Newsroom: Press Release Archive: January 2004
  • Jan. 29, 2004: ADEQ Awards $1.4 Million in Water Quality Improvement Grants
  • Jan. 27, 2004: ADEQ: Kinder Morgan Not Moving Fast Enough to Assess Contamination from Gasoline Discharge
  • Jan. 27, 2004: ADEQ Proposes New Site for Study, Cleanup by State Superfund Program
  • Jan. 26, 2004: ADEQ Director Owens, Attorney General Goddard Announce $200,000 Fine for Violations at the APS Cholla Power Plant
  • Jan. 16, 2004: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Releases Action Plan to Address Children's Environmental Health
  • Jan. 16, 2004: ADEQ Accepting Comments on Proposed Landfill Near Buckeye
  • Jan. 13, 2004: ADEQ Reviewing Plans, Accepting Comments on Proposed Landfill in Mobile
  • Jan. 13, 2004: ADEQ Launches Redesigned Web Site
  • Jan. 9, 2004: ADEQ Begins Air Pollution Forecasting Program for Yuma County
  • Jan. 8, 2004: ADEQ Issues High Pollution Advisory for Phoenix Metropolitan Area
  • Jan. 8, 2004: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Names Fernandez New Community Liaison for Yuma and La Paz Counties

ADEQ Awards $1.4 Million in Water Quality Improvement Grants

PHOENIX (Jan. 29, 2004) -- ADEQ Director Steve Owens today awarded $1.4 million in grants to help improve the state's water quality and mitigate non-point source watershed pollution throughout the state. A total of 15 different grants were awarded to approved projects throughout Arizona as part of ADEQ's Water Quality Improvement Grant Program.

Over three years, the program has provided more than $6.9 million to both public and private entities to help reduce the impact of non-point source pollution on water resources. Past projects have addressed erosion control, aquatic wildlife restoration and wetlands mitigation. Each organization or individual contributes their own matching funds to the projects.

Non-point source pollution remains a top priority for ADEQ in its efforts to protect public health and the environment in Arizona. Non-point source pollution is caused by pollutants that are carried into lakes, streams or groundwater resources through natural runoff. Non-point source pollution is widely considered the most significant threat to water quality.

The grants are funded through U.S. EPA under the Clean Water Act.

Organizations receiving grants for 2004 include:

Apache County

EC Bar Ranch
EC Bar Ranch Turbidity Reduction Project - $102,900
This project continues an ongoing turbidity reduction program that will help control erosion along a 7-mile section of Nutrioso Creek.
Ecosphere Environmental Services
Juan Curley Project - $44,515
The Juan Curley Project seeks to develop a grazing management plan for 270 acres in the Navajo Nation. The project will also include stream bank and gully erosion control and community outreach.

Cochise County

Coronado RC&D, Inc.
Cottonwood Creek Restoration - $102,900
The project will attempt to lessen erosion on the banks and immediately adjacent to Cottonwood Creek. Efforts include installation of gabions for grade stabilization and fencing to reduce livestock impact on the area.

Coconino County

Oak Creek Canyon Task Force Grant Management, LLC
Oak Creek Canyon Task Force Water Quality Program - $131,904
This project will address wastewater treatment and sediment control. Plans for the project call for the design and construction of toilets and a wastewater treatment and disposal system at Indian Gardens Visitor Center. Also, plans call for installation of sediment control structures throughout Oak Creek Canyon and community outreach efforts.

Gila County

Boy Scouts of America - Grand Canyon Council
Boy Scout Camp Geronimo On-Site Sewer Improvements - $230,310
Camp Geronimo, situated on 200 acres north of Payson, serves as a year-round retreat and educational facility for the Grand Canyon Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The grant will aid the camp in making modifications to the existing septic tank treatment systems, in order to prevent any potential groundwater or surface water contamination.

Graham County

Gila Watershed Partnership
San Simon Soil Restoration Project - $23,300
This restoration project will focus on decreasing continuing erosion and reducing animal impact in the immediate area surrounding the San Simon River.
Gila Watershed Partnership
Peterson Wash Stabilization - $115,950
This project seeks to rehabilitate the Peterson Wash area off the Gila River through erosion control measures. In addition, funds will be used to help protect the only route to the Safford and Graham County Landfill.

Greenlee County

Gila Watershed Partnership
Point of Pines Crossing Rehabilitation Project - $22,300
This project seeks to repair the Point of Pines gate and surrounding fence area to reduce stream bank erosion and excess sediment caused by livestock grazing and vehicles.

