Newsroom: Press Release Archive: October 2004
  • Oct. 29, 2004: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces Consent Order and Penalty for Bermuda Water Company
  • Oct. 28, 2004: ADEQ Issues Guidance to Help Schools Protect Against Lead in Drinking Water
  • Oct. 21, 2004: ADEQ Director Owens, Attorney General Goddard Announce $50,000 Fine for Air Pollution Violations
  • Oct. 19, 2004: ADEQ Hosting Forum on Creating Environmentally Healthy Schools
  • Oct. 18, 2004: ADEQ Cites El Paso Natural Gas Company for Asbestos Violations and Will Oversee Cleanup by Company
  • Oct. 15, 2004: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Fines Blacks Mesa Pipeline, Inc. for Coal Slurry Pipeline Leak
  • Oct. 13, 2004: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces Consent Order for UPCO Facility
  • Oct. 4, 2004: ADEQ Hosting Meetings on Proposed Air Quality Permit for Refinery in Yuma County

ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces Consent Order and Penalty for Bermuda Water Company

PHOENIX (Oct. 29, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ and the Bermuda Water Company have entered into a Consent Order requiring Bermuda Water Company to pay a $10,000 penalty and improve their current operating procedures.

The Consent Order signed this week requires Bermuda Water Company to improve its operations by having adequate backup equipment supplies available, installing security measures and creating procedures that will clearly outline the company's operations and ensure that Bermuda has detailed plans for sampling, reporting and community notification.

"This Consent Order will protect residents of the Rainbow Acres community by helping avoid outages by Bermuda Water Company in the future," Owens said. "We are committed to ensuring that Rainbow Acres community members, and all Mohave County residents, have safe and reliable drinking water service."

Earlier this year, Bermuda Water Company experienced an outage which left residents of the Rainbow Acres subdivision near Bullhead City without drinking water for several days. ADEQ issued a Notice of Violation to Bermuda Water in July following the outage at Rainbow Acres for failing to adequately maintain their facilities.

The Consent Order contains reporting requirements to ensure Bermuda Water's compliance. Non-compliance with the Order will subject Bermuda Water Company to additional penalties.

The $10,000 penalty set in the Consent Order must be paid by Bermuda Water Company no later than Nov. 24, 2004.

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ADEQ Issues Guidance to Help Schools Protect Against Lead in Drinking Water

PHOENIX (Oct. 28, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ has developed a guidance manual to help schools throughout the state ensure that there is no potential for lead contamination in their drinking water.

Lead contamination can occur even if a school's water provider is in compliance with drinking water regulations because schools can have extended periods of non-use which may allow lead to leach out of plumbing and water fixtures into water within a building's plumbing systems.

"The best way to be certain that lead is not a problem is to test for its presence and fix any problems that are found," Owens said. "We developed this manual out of an abundance of caution to help schools eliminate potential environmental risks from lead to our kids' health. We wanted to be proactive and get this information out to the schools, rather than waiting for a problem to develop."

The manual was developed by ADEQ with the assistance of several Arizona municipal water providers. The manual outlines a process for assessing a school's plumbing system for potential lead contamination and then collecting drinking water samples for analysis by a licensed laboratory. If the sampling and analysis results conclude there is lead contamination, the manual identifies actions that can be taken to resolve the problem.

ADEQ developed the manual as part of its ongoing Children's Environmental Health Project to protect Arizona children from exposure to environmental health hazards. The manual is a follow-up to the successful "Forum on Creating Environmentally Healthy Schools" held by ADEQ last week in Phoenix.

ADEQ has provided the manual to schools districts throughout the state. Copies of the manual can be obtained from our Web site.

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ADEQ Director Owens, Attorney General Goddard Announce $50,000 Fine for Air Pollution Violations

PHOENIX (Oct. 21, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced a settlement with Equilon Enterprises, LLC, dba Shell Oil Products U.S. for violations of state air pollution control laws at its El Mirage facility. Equilon/Shell has agreed to pay $50,000 in fines for violations that occurred between September 2001 and January 2004.

Equilon/Shell operated a facility that distilled transmix, a mixture of pipeline derived diesel fuel and gasoline, into commercial grade gasoline and diesel fuel, from the time that Equilon/Shell purchased the facility from Valley Refining, LLC, in September 2001 until operations ceased in March 2004.

In May 2002, Equilon/Shell notified ADEQ that there were excess emissions standards from the facility caused by the improper operation and maintenance of internal floating roofs on gasoline and transmix storage tanks designed to control the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The improper operation and maintenance practices originally used by Valley Refining, LLC, were continued by Equilon/Shell until April 2002. ADEQ officials estimate that 11.8 tons of uncontrolled excess VOCs were emitted to the atmosphere. In May 2003 ADEQ fined Valley Refining $75,000 for these violations.

"These are serious violations of Arizona's air quality laws that put the health and safety of our citizens at risk," Owens said. "We are committed to vigorous enforcement of our air quality laws to protect our children and families."

The settlement includes the requirement that Equilon/Shell or any prospective purchaser install alarms on emergency pressure relief bypass valves on storage tanks to detect potential excess VOC emissions, and conduct inspections of the facility's flare to ensure self-ignition and proper operation as a VOC emissions control device.

"This case is a good example of how the self-reporting program should work," Goddard said. "The company brought the violations to the state's attention; fixed the problem, and agreed to fines appropriate with the seriousness of the violations."

