Newsroom: Press Release Archive: April 2004
  • April 28, 2004: ADEQ Issues Particulate Matter Health Watch for Phoenix Metropolitan Area
  • April 27, 2004: Arizona Attorney General Goddard and ADEQ Director Owens Announce $50,000 fine for Phoenix Heat Treating, Inc.
  • April 26, 2004: ADEQ Extends Ozone Health Watch for Phoenix Metropolitan Area
  • April 26, 2004: ADEQ Issues Ozone Health Watch for Phoenix Metropolitan Area
  • April 19, 2004: Arizona Attorney General Goddard and ADEQ Director Owens Announce $29,000 fine for La Paz County Soil Remediation and Disposal Facility
  • April 16, 2004: ADEQ Removing Asbestos From Illegal Dump Site In Yuma
  • April 14, 2004: U.S. EPA Orders Speedy's Truck Stop to Cleanup Petroleum Pollution
  • April 9, 2004: ADEQ Hosting Meeting on Water Quality in French Gulch
  • April 5, 2004: ADEQ Teams with StRUT to Recycle Computer Equipment and Mobile Phones
  • April 1, 2004: ADEQ Initiates Biosolids Management Program
  • April 1, 2004: ADEQ Hosting Southern Arizona Children's Environmental Health Forum in Tucson

ADEQ Issues Particulate Matter Health Watch for Phoenix Metropolitan Area

PHOENIX (April 28, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued an air pollution health watch for Thursday, April 29, due to forecast weather conditions expected to generate levels of coarse particulate matter or dust that approach unhealthy levels.

A strong weather system that is moving southward from eastern Nevada is expected to arrive over Arizona tonight and Thursday. Associated gusty winds will cause locally widespread blowing dust that will combine with airborne particles brought eastward by the storm's movement.

The Health Watch calls for unusually sensitive people -- children, senior citizens, and those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma, to limit their outdoor activities on Thursday.

"This weather system coupled with our recent lack of precipitation may bring levels of particulate matter near unhealthy levels," ADEQ Director Steve Owens said. "As a result we're recommending that people help to reduce dust levels by carpooling, using public transportation, reducing their speed on unpaved roads, and limiting use of leaf blowers and lawnmowers that can generate additional dust. We also are recommending that people with respiratory problems be mindful of these conditions when planning outdoor activities."

ADEQ forecasters do not anticipate unhealthy levels of ozone, another form of air pollution, to coincide with the increased levels of coarse particulate matter.

Daily air quality forecasts are located on ADEQ's Web site or by telephone at (602) 771-2367.

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Arizona Attorney General Goddard and ADEQ Director Owens Announce $50,000 fine for Phoenix Heat Treating, Inc.

PHOENIX (April 27, 2004) -- Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that Phoenix Heat Treating, Inc. would pay $50,000 to settle hazardous waste violations which occurred at its Phoenix facility.

Phoenix Heat Treating provides heat treatment services which are often used to harden metals and materials used in the aerospace industry. The violations of state hazardous waste regulations were discovered during a 2001 field inspection by ADEQ's hazardous waste inspection and compliance unit.

"There were numerous hazardous waste violations at this facility that created a potential danger to public health and the environment," said Owens.

The facility had stored hazardous waste on-site for periods longer than the permissible 90 days, and had also stored hazardous chemical solvents in open and inadequate containers. The company had also failed to provide required training to its employees and lacked a procedure for determining which wastes were hazardous. The company has since corrected the violations.

The consent judgment filed in Maricopa County Superior Court requires Phoenix Heat Treating to pay the $50,000 penalty within ten days.

"Companies that disregard the rules for handling hazardous waste will be prosecuted and will pay a penalty," Goddard said.

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ADEQ Extends Ozone Health Watch for Phoenix Metropolitan Area

PHOENIX (April 26, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has extended an Ozone Health Watch for the Phoenix metropolitan area originally issued for Monday, April 26 through Tuesday, April 27. The Health Watch remains in place due to the continued possibility of ground-level ozone concentrations nearing unhealthy levels.