Navajo County

Overgaard Townsite Water District
Overgaard Townsite Water Protection Project - $123,543
The water district plans to use grant monies to update its community wastewater treatment system.

Santa Cruz County

Coronado RC&D, Inc.
Santa Cruz River Sediment Control - $89,100
The project seeks to control erosion along the southern bank of the Santa Cruz River. The bank will also be revegetated with indigenous plants to help ease erosion.

Yavapai County

Arizona Game & Fish Department
Upper Verde River Wildlife Area Turbidity Reduction Project -$52,000
This project will institute a number of turbidity reduction measures along with post-project water quality monitoring of the Verde River.

Arizona State Parks
Red Rock State Park Constructed Wetland and Restoration - $27,500
Red Rock State Park will use grant funding to transition a current evapotranspiration bed into a functioning constructed wetland. Constructed wetlands can be used to filter wastewater effluent and other runoff through natural biological processes.

Henry Dahlberg Foundation
Ash Creek Watershed Project - $21,670
This project will work to remove excess sediment caused by road and steep side drainages. Mitigation efforts will also be implemented to lessen the impact of erosion on planned forest thinning and prescribed burns.

M Diamond Management, LLC
West Clear Creek Tributary Watersheds - $224,711
This collaborative project will address non-point source pollution and improve water quality in the watershed by improving hydrologic function and ephemeral stream channels.

Upper Agua Fria Watershed Partnership
Wildcat Dumpsite Clean-up - $10,000
Upper Agua Fria Watershed Partnership plans to use grant funding to help clean up dumpsites along Big Bug Creek, a tributary to the Agua Fria River.

Back to the top of the page


ADEQ: Kinder Morgan Not Moving Fast Enough to Assess Contamination from Gasoline Discharge
Company Now Says More Than 19,000 Gallons of Gasoline Released

PHOENIX (Jan. 27, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has told Kinder Morgan Energy Partners to take aggressive action to assess and prevent the further spread of groundwater contamination from the pipeline break that discharged thousands of gallons of gasoline in a residential area in northwest Tucson July 30, 2003.

The directive, a letter sent to Kinder Morgan Monday, was prompted by the recent discovery of contamination in a groundwater monitoring well on the west side of Silvercroft Wash, an area the company believed was unaffected by the discharge.

In December of last year ADEQ told Kinder Morgan to install a monitoring well on the west side of the wash, based on concerns that the company is not moving fast enough to fully characterize the vertical and lateral extent of the contamination.

After discovering the contamination west of the wash, Kinder Morgan once again revised upward the estimated amount of gasoline released when the pipeline failed. Initial estimates placed the discharge at 10,000 gallons of gasoline, a number that at the time was not disputed by Kinder Morgan. After ADEQ demanded detailed calculations concerning the release in September, Kinder Morgan revised its estimate upward to 16,000 gallons. The company now estimates that more than 19,000 gallons was released from the initial pipeline break.

"These latest findings of additional groundwater contamination on the west side of the wash as well as Kinder Morgan's admission that the volume of gasoline released is double the original estimate indicates that Kinder Morgan may still not know how much gasoline was released," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens. "For that reason, we have once again directed them to revise their calculations in light of this new information."

ADEQ also told Kinder Morgan to move aggressively to install additional groundwater monitoring wells by March 1, 2004, to determine the extent of contamination.

"It has been almost six months since the release, and the company's failure to determine the extent of the contamination in that amount of time is troubling," Owens said.

To date, ADEQ has issued Kinder Morgan two notices of violation. The first violation, issued by ADEQ Sept. 11, covered the one-time discharge of petroleum products to surface waters of the state. That violation carried a maximum penalty of $25,000 under state law. The second, issued, Nov. 13, 2003, charged the company with violating groundwater quality standards and put the company on notice that ADEQ intends to hold the company responsible for the continuing discharges associated with the spread of contamination from the pipeline break.

Back to the top of the page


ADEQ Proposes New Site for Study, Cleanup by State Superfund Program
Phoenix Site Would be First Addition in Five Years

PHOENIX (Jan. 27, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today proposed adding an area near 56th Street and Earll Drive in Phoenix to the list of sites that receive state funding to assess and cleanup contaminated soil and groundwater.

If approved, the site would be the first addition to the state's Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund registry in five years.

Groundwater underlying the site is contaminated as a result of former industrial activities at or near the site. Owens said groundwater monitoring efforts to date indicate that area drinking water sources have not been impacted.

Listing on the registry is the first step in a detailed process to fully assess the nature and extent of the contamination, determine an appropriate cleanup strategy and seek to recover costs for the project from those responsible for the contamination.

