attn: Pete Townsend, 1110 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007. If sufficient public interest has been demonstrated within 30 days of this notice, ADEQ will announce and hold a public meeting. ADEQ will respond to comments in writing, following the public comment period.

ADEQ Extends the Ozone Health Warning Through Thursday

PHOENIX (July 23, 2003) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has extended the ozone health warning through Thursday, July 24.

Ground-level ozone pollution is expected to reach unhealthful levels tomorrow. Children and adults with respiratory problems should avoid outdoor activities, and everyone, regardless of their respiratory condition, should limit time spent outdoors.

Employers participating in the Valley's Trip Reduction Program should implement their actions plans. All Valley motorists are asked to limit driving as much as possible while the ozone health warning is in effect.

Residents of Maricopa County are requested to take the following steps to reduce ozone-producing emissions:

  • Car pool, use mass transit, walk, bicycle, telecommute, and/or reduce driving.
  • Fill gasoline tanks after dark, during the cooler evening hours.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn or gardening equipment.

The warning is based on already high concentrations of ozone in the Valley and regional weather forecasts which indicate a combination of near record high daytime temperatures, little to no cloud cover and generally light winds. These conditions are likely to produce increased concentrations of ground-level ozone pollution in Maricopa County.

Ground-level ozone pollution, or smog, is caused by the interaction of sunlight with the many pollutants generated by automobiles, gas-powered lawn equipment and other sources.

Residents who want more information about alternative forms of transportation, rideshare programs or who wish to receive electronic notification of Ozone Health Watches or Ozone Health Warnings when issued should call Valley Metro at (602) 262-Ride (7433) or visit www.ValleyMetro.org .

Valley Metro also has an online rideshare matching system, www.sharetheride.com , to ease the process of finding a carpool, vanpool or bike-riding partner. The Web site allows users to find potential commute partners who travel to and from the same general area and who share similar work schedules.

ADEQ Issues an Ozone Health Warning

PHOENIX (July 22, 2003) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued an ozone health warning for Wednesday, July 23.

Ground-level ozone pollution is expected to reach unhealthful levels tomorrow. Children and adults with respiratory problems should avoid outdoor activities, and everyone, regardless of their respiratory condition, should limit time spent outdoors.

Employers participating in the Valley's Trip Reduction Program should implement their actions plans. All Valley motorists are asked to limit driving as much as possible while the ozone health warning is in effect.

Residents of Maricopa County are requested to take the following steps to reduce ozone-producing emissions:

  • Car pool, use mass transit, walk, bicycle, telecommute, and/or reduce driving.
  • Fill gasoline tanks after dark, during the cooler evening hours.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn or gardening equipment.

The warning is based on already high concentrations of ozone in the Valley and regional weather forecasts which indicate a combination of near record high daytime temperatures, little to no cloud cover and generally light winds. These conditions are likely to produce increased concentrations of ground-level ozone pollution in Maricopa County.

Ground-level ozone pollution, or smog, is caused by the interaction of sunlight with the many pollutants generated by automobiles, gas-powered lawn equipment and other sources.

Residents who want more information about alternative forms of transportation, rideshare programs or who wish to receive electronic notification of Ozone Health Watches or Ozone Health Warnings when issued should call Valley Metro at (602) 262-Ride (7433) or visit www.ValleyMetro.org .

Valley Metro also has an online rideshare matching system, www.sharetheride.com , to ease the process of finding a carpool, vanpool or bike-riding partner. The Web site allows users to find potential commute partners who travel to and from the same general area and who share similar work schedules.

ADEQ Director, WIFA Chairman Steve Owens Awards Arizona City ‘Best Public Support Project of the Year’

PHOENIX (July 21, 2003) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director and Chairman of the Water Infrastructure and Finance Authority of Arizona Steve Owens today presented the Arizona City Sanitary District with WIFA's "Best Public Support Project of the Year" award for its work in generating community support for $9 million sewer system modernization.

"Approval of the project would not have occurred without the commitment of the District board and its staff to educate citizens about the need and benefits for better wastewater facilities," Owens said. "This project is one of the best investments you can make in your future. Completion of the project will help keep Arizona City a vibrant, growing community."

Owens said Arizona City is representative of many communities throughout Arizona and in Pinal County that are experiencing very rapid growth. He warned that without proper planning, growth can quickly overwhelm communities and leave basic infrastructure, like wastewater treatment facilities, lagging far behind.

Owens cited the Arizona City Sanitary District as a successful example of a proactive community meeting the needs of its current citizens and planning for future growth.

"This project shows what a community can do when it looks to the future, rolls up its sleeves and decides to get the job done," Owens said. "The project is beyond 80 percent complete and is ahead of schedule."

