Newsroom: Press Release Archive: September 2004
  • Sept. 28, 2004: Auditor General Recommends Continuation of ADEQ
  • Sept. 27, 2004: ADEQ Hosting Arsenic Technology Fair for Arizona Water Systems
  • Sept. 24, 2004: ADEQ to Conduct Soil Vapor Testing in Silver Creek Community in Tucson
  • Sept. 22, 2004: ADEQ Director Owens Says Phoenix Metro Area Designated as Meeting Carbon Monoxide Standard
  • Sept. 13, 2004: ADEQ Proposes Draft Permit for Refinery in Yuma County
  • Sept. 9, 2004: ADEQ Issues Notice of Violation to Aero Spring for Toxic Cloud
  • Sept. 8, 2004: ADEQ Issues Violations for Asbestos Dumping
  • Sept. 7, 2004: ADEQ Issues Ozone Health Watch for Phoenix Metropolitan Area

Auditor General Recommends Continuation of ADEQ

PHOENIX (Sept. 28, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today applauded the work of the Arizona Auditor General in recommending the continuation of ADEQ as the state's environmental regulatory agency.

The Auditor General issued its Sunset Factors performance audit of ADEQ today for submission to the legislature. The legislature will rely on the report in its consideration next spring of whether to reauthorize ADEQ under its sunset legislation. After reviewing ADEQ operations the auditors conclude there is a "continued need" for the agency.

The fourth and final report on the department recognizes that ADEQ is "effective in meeting its overall objective and purpose," acknowledging the progress being made in protecting Arizona's groundwater supply by issuing Aquifer Protection Permits, reforming the underground storage tank clean-up fund and ensuring that large potential sources of air pollution are operating in compliance with Arizona's environmental laws. The audit report finds that termination of ADEQ "would significantly harm the public's health, safety and welfare ...."

"Continuation of ADEQ is absolutely essential to the protection of public health and the environment in Arizona," Owens said. "We appreciate the Auditor General recognizing our effectiveness in protecting the people of Arizona and our precious natural resources."

ADEQ recently underwent performance audits of its Air Quality, Water Quality and Waste Programs divisions.

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ADEQ Hosting Arsenic Technology Fair for Arizona Water Systems

PHOENIX (Sept. 27, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ will host an Arsenic Technology Fair from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, September 29 at the Centennial Hall in Mesa.

The fair will be hosted by ADEQ's Safe Drinking Water section and is part of ADEQ's ongoing efforts to educate water systems in the state about the requirements of the new federal arsenic standard. The fair will bring together representatives from public water systems around the state with vendors and manufacturers of arsenic treatment technologies. Water systems will have an opportunity to learn more about the various treatment technologies available for bringing their drinking water supplies into compliance with the new standard.

"Public water systems across Arizona will have to be in compliance with the new standard by January 2006, less than 16 months from now," Owens said. "Bringing these water systems together with treatment technology businesses will help smaller systems better understand which technologies would be most appropriate and cost effective for their particular system."

The new federal arsenic standard of 10 parts per billion for public water systems, announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in October 2001, goes into effect on Jan. 23, 2006.

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ADEQ to Conduct Soil Vapor Testing in Silver Creek Community in Tucson

PHOENIX (Sept. 24, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ will conduct environmental testing of soil vapor within the Silver Creek I and II subdivisions in Tucson to assess the extent to which volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may be present in the soil in the area.

The sampling will begin on October 4 and will take approximately 10 working days to complete.

ADEQ decided to conduct this sampling after VOCs were found in soil vapor samples taken by Kinder Morgan over the summer. Soil vapors are the gaseous elements and compounds that fill the small spaces between soil particles.

Owens said that ADEQ believes the soil vapors are unrelated to the Kinder Morgan pipeline rupture that occurred last year which contaminated soil and groundwater elsewhere in the area.

"We are taking these samples to verify and expand upon the Kinder Morgan data so we can evaluate the extent to which VOCs may be present, determine the reason they may be there, and, if necessary, develop an appropriate cleanup plan," Owens said.

Owens stressed that there is no immediate risk to the residents in the area and that the sampling is being conducted simply as a precaution at this time.

ADEQ will hold an informational meeting about the planned soil vapor testing on Saturday, October 2, at the El Rio Neighborhood Center, 1390 W. Speedway Blvd. in Tucson from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The public is invited.

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ADEQ Director Owens Says Phoenix Metro Area Designated as Meeting Carbon Monoxide Standard

PHOENIX (Sept. 22, 2004) -- ADEQ Director Steve Owens today announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to redesignate the Phoenix metropolitan area as having attained the federal health standard for carbon monoxide.

Despite unprecedented growth and development, the Phoenix area has not violated the carbon monoxide standard during the previous seven years. The proposed redesignation recognizes the numerous efforts being made to improve air quality in the Valley.

"This is another sign that the efforts we are making to improve air quality in the Phoenix area are working," ADEQ Director Owens said. "The usage of cleaner burning gasoline, a highly effective vehicle emissions program and other efforts are leading to cleaner air in the Valley."

The proposed redesignation decision comes on the heels of the report by the Arizona Auditor General last week that found that ADEQ's efforts are improving Arizona's air quality. That report credited ADEQ for the "major strides" that have been made recently to improve air quality in the Valley and throughout the state, including ADEQ's efforts to ensure that pollution sources are in compliance with the law and taking appropriate enforcement action against those facilities that violate clean air standards in Arizona.

