Newsroom: Press Release Archive: July 2004
  • July 26, 2004: ADEQ Extends Ozone Health Watch for Phoenix Metropolitan Area
  • July 26, 2004: ADEQ Issues Ozone Health Watch for Phoenix Metropolitan Area
  • July 20, 2004: ADEQ to Discuss Pinto Creek Water Quality
  • July 12, 2004: ADEQ Issues Ozone Health Watch for Phoenix Metropolitan Area
  • July 7, 2004: ADEQ Director Owens Deploys Emergency Response Team to Monitor Air Quality Near Safford
  • July 2, 2004: ADEQ Director Owens, Attorney General Goddard Announce $90,000 Fine for Flagstaff Facility
  • July 1, 2004: ADEQ Proposes Former Dry Cleaner Site for Addition to State Superfund Program

ADEQ Extends Ozone Health Watch for Phoenix Metropolitan Area

PHOENIX (July 26, 2004) -- he Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has extended an Ozone Health Watch for the Phoenix metropolitan area originally issued for Tuesday, July 27 through Wednesday, July 28. The Health Watch remains in place due to the continued possibility of ground-level ozone concentrations nearing the EPA ozone health standard of 85 parts per billion.

ADEQ suggests that children, senior citizens, and those with respiratory illnesses continue to reduce their outdoor activities throughout Wednesday.

Easterly winds have been trapping ground-level ozone in the Valley and forecasters expect ground-level ozone concentrations to remain at higher levels throughout Wednesday and possibly into Thursday. Strong thunderstorms that brought more than a quarter-inch of rain to parts of the Valley did not prevent an ozone health watch from being issued for Tuesday. Monday marked the highest recorded levels of ozone seen this summer. Although more thunderstorms are approaching the Valley from the north, they are not expected to arrive in time to provide relief from current ozone conditions.

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 (July 26, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued an Ozone Health Watch for the Phoenix metropolitan area for Tuesday, July 27, 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 Tuesday. Ozone concentrations may reach levels that can aggravate respiratory conditions, such as asthma, throughout the day. ADEQ also suggests trying to reschedule daytime activities to cooler, evening hours when ozone levels are lower.

Prevalent easterly winds contributed to elevated ozone concentrations in the Valley during the daytime hours both Saturday and Sunday and are expected to be rather high again today. By Tuesday, winds are expected to shift out of the west and transport ozone pollution from southern California. Because portions of San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties had unhealthy ozone on Sunday, the addition of even a fraction of those concentrations poses a risk of ozone concentrations near unhealthy levels over the Phoenix metro area. In addition, ozone precursors (the chemicals that aid in ozone formation) may also arrive; together these circumstances have prompted the issuance of a Health Watch.

ADEQ forecasters anticipate the highest ozone levels to be found in the late afternoon hours. Officials do not expect an exceedance of the 8-hour standard for ozone, but levels may approach the standard of 85 parts per billion.

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

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ADEQ to Discuss Pinto Creek Water Quality

PHOENIX (July 20, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public meeting to discuss recent results of an ongoing water quality investigation of Pinto Creek. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 22, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Globe City Hall in Globe.

The study, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) analysis, examines the physical and chemical characteristics of a waterbody to determine the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can withstand while still attaining surface water quality standards. Once the amount is determined, efforts can be made to reduce particular pollutants that appear in the stream.

"TMDL studies are an important part of restoring Arizona's streams to healthy conditions," ADEQ Director Steve Owens said. "This meeting is part of our continuing effort to keep community members informed on our progress at Pinto Creek."

ADEQ officials and representatives from contractor Malcolm Pirnie will host the discussion with stakeholders to address modeling results and findings of the Pinto Creek TMDL analysis.

Pinto Creek is considered impaired due to higher levels of dissolved copper discovered in the stream. ADEQ has been studying Pinto Creek to identify sources and conditions causing contamination and, as a requirement of the federal Cean Water Act, constructing a TMDL study.

For more information, contact ADEQ's Joe Cosgrove at (602) 771-4580 or, toll free, (800) 234-5677. Further information about TMDL studies in Arizona can also be found on ADEQ's Web site.

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ADEQ Issues Ozone Health Watch for Phoenix Metropolitan Area

PHOENIX (July 12, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued an Ozone Health Watch for the Phoenix metropolitan area for Tuesday, July 13 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 Tuesday. Ozone concentrations may aggravate respiratory conditions, such as asthma, throughout the day.

"We anticipate this weather pattern to result in higher concentrations of ozone throughout the day on Tuesday," ADEQ Director Steve Owens said. "With that in mind, we want to make sure that people with respiratory problems and other sensitivities to ozone are aware of the situation and can adjust their outdoor activities appropriately."