"Most people who live near the site have been aware of the contamination for some time," Owens said. "The listing of the site should come as good news to residents because it represents an important step forward toward developing a cleanup strategy."

The site is a 14-acre tract of land that was the location of an industrial plant from 1950 to the early 1980's. The plant had been used for electronics assembly at various times throughout its history, and it is during those periods that various chemical solvents and metals were disposed of improperly in the area, Owens said.

The state cleanup fund was created by the Arizona legislature in 1986 and completely reformed in 1997 to pay for hazardous substance cleanup projects for areas with contaminated soil, groundwater or surface water. ADEQ administers the fund under its Waste Programs Division. The program currently has 33 sites on the WQARF registry.

ADEQ is soliciting public comment on the proposed listing of this site. Those seeking more information about these sites or providing comments, should contact Deb Goodwin at (602) 771-4453 by Feb. 6, 2004.

Note: A fact sheet on the site is also available for download.

Back to the top of the page


ADEQ Director Owens, Attorney General Goddard Announce &200,000 Fine for Violations at the APS Cholla Power Plant

PHOENIX (Jan. 26, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens and Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that Arizona Public Service Company will pay $200,000 to settle air and hazardous waste violations that occurred at APS's Cholla Power Plant near Joseph City between April and mid-July, 2001.

In July 2001, ADEQ began investigating complaints of air quality and hazardous waste violations at the facility. During the course of these investigations, inspectors discovered a number of serious hazardous waste storage and disposal violations. The facility failed to properly characterize, label, store and dispose of hazardous waste.

ADEQ also discovered violations of the plant';s air quality permit. Paint, paint chips, and antifreeze were improperly burned as liquid waste in one of the facility's boilers.

APS officials also reported that during fire training exercises to burn waste wood, the facility had dismantled and burned asbestos transite panels, a violation of national emissions standards for asbestos adopted by the state. The burning of these materials violated the plant's air quality permit. The plant also conducted the burns outside the hours specified in the permit.

Based on its investigation, ADEQ cited the facility for air and hazardous waste violations and referred the case to the Arizona Attorney General's Office for enforcement.

"We want to make sure that the Cholla facility complies with the law to reduce the risk to the environment and protect the health and safety of the people who work at or live near the facility," ADEQ Director Steve Owens said.

"Given the seriousness of the violations, the penalty that has been agreed upon is very appropriate," added Attorney General Terry Goddard.

The settlement is still subject to court approval.

Back to the top of the page


ADEQ Director Steve Owens Releases Action Plan to Address Children's Environmental Health

PHOENIX (Jan. 16, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today released ADEQ's action plan to assess and improve environmental conditions that affect the health of children in Arizona.

The plan outlines the department's efforts over the next year to confront a growing number of environmental concerns, ranging from environmental triggers for childhood asthma to children's exposure to idling school bus exhaust and pesticides in schools to air quality along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"There is a clear need to better coordinate efforts and maximize resources to protect children's environmental health in this state," Owens said. "We can improve the types and quality of health and environmental data that we collect relating to children's health and take steps to protect our children."

Last year, Governor Napolitano directed ADEQ to work with the Department of Health Services to focus on environmental factors in Arizona that affect children's health, using her C.A.R.E. strategy that:

  • Coordinates the many interests involved with children's environmental health issues
  • Assesses and prioritizes the environmental health factors affecting Arizona children
  • Reduces the number and types of contamination adversely affecting Arizona children
  • Educates residents about the environmental hazards and ways to reduce children's exposure to them.

In May, ADEQ hosted the state's first Children's Environmental Health Forum, which brought together experts in the field of children's health to discuss a strategy for addressing these issues. The action plan is based upon recommendations from the forum and others developed by ADEQ.

Consistent with Governor Napolitano's directive, the action plan focuses in part on the effect of air quality on childhood asthma and other respiratory problems in children.