ADEQ Director Steve Owens Eases Solid Waste Rules to Help Communities Recovering from Aspen Fire

PHOENIX (July 17, 2003) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today granted a one-year exemption to the state's solid waste disposal laws that will allow residents in Pima County to bury trees and woody vegetation burned or damaged by the Aspen Fire without obtaining permits or other approvals from the department.

Under normal circumstances, trees not reused productively would be categorized as solid waste, requiring residents to haul them to a landfill and pay "tipping" fees for disposal.

"Governor Napolitano and I are committed to assisting Pima County in its recovery efforts relating to the fire," said Owens. After making the determination that burying trees burned or damaged by the fire posed no threat to public health or the environment, ADEQ Director Owens granted the exemption.

While many agencies are dedicated to recovery efforts on public land, the responsibility for dealing with the fire's impacts on private property remains largely the responsibility of landowners with the help of Pima County. For that reason, Owens has focused the department's efforts on helping local communities.

ADEQ Issues an Ozone Health Warning

PHOENIX (July 15, 2003) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued an ozone health warning for Wednesday, July 16.

Ground-level ozone pollution is expected to reach unhealthful levels tomorrow. Children and adults with respiratory problems should avoid outdoor activities, and everyone, regardless of their respiratory condition, should limit time spent outdoors.

Employers participating in the Valley's Trip Reduction Program should implement their actions plans. All Valley motorists are asked to limit driving as much as possible while the ozone health warning is in effect.

Residents of Maricopa County are requested to take the following steps to reduce ozone-producing emissions: Car pool, use mass transit, walk, bicycle, telecommute, and/or reduce driving. Fill gasoline tanks after dark, during the cooler evening hours. Avoid using gas-powered lawn or gardening equipment.

The warning is based on already high concentrations of ozone in the Valley and regional weather forecasts that indicate a combination of near record high daytime temperatures, little or no cloud cover and east to southeasterly winds that not only impede dispersion, but also re-circulate locally produced ozone. These conditions are likely to produce increased concentrations of ground-level ozone pollution in Maricopa County.

Ground-level ozone pollution, or smog, is caused by the interaction of sunlight with the many pollutants generated by automobiles, gas-powered lawn equipment and other sources.

Residents who want more information about alternative forms of transportation, rideshare programs or who wish to receive electronic notification of Ozone Health Watches or Ozone Health Warnings when issued should call Valley Metro at (602) 262-Ride (7433) or visit www.ValleyMetro.org .

Valley Metro also has an online rideshare matching system, www.sharetheride.com , to ease the process of finding a carpool, vanpool or bike-riding partner. The Web site allows users to find potential commute partners who travel to and from the same general area and who share similar work schedules.

Governor Napolitano Recommends Non-Attainment Area in Maricopa County to Comply with New Federal 8-Hour Ozone Standard

PHOENIX (July 15, 2003) -- Governor Janet Napolitano today recommended that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designate a portion of Maricopa County as the non-attainment area for the federal government's new health-based 8-hour standard for ozone pollution.

The Governor's recommendation does not include any portion of any other county in Arizona. The Governor's recommendation also does not include any tribal lands in Arizona, which are regulated separately by the federal EPA.

The Governor was required by federal law to make a recommendation on the non-attainment area boundary to EPA by today. EPA has until April 15, 2004, to designate non-attainment areas nationwide that will be subject to air pollution controls to reduce average ozone concentrations.

"Since the mid-1990s we have made significant progress in improving air quality in the Phoenix metropolitan area," Napolitano said. "We must maintain that progress in the face of rapid growth while sustaining a strong economy in Arizona. The health of Arizona families and our quality of life depends on our continued success."

The Governor's recommendation is based on current air quality trend data and projections about future growth in and around the Phoenix metropolitan area. The designated area includes Phoenix, western Maricopa County where rapid growth is expected in the next 10 years, and all of eastern Maricopa County where high ozone levels have been recorded.

"The affected area reflects a reasonable, common sense approach to controlling existing and future sources of ozone pollution," Napolitano said.

Most area residents will note little change in their daily lives, since most are already required to have their vehicles inspected for pollution control purposes. Major industrial sources of pollution, such as large power plants, and other businesses that contribute to ozone pollution may face more rigorous pollution control standards.

"Governor Napolitano has put a priority on protecting public health," said Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens. "High levels of ozone pollution threaten the health of many of our citizens, especially children, seniors and people with respiratory problems like asthma. The Governor's recommendation will help keep ozone levels down."

Ground-level ozone pollution, the main component of smog, is an odorless, colorless gas formed by a combination of sunlight with emissions from automobiles, gas-powered lawn equipment, and other sources. The effects of this interaction are magnified during the hot, sunny summer months in Arizona.

