>Newsroom: Press Release Archive: March 2004
  • March 31, 2004: April 1 Marks Start of Summer Ozone Season
  • March 30, 2004: ADEQ to Update Status of Tonto Creek and Christopher Creek TMDL Studies
  • March 10, 2004: ADEQ Teams with Arizona Little Leagues to Promote Recycling at Ball Fields
  • March 8, 2004: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Cites Lupton Truck Stop for Violations of State Environmental Laws
  • March 4, 2004: ADEQ and U.S. Forest Service to Update Status of Turkey Creek Study and Cleanup Project

April 1 Marks Start of Summer Ozone Season

PHOENIX (March 31, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Maricopa County Department of Environmental Services, Valley Metro and Maricopa Association of Governments today announced the start of the summer Clean Air Campaign, which calls on Valley residents and businesses to limit their use of automobiles to reduce the formation of ground-level ozone, a colorless odorless gas that is harmful to the human respiratory system.

Ground-level ozone is produced by the intense heating of chemical compounds and vehicle exhaust emissions during the summer months. Bright sunlight, high temperatures, traffic congestion and the surrounding mountains create perfect conditions for the formation of ground-level ozone pollution in the Valley.

Children, senior citizens and those with respiratory illnesses are considered most at risk from exposure to ground-level ozone pollution. These individuals can experience chest pain and coughing when exposed to relatively low ozone levels during periods of moderate exertion.

"Contributing to clean air is everyone's responsibility," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens. "Only by working together to reduce driving and limit other pollution sources in the Valley during the summer months can we hope to limit the harmful effects of ozone on our children and families."

"Health studies continue to provide evidence of the harmful effects from exposure to ozone on children, senior citizens and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma or chronic lung disease," said Dr. Art Mollen, chairman of this year's Clean Air Campaign. "These effects include shortness of breath, and in some cases permanent damage to the respiratory system."

Although Arizona boasts one of the nation's most stringent vehicle emissions inspection programs and also requires cleaner burning fuel to be used during the summer months, vehicle emissions remain by far the largest contributor to ozone forming emissions in the Valley.

Owens and the other Clean Air Campaign partners are asking Valley residents to use an alternate mode of transportation - such as carpooling, riding the bus or telecommuting - at least one day each week during the summer months as a way to reduce miles driven and promote cleaner, healthier air.

Taking steps to reduce or eliminate single occupant vehicle trips when an ozone High Pollution Advisory has been issued is crucial to avoid violations of federal air quality standards.

Other steps Valley residents and businesses can take top reduce ozone-forming emissions are:

  • Walking or bicycling to reduce driving, especially on hot summer days.
  • Minimizing the use of gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment during daylight hours, and being careful not to spill fuel.
  • Waiting to fuel vehicles in the cooler evening hours.
  • Making sure your vehicle's tires are properly inflated and the wheels aligned.
  • Participating in your local utility's energy conservation programs.
  • Sealing containers of household cleaners, workshop chemicals and solvents, and garden chemicals to prevent vapors from escaping.

Valley employers contribute to cleaner air through their participation in Maricopa County's Trip Reduction Program, which asks employers to reduce the number of vehicles driven to work when ozone concentrations are expected to exceed air quality standards.

Throughout the summer, ADEQ will continue to issue weekly and daily air quality forecasts to advise those in sensitive groups, the general public and the news media about forecasted ozone concentrations. These forecasts, along with a map of the monitoring network, are available on ADEQ's Web site and also by telephone at (602) 771-2367.

When high levels of ground-level ozone are expected, ADEQ will issue High Pollution Advisories, alerting the news media, Valley Metro and other agencies about the need to activate their trip reduction programs.

Residents who want more information about alternative forms of transportation and rideshare programs should call Valley Metro at (602) 262-RIDE (7433).

Valley Metro also has an online rideshare matching system to ease the process of finding a carpool, vanpool or bike-riding buddy. 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.

The Maricopa County Environmental Services Department will report ADEQ's daily ozone forecast along with a map of air monitoring sites on its Web site.

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ADEQ to Update Status of Tonto Creek and Christopher Creek TMDL Studies

PHOENIX (March 30, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality will hold a meeting Wednesday, April 14, 2004 to update community members on the status of water quality studies currently underway for Tonto Creek and Christopher Creek near Payson.

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 14, 2004, at 7 p.m. at the Payson Public Library, 328 North McLane, in Payson, Arizona.