The proposed redesignation is finalized after a 30-day comment period and publication in the Federal Register.

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ADEQ Proposes Draft Permit for Refinery in Yuma County

PHOENIX (Sept. 13, 2004) --Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ has proposed a draft permit for a proposed refinery that would be located 40 miles east of Yuma, near the community of Tacna.

The refinery, proposed by Arizona Clean Fuels, 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.

If constructed, the proposed permit would ensure that emissions from the proposed refinery, on a per unit of product basis, would be significantly less than the actual emissions from any other existing petroleum refinery in the United States. The permit would require the use of state-of-the-art technology and work practice standards that ensure that the proposed refinery, if constructed, would be the lowest-emitting, fully integrated petroleum refinery in the nation. In addition, actual emissions from the refinery likely will be less than the allowable levels set in the permit.

"This permit requires the toughest pollution controls ever imposed on a refinery," said Owens. "The permit will ensure the citizens of Yuma County would be protected from emissions from the refinery and that this would be the cleanest refinery ever built."

ADEQ will hold a series of public meetings to inform the public about the details of the draft permit for the proposed refinery. The first meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 5, in Wellton at the Antelope High School. On Wednesday, Oct. 6, a public meeting will be held in Phoenix at the Phoenix Museum of History, and the third public meeting will be in Yuma on Thursday, Oct. 7, at the Mary A. Otondo Elementary School. All public meetings will begin at 6 p.m. Spanish language translation services will be available. ADEQ also will hold a series of formal public hearings on the draft permit in November.

The public comment period will close Monday, Nov. 29, 2004. Questions concerning this draft permit should be directed to Eric Massey or Trevor Baggiore, ADEQ Air Quality Division, 1110 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007 or by phone at (602) 771-2288.

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ADEQ Issues Notice of Violation to Aero Spring for Toxic Cloud

PHOENIX (Sept. 9, 2004) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced the issuance of a notice of violation to Aero Spring and Manufacturing for a nitric acid vapor release at their facility near 32nd Street and Broadway in Phoenix on June 28 which led to a neighborhood evacuation.

A chemical reaction caused by ineffective neutralization of used nitric acid in a rinse tank at the facility resulted in a release of vapors into the ambient air causing an "orange cloud" in the area that led to the evacuation. ADEQ's Emergency Response Unit responded to the situation at the request of the Phoenix Fire Department and was immediately on site providing technical assistance.

The notice is the first step in ADEQ's enforcement action, which could include possible monetary penalties, resulting from the release and outlining the company's requirements. The notice also requests all information related to hazardous waste storage at the company's headquarters.

"Any event which leads to a neighborhood evacuation is extremely serious, especially one involving toxic nitric acid vapors," Owens said. "We want to assure the community that we will hold the responsible parties accountable.";

ADEQ has given the company 15 days to provide the information requested.

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ADEQ Issues Violations for Asbestos Dumping

PHOENIX (Sept. 8, 2004) -- ADEQ Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ has issued notices of violation against three companies and two individuals for their roles in the disposal of more than 1,000 bags of asbestos-containing material that were illegally dumped earlier this year at a site southwest of Yuma.

The companies named in the notices are:

  • International Environmental Corporation
  • Southwest Hazard Control, Inc.
  • Environmental Management Consultants

The companies were cited for improperly disposing of asbestos-containing waste material. International Environmental Corporation and Southwest Hazard Control, Inc. are contractors that removed asbestos-containing waste materials from building renovation projects in Maricopa County. Environmental Management Consultants operated a laboratory at which asbestos-containing waste material was generated.

The individuals named in the notices are:

  • Mr. Pete Auza
  • Mr. San Pedro Martinez

ADEQ's investigation of this matter discovered that Mr. Martinez, whose company had been hired to transport the asbestos-containing waste material, sold four trailers filled with the material to Mr. Auza, who then instructed his employees to dispose of the material on the private property where the waste material was subsequently discovered.

The violations cover the improper handling and disposal of asbestos-containing waste.

"This was one of the most flagrant violations of Arizona's environmental laws that we have seen" Owens said. "We conducted a complete investigation of this illegal disposal and are now taking enforcement action against the responsible parties."

The bags of asbestos-containing material were discovered on private property near Avenue D and 11th Street in April by the owner of the property, who notified local officials. ADEQ conducted an investigation to find the parties responsible for the illegal disposal. The issuance of these notices of violation is the outcome of that investigation.

The removed waste was transported to Copper Mountain Landfill in Wellton, which is permitted and equipped to store asbestos.

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ADEQ Issues Ozone Health Watch for Phoenix Metropolitan Area

PHOENIX (Sept. 7, 2004) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued an Ozone Health Watch for the Phoenix metropolitan area for Wednesday, Sep. 8, as ground-level ozone concentrations are expected to approach national air quality standards.

ADEQ suggests children, senior citizens, and those with respiratory illnesses reduce or reschedule any outdoor activity on Wednesday. ADEQ forecasters expect ozone levels to be highest during late afternoon hours.

On Monday ongoing easterly winds contributed to a further increase in maximum ozone concentrations and forecasts indicate that winds aloft and near the surface will continue to favor that direction through at least Thursday. Very little in the way of cloud cover is expected Wednesday and Thursday and a strong daytime warming trend will occur as an upper level high shifts overhead. Outflow winds from monsoon storms over southwest Arizona could be a mitigating factor in local ozone production.

For daily air quality forecasts, visit ADEQ's web site.

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