Health studies indicate that exposure to ozone pollution negatively affects lung function and aggravates asthma. Prolonged exposure to ozone pollution can cause permanent damage to the respiratory system in some people.

Children and adults who are outdoors and active during the summer months are considered those most at risk. These individuals, as well as those with asthma or respiratory illnesses, can experience chest pain and coughing when exposed to relatively low ozone levels during periods of moderate exertion.

ADEQ Denies Permit for Big Sandy Power Plant

PHOENIX (July 15, 2003) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced the department has denied an air quality permit for the proposed Big Sandy power plant near Wikieup. The decision came after the project sponsor, Caithness Big Sandy, LLC, missed a June 18 deadline for submitting a revised permit application to ADEQ.

According to Owens, Caithness was required to submit a revised permit application for the natural gas-fired electricity power plant because Caithness' original application did not accurately represent the final configuration of the facility.

The original application submitted by Caithness in June 2001 was a design for a 720-megawatt facility. Caithness later indicated that it planned to make changes to the facility's size and agreed to submit a new application for the revised configuration before June 18, 2003. Director Owens indicated that along with covering the revised design for the facility, the new application would also have had to address a lower emission limit for NOx (oxides of nitrogen) in light of improved technology for controlling this pollutant.

"Technologies used to control air pollution change rapidly, and we expect industry to use the best technologies currently available so that citizens are assured they are breathing the cleanest air possible," Owens said.

Caithness' failure to submit a revised permit application by June 18 was not the first time Caithness did not satisfy regulatory requirements. The Arizona Corporation Commission also denied the facility a certificate of environmental compatibility and a permit to construct the power plant in 2001.

Caithness may appeal ADEQ's decision through the Office of Administrative Hearings by July 31, 2003.

ADEQ Issues Weekend Ozone Health Warning

PHOENIX (July 11, 2003) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued an ozone health warning for Saturday and Sunday, July 12-13.

Ground-level ozone pollution is expected to reach unhealthful levels this weekend. Children and adults with respiratory problems should avoid outdoor activities, and everyone, regardless of their respiratory condition, should limit time spent outdoors.

Residents of Maricopa County are requested to take the following steps to reduce ozone-producing emissions:

  • Reduce driving by consolidating errands.
  • Car pool, use mass transit, walk and/or bicycle.
  • Avoid drive-throughs and limit vehicle idling.
  • Fill gasoline tanks after dark, during the cooler evening hours.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn or gardening equipment.

The warning is based on already high concentrations of ozone in the Valley and regional weather forecasts, which indicate a combination of near record high daytime temperatures, little to no cloud, cover and generally light winds. These conditions are likely to produce increased concentrations of ground-level ozone pollution in Maricopa County.

Ground-level ozone pollution, or smog, is caused by the interaction of sunlight with the many pollutants generated by automobiles, gas-powered lawn equipment and other sources.

Residents who want more information about alternative forms of transportation, rideshare programs or who wish to receive electronic notification of Ozone Health Watches or Ozone Health Warnings when issued should call Valley Metro at (602) 262-Ride (7433) or visit www.ValleyMetro.org .


ADEQ Director Owens, Attorney General Goddard Settle Three Lawsuits for Hazardous Waste
State in litigation on fourth lawsuit for $3,625,000

PHOENIX (July 9, 2003) -- Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that he has settled three lawsuits on behalf of Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens for fines totaling $37,000 against three companies for used oil and hazardous waste violations, and is seeking $3.6 million in fines against a fourth company.

Referring to the three settled cases, Owens said, "Used oil handlers are required to ensure that materials they accept are not hazardous waste, and these companies failed to comply with the regulations. These cases make clear that there are consequences for those who disregard the law."

The three companies, Sunbelt Tank Service, Thermo Fluids, Inc., and Mesa Oil, entered into consent judgments totaling $37,000 for their separate violations, which stem from each company's failure to properly categorize, store and transport contaminated used oil.

"The settlements against these three companies serve two purposes," said Goddard. "First, they give notice to all in the industry that Arizona will not tolerate actions that endanger our environment. Secondly, they help us develop better communication with those companies who have erred but are now anxious to cooperate with us to ensure that the proper procedures are followed from here on."

Oil contaminated with high levels of metals and solvents is considered hazardous waste due to its harmful effects on public health and the environment. By receiving, storing, transporting and disposing of hazardous waste without a permit, the companies violated a number of state and federal laws.

In addition to the three resolved cases, a lawsuit against Dome Rock Industries is pending in Maricopa County Superior Court after months of unsuccessful negotiations to reach a consent agreement with the company for violations of laws governing hazardous waste handling. The Attorney General's Office is seeking the maximum statutory penalty of $3,625,000 against the company.