Highlights of the action plan include:

  • Establishing an interagency Children's Environmental Health Workgroup with representatives from ADEQ and the Department of Health Services to enhance cooperation and collaboration between the agencies and expand the exchange of information on issues affecting children's environmental health.
  • Establishing a Children's Environmental Health Advisory Council, made up of citizens involved with children's health and environmental concerns throughout Arizona, to work with and advise ADEQ on children's environmental health issues.
  • Working with ADHS and the public health community to identify data currently being collected that provide indicators for children's environmental health in Arizona, determine additional data needs and develop strategies for meeting those needs, including particularly data on the relationship between air quality and the incidence of childhood asthma.
  • Developing guidelines for reviewing permit applications or requests for plan approvals for facilities proposed to be sited near schools.
  • Reducing children's exposure to hazardous pollutants in diesel exhaust by working with school districts, boards, officials, associations and other appropriate groups to develop and implement policies regarding school bus idling.
  • Encouraging and supporting Integrated Pest Management programs that use non-chemical techniques to control pests and eliminate pest pathways in schools.
  • Increasing the amount and quality of information provided to the public, schools and health care providers about children's environmental health issues.
  • Establishing a Children's Environmental Health Task Force for the Arizona-Sonora region to address children's environmental health issues along the Arizona-Mexico border.

Owens said ADEQ plans to focus on identifying the environmental health risks to our children and prioritizing efforts to reduce them. He added that ADEQ already has begun to take a number of steps called for in the action plan.

"By taking the steps outlined in this Action Plan, we can help realize Governor Napolitano's goal make Arizona a great place to grow up," Owens said.

Back to the top of the page


ADEQ Accepting Comments on Proposed Landfill Near Buckeye

PHOENIX (Jan. 16, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is accepting public comments concerning a proposed landfill that would be located in southwest Maricopa County, approximately 12 miles south of the Town of Buckeye, near the intersection of Patterson Road and State Route 85.

The facility would serve as a municipal landfill for the Phoenix operated under an intergovernmental agreement with the Town of Buckeye. ADEQ is currently reviewing facility plans for the first phase of the proposed landfill, which would comprise approximately 700 acres and is expected to be in operation 25 to 30 years.

ADEQ is required by state law to review plans for proposed landfills to ensure they are properly designed and constructed with public health and environmental safeguards in place.

ADEQ will hold a public meeting on Thursday, Jan. 22 to provide nearby residents and others with information and solicit their comments on the proposal The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Buckeye Community Center, 201 East Centre Avenue, Buckeye AZ, 85326.

To ensure adequate time to conduct the plan review and incorporate public comments, the department has extended the public comment deadline until March 1, 2004. Questions or comments concerning this proposal should be directed to Richard B. Jeffries, Solid Waste Plan Review Unit Manager, 1110 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007 or by phone at (602) 771-2122.

Back to the top of the page


ADEQ Reviewing Plans, Accepting Comments on Proposed Landfill in Mobile
Public Comment Period Extended to Allow Community Input

PHOENIX (Jan. 13, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has begun accepting public comments concerning the proposed 480-acre Southpoint landfill near the community of Mobile in southwestern Maricopa County.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors recently approved a zoning change and special use permit for the facility, allowing the proposal to move forward.

ADEQ is required by state law to review plans for proposed landfills to ensure they are properly designed and constructed with public health and environmental safeguards in place.

ADEQ will hold a public meeting on Feb. 4 in Mobile to provide residents with information about the proposed facility and to solicit the community's input on the proposal. The meeting will be held at the Mobile Elementary School auditorium, 42798 South 99th Ave., from 6 to 8 p.m.

To ensure adequate time to conduct the plan review and incorporate public comments, the department has extended the public comment deadline until March 8, 2004.

Questions or comments concerning this proposal should be directed to Richard B. Jeffries, Solid Waste Plan Review Unit Manager, 1110 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007 or by phone at (602) 771-2122.

Back to the top of the page


ADEQ Launches Redesigned Web Site

PHOENIX (Jan. 13, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality today launched a redesigned Web site (www.azdeq.gov) as part of its ongoing effort to improve the way the department provides information about its programs and services.

"Our Web site has become a primary method for citizens to interact with ADEQ," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens. "For that reason we restructured the site and added several enhancements to make it easier for people to quickly find what they are looking for."

Key features of the new site include:

  • Dual navigation systems that allow people to browse by program (air, waste, water) or by function (permitting, outreach, or assistance, for example).
  • A new "Events & Notices" function to provide information about upcoming meetings, public notices and other department events.
  • A new listserv feature (see Subscribe in the upper navigation menu), which allows subscribers to receive information about air quality forecasts, news releases and public meeting/comment notices via email.
  • A consolidated contact list that includes key contacts and telephone numbers throughout the department.
  • An enhanced ADEQ home page that will showcase the department's priority information and environmental division home pages that have quick links to important program-related information.
  • The web site has been designed to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Worldwide Web Consortium (the governing body for Web standards) criteria. It also complies with state of Arizona Web site standards, which enables access to the state's Google search engine, allowing users to search by keyword(s) in Web pages as well as PDF documents.