ADEQ officials have been studying Tonto and Christopher Creek due to recorded exceedances of surface water standards for Escherichia coli bacteria. The Escherichia coli standard is considered the maximum amount of the bacteria that can safely be in a water body where humans have regular contact - such as swimming or other recreational uses.

Tonto Creek is also being studied due to exceedances of nitrogen standards, which may have impacts on fish and other aquatic wildlife in the stream.

These studies, known as Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) analyses, identify possible sources of contamination and attempt to quantify maximum allowable amounts of pollutants in surface water. Ultimately, the study will determine the maximum amount of Escherichia coli and nitrogen that the streams can withstand while still meeting surface water quality standards.

ADEQ is soliciting public comments concerning draft Escherichia coli and nitrogen analyses for these streams and will use this meeting as an opportunity to translate the technical analysis of pollutants into information that the public can use. Key stakeholders in the Tonto Creek area will provide input and advice to ADEQ officials in determining best strategies to achieve needed pollutant reductions.

For more information, contact Diana Marsh of ADEQ at (602) 771-4545 or toll free (800) 234-5677. More information on the TMDL program can be accessed from ADEQ's website.

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ADEQ Teams with Arizona Little Leagues to Promote Recycling at Ball Fields

PHOENIX (March 10, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ has begun a new pilot project to team up with Arizona Little Leagues to promote recycling at Little League baseball games across the state.

Under the project ADEQ will provide Little League teams with funding for banners promoting recycling that will be hung on outfield fences and backstops at their ball fields. The department also will provide containers for recycling plastic bottles, aluminum cans and other recyclable materials at the fields.

"This project is a great way to involve young people in recycling, promote ADEQ's recycling efforts and help keep ball fields clean," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens. "The largest amount of litter at ball fields is recyclable materials like plastic bottles and aluminum cans."

ADEQ has mailed information explaining the program and the available funding to Little League administrators. Little Leagues interested in obtaining grant funding and participating in the project should contact Tammy Shreeve, manager of ADEQ's recycling program, at (602) 771-4171 or toll free at (800) 234-5677.

Applications for funding will be accepted through March 31, 2004.

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ADEQ Director Steve Owens Cites Lupton Truck Stop for Violations of State Environmental Laws

PHOENIX (March 8, 2004) Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that the department has cited Speedy's Truck Stop Inc., in Lupton for seven violations of Arizona's laws governing the safe disposal of solid and hazardous waste.

The violations resulted from an inspection conducted by ADEQ Feb. 24, during which officials discovered undocumented 55-gallon drums overflowing contaminated liquids onto the ground, chemicals spilling directly from leaking pipes onto the ground, piles of uncovered gasoline-contaminated soil, and waste sludge being dumped on adjacent property. ADEQ conducted the inspection at the request of the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency.

"These are serious violations of Arizona's environmental laws," Owens said. "Based on what our inspectors witnessed, the place is literally a dumping ground for waste."

Owens said the facility operator must correct and document the most serious violations - the overflowing drums, leaking pipes and uncovered piles of contaminated soil - within five days. ADEQ also has given the facility operator specified deadlines in which to address the other violations, one of which is the completion of a plan to clean up the site within 45 days.

Owens also said ADEQ will seek an injunction against the facility to immediately address the violations.

Speedy's Truck Stop is located on Interstate 40 about a mile west of Arizona's border with New Mexico.

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ADEQ and U.S. Forest Service to Update Status of Turkey Creek Study and Cleanup Project

PHOENIX (March 4, 2004) The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, will hold a public meeting to update community members on the status of the Turkey Creek water quality study and a cooperative cleanup project.

The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 23, 2004, at 7 p.m. at the Bumble Bee Ranch in Bumble Bee, Arizona.

As part of the update, ADEQ will present recent data collected on Turkey Creek and solicit feedback on several possible computer models which might be used for the final study addressing cadmium, copper, lead, and zinc levels in the watershed. Representatives from the U.S. Forest Service will also detail the proposed Turkey Creek environmental cleanup project.

Turkey Creek is listed as impaired because surface water standards have been exceeded for cadmium, copper, lead, and zinc. These standards were established to protect aquatic life and wildlife that may come into contact with the creek. ADEQ has been studying Turkey Creek to identify possible sources of the contamination, and steps that may be necessary to mitigate pollutant sources.

The study, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) 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 various metals the stream can withstand while still meeting surface water quality standards. A plan will also be developed to achieve acceptable pollutant loadings described in the analysis.

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

Additional information on the Forest Service's role in the remediation can be obtained by contacting Devin Wanner, public affairs specialist for the Prescott National Forest at (928) 443-8090.

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