The lawsuit against Dome Rock resulted from a May 11, 2002, inspection of its facility located at 3125 W. Dome Rock Rd., near Quartzsite. According to the lawsuit, Dome Rock accepted hazardous waste (used oil containing solvents and lead), stored it without a permit and then shipped it to other facilities without proper manifests. At that time ADEQ also began looking at other companies that were transporting and receiving used oil in Arizona.

The consent judgment with Sunbelt Tank Service, located at 4932 S. Penny Pl., Apache Junction, is the result of the company's acceptance of hazardous waste (wastewater and used oil contaminated with lead) from Dome Rock without a hazardous waste treatment, storage or disposal permit. Sunbelt Tank Services will pay $7,000 over six months to settle its fines.

The consent judgment with Thermo Fluids, Inc., located at 4301 W. Jefferson, Phoenix, is the result of the company's acceptance of hazardous waste (used oil mixed with solvents) from Dome Rock without a hazardous waste treatment, storage or disposal permit. Thermo Fluids paid $22,500 to settle its fines.

Mesa Oil's violation occurred when it failed to properly test used oil for solvents before it accepted it for transport. Mesa Oil did not have a facility in Arizona at the time of the violation, but now has a used oil processing facility located at 209 S. 57th Ave. in Phoenix. Mesa Oil paid a $7,500 penalty and will spend $1,000 to produce a brochure to educate Arizona businesses on proper waste management practices.

Mitchell Klein was the lead attorney with the Attorney General's Office on these settlements.

ADEQ Director Steve Owens Issues Safe Drinking Water Brochure to Aid Homeowners Recover Private Wells Affected by the Aspen Fire

PHOENIX (July 3, 2003) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ has issued a brochure to help residents affected by the Aspen fire recover their private domestic wells and ensure their well water is safe to drink.

"One of the most important things people must do when they return home is to make sure their drinking water is safe," Director Owens said.

"Well owners need to visually inspect their pipes and well systems for damage and test to see that positive pressure was maintained during the fire," Owens said, adding that a loss of pressure could expose well water to potentially harmful bacteria.

The brochure describes how to pressure test pipes and wells and properly collect drinking water samples for bacterial analysis by a certified environmental testing lab.

Until test results are received, residents are advised to boil water for two to five minutes before using it to drink, cook or wash dishes or cooking utensils. The water is safe for animals and for showering and flushing toilets.

The brochure is available online at ADEQ's Web site or by contacting ADEQ's Southern Regional Office in Tucson at (520) 628-6733.

ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces a Fish Consumption Advisory for Soldier, Soldier Annex and Long Lakes
Advisory Part of Statewide Strategy to Address Mercury Contamination of Arizona Lakes and Streams

PHOENIX (July 1, 2003) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced that the Arizona departments of Environmental Quality, Game and Fish, and Health Services have issued an advisory recommending that people do not eat fish caught from Soldier, Soldier Annex and Long lakes located in the Coconino National Forest, 35 miles southeast of Flagstaff in Coconino County. The advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

Owens said that the advisory resulted from the recent discovery of mercury in fish caught from this system of three interconnected lakes. Testing continues to identify possible sources of the mercury, but officials note that it likely accumulated over time in larger fish, which absorb small amounts of mercury by eating other fish and insects. As a precaution, the consumption advisory applies to all fish taken from the lakes, regardless of size or species.

The advisory does not limit use of the lakes for fishing, bird watching, swimming or other recreational uses.

"Most people are exposed to mercury by eating contaminated fish," Owens said. "Our long-term, goal is to prevent mercury from entering the environment in the first place by reducing the use of products that contain mercury, encouraging new technologies to reduce or replace mercury, and educating people and businesses about the proper disposal of existing products."

Increasing evidence of mercury contamination has led state officials in recent years to issue fish consumption advisories on at least 5 water bodies in widely varying parts of the state, including Upper and Lower Lake Mary, Lyman Lake, Pena Blanca Arivaca and Parker Canyon Lake.

ADEQ is undertaking efforts to improve the water quality of these affected lakes and streams and is developing a strategy to prevent new mercury from entering the environment and reduce the amount of mercury released from man-made sources.

Mercury is a toxic pollutant affecting the nervous system that accumulates and persists in the tissue of humans and wildlife. Those considered most at risk to possible health effects from exposure to mercury would include infants and unborn children whose mothers consume fish containing mercury during pregnancy or while nursing.

Download the Questions and Answers Concerning Fish Advisory for Soldier Lake, Soldier Annex and Long Lakes.

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