Children, senior citizens, and those with respiratory illnesses should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors on Monday and Tuesday.

A strong upper-level ridge over the Southwest U.S. has brought near-record high temperatures and plentiful sunshine to react upon auto emissions from the weekday commute. In addition, ozone levels were already relatively high on Sunday. Maximum ozone concentrations at some locations may approach the EPA ozone health standard of 85 parts per billion. The weather pattern is expected to result in periods of elevated ozone over the Valley through Friday.

Ozone levels are expected to peak during the afternoon hours and ADEQ is recommending that children, the elderly, and those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma limit their outdoor activities or reschedule activities to the nighttime hours to reduce exposure when ozone levels are at their highest. ADEQ further suggests people limit their use of gasoline-powered outdoor equipment such as lawnmowers and leaf blowers, and refuel vehicles after sunset.

Daily air quality forecasts are located on ADEQ's web site or by telephone at (602) 771-2367.

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ADEQ Issues Ozone Health Watch for Phoenix Metropolitan Area

PHOENIX (April 26, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued an Ozone Health Watch for the Phoenix metropolitan area for Monday, April 26 due to the possibility of ground-level ozone concentrations nearing unhealthy levels.

Children, senior citizens, and those with respiratory illnesses should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors on Monday.

A strong upper-level ridge over the Southwest U.S. has brought near-record high temperatures and plentiful sunshine to react upon auto emissions from the weekday commute. In addition, ozone levels were already relatively high on Sunday. Maximum ozone concentrations at some locations today may approach the EPA ozone health standard of 85 parts per billion. The weather pattern is expected to result in periods of elevated ozone over the Valley through Friday.

Ozone levels are expected to peak during the afternoon hours on Monday and ADEQ is recommending that children, the elderly, and those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma limit their outdoor activities or reschedule activities to the nighttime hours to reduce exposure when ozone levels are at their highest. ADEQ further suggests people limit their use of gasoline-powered outdoor equipment such as lawnmowers and leaf blowers, and refuel vehicles after sunset.

Daily air quality forecasts are located on ADEQ's Web site or by telephone at (602) 771-2367.

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Arizona Attorney General Goddard and ADEQ Director Owens Announce $29,000 fine for La Paz County Soil Remediation and Disposal Facility

PHOENIX (April 19, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens and Attorney General Terry Goddard announced the settlement of solid waste and air quality violations by Soil Resource Recovery of Arizona (Sonas) and CDE Resources, Inc. (CDE). Sonas and CDE will pay $29,000 in fines for violations that occurred between December 1999 and January 2002. They will also perform a human health-based risk assessment. CDE operated the facility during this time, but the facility has since ceased operations.

During an ADEQ investigation in October 2001, inspectors discovered that Sonas and CDE disposed of over 12,000 cubic yards of petroleum contaminated soil on-site at their facility located near Vicksburg without correctly treating the waste prior to disposal between December 1999 and May 2000. They also failed to follow other approved training, reporting, testing, storage and treatment procedures.

"Our investigation that revealed some disturbing violations of Arizona's environmental laws," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens. "We are holding Sonas and CDE accountable for these serious violations."

ADEQ also discovered that between March 2000 and January 2002, Sonas and CDE accepted and thermally treated over 700 tons of soil containing perchloroethylene (a chlorinated solvent commonly used in retail dry cleaning and industrial degreasing operations), of which 600 tons were trucked in from California. The facility's air quality permit prohibited processing chlorinated compound contaminated materials, which require temperatures hotter than the kiln designed and operated by Sonas and CDE for efficient thermal destruction. his led to potential air emissions of hydrogen chloride and phosgene, which are hazardous air pollutants.

"This agreement is important because more and more companies will begin to understand this office is serious about prosecuting companies that set up operations in border counties to accept and dispose of waste which violates Arizona waste and air regulations" Attorney General Terry Goddard added.