An area of upper-level high pressure has built to the northeast of Arizona, initiating the summer monsoon with a possibility of thunderstorms. The combination of easterly winds aloft and increasing humidity associated with this situation is usually an accurate predictor of high ozone concentrations over the Valley. ADEQ forecasters anticipate ozone concentrations to approach unhealthy levels on Tuesday with a good chance of a similar situation on Wednesday. Officials do not expect an exceedance of the 8-hour standard for ozone, but levels may approach the standard of 85 parts per billion.

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

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ADEQ Director Owens Deploys Emergency Response Team to Monitor Air Quality Near Safford

PHOENIX (July 7, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today deployed the department's Hazardous Air Response Team at the request of Graham County Officials to monitor ambient air quality near two wildfires that continue to burn on Mount Graham near Safford.

The Nuttall and Gibson fires have consumed more than 16,000 acres as of Tuesday, July 6. Although prevailing winds have shifted much of the smoke west of Mount Graham, Owens said the department remains concerned about the smoke's potential health effects for nearby residents.

"This monitoring unit will enable us to be better prepared if air quality worsens as a result of the smoke," Owens said. "We will continue to monitor air quality in the area and notify the public immediately if it poses a threat to area residents."

The team uses a special van that contains air monitoring and meteorological equipment. The equipment will also collect and assess particulate matter, a major air pollutant found in wildfire smoke.

The department also has deployed air monitoring equipment to the Payson and Pine areas in northern Arizona to monitor air quality near the Willow fire.

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ADEQ Director Owens, Attorney General Goddard Announce $90,000 Fine for Flagstaff Facility

PHOENIX (July 2, 2004) -- Attorney General Terry Goddard and ADEQ Director Steve Owens today announced a settlement with Delaware-based W.L. Gore & Associates for $90,000 after its Flagstaff facility was cited for numerous hazardous waste rules violations in 2003. The facility manufactured a number of products, including medical devices, industrial, fabric and electronic products.

The violations were discovered during a 2003 inspection by the ADEQ Hazardous Waste Inspection and Compliance Unit. Inspectors discovered violations concerning the storage and handling of hazardous waste. The facility accumulated waste in containers well past the 90-day limit for storage of hazardous materials, and also had improperly labeled and stored a number of hazardous waste containers. Gore has since corrected the violations.

In addition to the storage violations, Gore officials did not have documentation that the company had provided required hazardous waste training to its employees, and had an inadequate contingency and emergency response plan.

"The settlement shows that hazardous waste violations are very serious," Goddard said. "Companies that are not careful in their handling of hazardous waste will pay a penalty."

The state filed a Consent Judgment in Maricopa County Superior Court to end the dispute, which provides for the $90,000 to be paid within ten days.

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ADEQ Proposes Former Dry Cleaner Site for Addition to State Superfund Program

PHOENIX (July 1, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today proposed adding an area near the corner of Seventh Avenue and Bethany Home Road in central Phoenix to the state superfund program registry.

Groundwater contaminated with tetrachloroethylene (PCE) was discovered at the site in 1995. PCE is a chemical with a wide range of industrial applications, and was regularly used in dry cleaning operations as a cleaning solvent. A dry cleaning facility located in a shopping center has been determined to be the source of the contamination.

Analytical results from sampling conducted at the site confirm the presence of PCE in soil and groundwater. Monitoring wells installed in 1995 detected PCE concentrations ranging from 200 to 15,000 micrograms per liter, well above the groundwater standard of 5 micrograms per liter. The contamination came from two on-site septic tanks that have since been removed.

Despite the high levels of PCE, ADEQ officials say the plume does not affect any current drinking water source used by the City of Phoenix. There are no drinking water production wells within the confines of the site, but ADEQ is closely monitoring the movement of the groundwater plume. Two Salt River Project irrigation wells near the site have been tested, and PCE levels have been detected below the standard.

"Even though drinking water sources in the area have not been affected we will develop an appropriate strategy to clean up the site, and then identify the parties responsible for the contamination and seek to recover costs from them," Owens said.

The site is bounded to the north by Berridge Lane, to the south by Bethany Home Road, to the east by Sixth Avenue and to the west by Eighth Avenue, and includes the 2.6-acre former shopping center that housed the dry cleaning facility.

ADEQ encourages comments from members of the community on the proposed listing of the site, and welcomes questions from the public on the WQARF program. ADEQ will accept public comments until Friday, July 30, 2004. Members of the public may request site information and submit comments by postal mail addressed to Debi Goodwin, Site Assessment Unit, 1110 W. Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007.

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