The new web site was designed completely in-house by a team of ADEQ employees.

Back to the top of the page


ADEQ Begins Air Pollution Forecasting Program for Yuma County
Additional Steps May be Required to Reduce Dust Emissions

PHOENIX (Jan. 9, 2004) -- As part of an effort to reduce public exposure to unhealthy levels of blowing dust, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced the department has begun issuing daily wind forecasts for Yuma County.

The forecasts, available online at the ADEQ Web site (www.azdeq.gov) and by telephone at (800) 234-5677, Ext. 771-2250, will be updated each day to provide residents with advance notice of weather conditions likely to cause elevated levels of windblown dust and dirt.

Airborne particulate matter, especially particles 10 micrometers and less in size (often referred to as PM10), can exacerbate respiratory problems for children, senior citizens and those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma or chronic bronchitis.

"Providing these forecasts gives residents in Yuma County, particularly those in sensitive populations, with the information they need to limit their exposure to unhealthy air," Owens said. "We are also working with a variety of people and groups to identify common sense ways to reduce the amount of windblown dust generated in Yuma County."

The forecasts are one component of a plan designed to help Yuma County achieve compliance with federal air quality standards, something that has been a goal since the county was designated a non-attainment area for particulate matter in 1990.

Among the factors that contribute to elevated levels of windblown dust are trackout from unpaved areas onto paved streets, re-entrained dust from traffic on paved roads, construction activities, and vacant agricultural fields. Winds above 15 miles per hour cause dust generated by these activities to be suspended in the air, reducing visibility and degrading air quality.

Achieving the goal of meeting the federal health-based standards requires three consecutive years with no monitoring violations. PM10 emissions were significantly reduced in the early 1990s as a result of actions taken by local and county governments, state and federal agencies, irrigation districts and farmers, but the levels of particulate pollution have been gradually increasing the past several years.

The county was on track to achieve compliance in 2004, but a wind storm in August 2002 resulted in a violation of the standard. As a result, state and local officials have developed a draft natural events action plan to account for weather conditions likely to cause poor air quality. The purpose of the plan is to control dust as much as possible and educate the public on ways to reduce their exposure to unhealthful air that may occur as a result of natural events like the August 2002 dust storm.

"Yuma's unique geography and lack of rainfall present a significant air quality challenge, and we understand that," Owens said. "That is why it will take cooperation and collaboration among the many stakeholders in Yuma to succeed in reducing particulate levels. It requires a team effort."

Back to the top of the page


>

ADEQ Issues High Pollution Advisory for Phoenix Metropolitan Area

PHOENIX (Jan. 8, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued a high pollution advisory for Friday, Jan. 9, due to forecast weather conditions expected to generate high levels of particulate matter or dust in the Valley.

Nightly temperature inversions combined with a stagnant air mass have caused an increase in particulate levels during the past several days, as evidenced by recent poor visibility conditions.

These meteorological conditions are not expected to change throughout the weekend.

Children, senior citizens and those with respiratory illnesses may wish to limit their outdoor activities on Friday.

ADEQ is recommending that people carpool, use mass transit or telecommute to reduce the amount of particulate pollution generated on Friday. ADEQ also suggests people reduce their speed when traveling on unpaved roads and limit their use of equipment such as lawnmowers and leaf blowers, which generate additional dust.

The Maricopa County Department of Environmental Services also has issued a no-burn advisory for Friday.

Members of the public are encouraged to visit ADEQ's Visibility Index Web site to see near real-time images and visibility information for the Valley.

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

Back to the top of the page


ADEQ Director Steve Owens Names Fernandez New Community Liaison for Yuma and La Paz Counties

PHOENIX (Jan. 8, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today named Charlene Ramos Fernandez as the department's new community liaison for southwestern Arizona beginning Jan. 26.

Fernandez, who lives in Yuma, will assist residents, businesses and municipal governments in Yuma and La Paz counties as well as other areas in southwestern Arizona to understand and comply with state and federal environmental laws and regulations.

"Charlene's relations in the community and familiarity with the many important issues in Yuma County make her a great addition to the department and a valuable asset to the county," Owens said. "Her primary role will be to help people in Yuma to work with the department's many regulatory programs and ensure the department is responsive to the community's needs. We are delighted that Charlene will be joining us."

Fernandez managed U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor's Yuma office for 11 years. In that position, she mediated disputes between constituents and federal agencies, monitored services provided by federal agencies to the Yuma community and coordinated the flow of information between constituents and Pastor's Washington office.

Back to the top of the page

Back