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ADEQ Removing Asbestos From Illegal Dump Site In Yuma

PHOENIX (April 16, 2004) -- ADEQ Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ has begun removing more than 1,000 bags of asbestos-containing material that were illegally dumped at a site southwest of the city of Yuma. Owens estimated that removal of the asbestos, which is being conducted by a licensed removal contractor, could be completed by Sunday. The removed waste is being transported to Copper Mountain Landfill in Wellton, which is permitted and equipped to store asbestos.

The bags of asbestos material were discovered on private property near Avenue D and 11th Street late last week by the owner of the property, who notified local officials. ADEQ has begun an investigation to find the parties responsible for the illegal disposal.

"We have moved quickly to remove this waste and make sure that any threat to the surrounding community is eliminated," Owens said. "We also are working quickly to identify the responsible parties and take appropriate action against them."

ADEQ personnel have installed protective fencing surrounding the dump site and Yuma County officials have built earth berms around a larger area to keep residents from approaching the site. ADEQ is also continuing to take samples from the area to fully characterize the site.

Owens, who reviewed the site Wednesday while in Yuma, said the dumping was a blatant violation of Arizona law. He also pointed out that some of the bags had been burned, also a violation of federal law.

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U.S. EPA Orders Speedy's Truck Stop to Cleanup Petroleum Pollution

SAN FRANCISCO (April 14, 2004) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today ordered Speedy's Truck Stop to stop illegal releases of hazardous and solid wastes, and to clean up contaminants and hazardous substances from its truck stop and refining facility in Lupton, Ariz.

The order requires the company to immediately cease all discharges and unpermitted releases of oil, and to prepare a plan to investigate and clean up oil and hazardous substances released at the facility, and onto nearby private and tribal properties.

Today's order follows investigations by the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality earlier this year to address contamination at the truck stop and refining facility.

"Speedy's cannot continue to delay cleanup over legal technicalities," said Keith Takata, the U.S. EPA's Superfund director for the Pacific Southwest region. "The Navajo Nation, state of Arizona and the EPA all agree this facility needs to clean up its act."

"There are serious violations of environmental laws at this facility," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens. "We will be working closely with the Navajo Nation and EPA to make sure it is cleaned up."

On Feb. 24, Navajo and state environmental staff found the facility had equipment leaking ethanol and other petroleum products. The Navajo Nation EPA and ADEQ inspected Speedy's after a citizen notified the Navajo Nation EPA that the facility had been dumping oily wastes onto nearby properties.

"Navajo Nation EPA welcomes this enforcement action and the commitment by the EPA to fulfill its trust responsibility," said Stephen B. Etsitty, the executive director for the Navajo Nation EPA. ";I would like to thank ADEQ Director Steve Owens for his leadership in elevating NNEPA's concerns, while recognizing our tribal sovereignty. NNEPA is committed to working with the EPA and ADEQ to protect our people and our resources from harmful pollution."

The U.S. EPA has taken action against both Speedy's and a related facility, Krystal Energy, numerous times in recent years. In 1999, Speedy's agreed to pay a penalty for violations of the federal Clean Water Act. In 2002, the U.S. EPA cited Speedy's for violations of the federal Clean Air Act. The violations included failure to monitor for smog-forming volatile organic compounds leaks and failure to submit reports. Also in 2002, the U.S. EPA issued an order requiring cleanup of oil releases at the nearby Krystal Energy facility.

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ADEQ Hosting Meeting on Water Quality in French Gulch

PHOENIX (April 9, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality will hold a meeting Thursday, April 29, 2004 to update community members on the status of a water quality study underway for French Gulch near the Zonia Mine in the Placerita Mining District.

The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 29, 2004, at 7 p.m. at the school in Walnut Grove, north of Wickenburg.

ADEQ officials have been studying French Gulch due to surface water quality standards exceedances for cadmium, copper and zinc. The metals can have detrimental effects on aquatic wildlife and other wildlife that come into contact with the stream.

The Total Maximum Daily Load Analysis that is underway for French Gulch will identify possible sources of contamination and determine the maximum amount of each metal that the stream can withstand while still meeting surface water quality standards. Ultimately, the study will be used to help identify appropriate corrective actions that can be taken in the nearby drainage area to reduce the amount of pollutants reaching the gulch.