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ADEQ Hosting Forum on Creating Environmentally Healthy Schools

PHOENIX (Oct. 19, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ is hosting a "Forum on Creating Environmentally Healthy Schools" from 8:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. this Friday, October 22 in the Governor's Reception Room on the second floor of the State Capitol Executive Tower in Phoenix.

The forum will feature expert speakers in the field of environmental health in schools who will address ways to reduce risks to children in the design and operation of schools. Speakers and panel members will also discuss strategies for reducing asthma triggers in schools, preventing children's exposure to harmful diesel emissions from school buses and curtailing pesticide use at schools.

"Children in Arizona spend a lot of time each day in school, and we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to reduce the environmental risks to their health during a typical school day," Owens said.

The forum is open to the public, and there is no cost to attend.

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ADEQ Cites El Paso Natural Gas Company for Asbestos Violations and Will Oversee Cleanup by Company

PHOENIX (Oct. 18, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ has cited El Paso Natural Gas Company (EPNG) for asbestos waste violations in connection with a pipeline construction project near Bullhead City.

ADEQ issued Notices of Violation to the company for improper handling of asbestos material, generating illegal emissions of asbestos containing materials, and for not having personnel on site who were properly trained to deal with asbestos materials during the construction project.

Owens said that ADEQ is requiring EPNG to clean up and dispose of the asbestos waste and that ADEQ personnel will be on-site to oversee the cleanup by the company beginning today, Monday, October 18.

"El Paso Natural Gas has no excuse for violating the law," Owens stated. "ADEQ staff will be on-site to ensure that the asbestos is properly removed and disposed of."

Owens added that EPNG could be subject to further enforcement action upon conclusion of ADEQ's investigation of the situation.

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ADEQ Director Steve Owens Fines Blacks Mesa Pipeline, Inc. for Coal Slurry Pipeline Leak

PHOENIX (Oct. 15, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ has fined Black Mesa Pipeline, Inc., $27,500 for another release from the company's coal slurry pipeline that runs across northern Arizona. This is the latest in a series of fines that ADEQ has levied against the company for failure to control discharges from the pipeline.

"Although Black Mesa has made progress improving the operations of its pipeline, we continue to be concerned about Black Mesa's inability to prevent discharges from the pipeline," Owens said. "This is a very serious matter."

Black Mesa entered into a consent decree in 2001 with ADEQ and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that required the company to pay a $128,000 fine at that time for discharges that occurred prior to 2001, to clean up environmental damage caused by the spills and to take steps to prevent further discharges from the pipeline. Pursuant to the stipulated penalties clause in the consent decree, the company also has paid another $229,250 in penalties for its failure to prevent discharges that have occurred since 2001.

This latest $27,500 fine is the amount stipulated in the consent decree for a new discharge and has been levied against Black Mesa for a discharge of 2300 wet tons of coal slurry that occurred on Aug. 21, 2004. Black Mesa recently reported the discharge to ADEQ as required by the consent decree. The fine must be paid by Oct. 31, 2004.

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ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces Consent Order for UPCO Facility

PHOENIX (Oct. 13, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ and Universal Propulsion Company (UPCO) have entered into a Consent Order requiring UPCO to clean up contaminated soil and groundwater at the company's north Phoenix facility and cease open burning of hazardous materials at the facility.

"This Consent Order will ensure that UPCO cleans up the contamination at this facility and complies with the requirements of Arizona's environmental laws," ADEQ Director Owens said. "We are committed to ensuring that UPCO's operations do not pose a risk to residents in the area."

Earlier this year, tests revealed that groundwater at the facility is contaminated with perchlorate. Since that time, at ADEQ's direction, UPCO has installed groundwater monitoring wells, conducted additional testing and sampled the drinking water wells of nearby residents.

The Consent Order signed yesterday requires UPCO to submit monitoring and remediation plans to ADEQ and provides that ADEQ will determine the clean-up method to be used at the site after reviewing the plans submitted by UPCO.

The Consent Order also prohibits UPCO from conducting open burns at the facility until ADEQ has acted on UPCO's application for a new Open Burn Permit. ADEQ issued a Notice of Violation to UPCO on September 22 for conducting several open burns after its previous permit had expired. Owens said that ADEQ will take enforcement action against UPCO for the violations.

The Consent Order contains reporting and access requirements to ensure UPCO's compliance. Non-compliance with the Order will subject UPCO to civil penalties.

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ADEQ Hosting Meetings on Proposed Air Quality Permit for Refinery in Yuma County

PHOENIX (Oct. 4, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) will hold a series of public meetings to discuss the proposed air quality permit for the Arizona Clean Fuels refinery in Yuma County.

The meetings will be held Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2004, at 6:00 p.m. at Antelope High School in Wellton; Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 6:00 p.m. at the Phoenix Museum of History in Phoenix; and Thursday, Oct. 7 at 6:00 p.m. at Mary A. Otondo Elementary School in Yuma.

The refinery, proposed by Arizona Clean Fuels Yuma, LLC, would be located on an approximately 1,450-acre site and could produce approximately 150,000 barrels per day of motor fuels, including approximately 85,000 barrels per day of motor gasoline, 35,000 barrels per day of diesel fuel and 30,000 barrels per day of jet fuel.

"We want to make sure that area residents have an opportunity to learn more about the proposed air quality permit for this facility and to ask any questions they may have," ADEQ Director Steve Owens said.

This series of public meetings will be followed by a round of public hearings in November.

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