As part of the update, ADEQ representatives will report on recent water quality monitoring at French Gulch and some of its tributaries, and discuss ways of using the data to answer questions about sources, pollutant loads, and pollutant reduction strategies. At the meeting, Jeff Garrett, with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, will also be available to answer questions about mining activities in the area and related water quality policies.

For more information, contact Diana Marsh of ADEQ at (602) 771-4545 or toll free at (800) 234-5677. Further information about TMDL studies in Arizona is available at ADEQ's website.

Directions to the meeting location are also available on ADEQ's web site.

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ADEQ Teams with StRUT to Recycle Computer Equipment and Mobile Phones

PHOENIX (April 5, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the Students Recycling Used Technology (StRUT) Program are teaming up again to collect and recycle used computers at seven Valley locations and participating Staples and Data Doctors stores on Saturday, April 24.

Recycling centers will be set up throughout the Valley, and will provide a convenient way for individuals and organizations to dispose of obsolete computers, computer parts and mobile phones in a way that benefits schools and non-profit organizations throughout Arizona.

The StRUT Program helps students acquire new skills by refurbishing the donated equipment and then in turn donating the refurbished items to local schools and non-profit organizations.

This is the fifth consecutive year ADEQ and StRUT have teamed up as part of an effort to reduce the amount of obsolete computer equipment disposed of in landfills. "With the decreasing life cycle of electronic equipment, it is very important that programs like StRUT help ease the burden to the state's landfills," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens. "We are very happy to be part of the effort this year and look forward to our continuing relationship with the program and its partners."

Because AZ StRUT is a non-profit organization, donations may be tax deductible, and donation tax slips will be available at all recycling locations.

Recycling locations for 2004 are:

  • Hamilton High School, 3700 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler
  • Gilbert High School, 1101 E. Elliot Rd., Gilbert
  • Arizona State University (ASU) West, 4701 W. Thunderbird Rd., Glendale
  • The Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
  • APS Service Center, 16800 N. Dysart Rd., Surprise
  • Tempe High School, 1730 S. Mill Ave., Tempe

Participating Staples and Data Doctors store locations can be found online .

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ADEQ Initiates Biosolids Management Program

PHOENIX (April 1, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has been granted regulatory authority over biosolids management by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, ADEQ Director Steve Owens announced today.

The approval from EPA gives ADEQ the authority to regulate and administer the production and disposal of biosolids. Biosolids are a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process, and are separately treated to reduce potential pathogens that may exist. Biosolids are most commonly used in land application as a form of fertilizer.

The ADEQ Biosolids Management Program will administer requirements for wastewater treatment plants, composters, land appliers and operators of biosolids disposal sites. ADEQ will also be responsible for issuing permits, enforcing standards and providing guidance to those involved in the production or disposal of sewage sludge.

The state requires any parcel of land where biosolids will be applied to register with the department before application takes place.

EPA will retain biosolids management regulatory authority on tribal lands within the state.

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ADEQ Hosting Southern Arizona Children's Environmental Health Forum in Tucson

PHOENIX (April 1, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens will join state leaders and community members for the first-ever Southern Arizona Forum on Children's Environmental Health from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Friday, April 23 at the Manning House in Tucson.

The forum will be hosted by ADEQ's Children's Environmental Health Project, which was developed at the request of Governor Janet Napolitano. The forum will feature expert speakers in the field of children's health and the environment who will address the environmental health challenges of protecting children living in southern Arizona, particularly along the Arizona-Sonoran border. Speakers will also discuss strategies for lessening the harmful impact of pollutants on children's health, including asthma.

"Children in southern Arizona face a number of environmental risks to their health and well-being. For example, children in southern Arizona have some of the highest rates of asthma in the state, which can be triggered by environmental pollutants," Owens said. "Effectively protecting our children requires that parents, communities, schools and others concerned with children's health have the tools they need to identify risks and reduce or prevent exposures."

There is no cost to attend the forum. Those interested in attending will find the invitation and registration form here. The registration deadline is Friday, April, 16.

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