Newsroom: Press Release Archive: April 2005
  • April 25, 2005: ADEQ Prepares for Wildfire Season
  • April 21, 2005: ADEQ Issues First Ozone Health Watch of 2005 for Phoenix Metropolitan Area
  • April 20, 2005: ADEQ Receives Children's Environmental Health Award from EPA
  • April 19, 2005: ADEQ Supports Student Technology Recycling Program
  • April 14, 2005: ADEQ Issues Air Quality Permit for Arizona Clean Fuels Refinery in Yuma County
  • April 8, 2005: ADEQ Issues High Pollution Advisory for Particulate Matter
  • April 7, 2005: Ozone Season Under Way
  • April 6, 2005: ADEQ Director Owens Calls DOE Decision to Move Utah Uranium Tailings Pile 'A Step in the Right Direction'
  • April 4, 2005: ADEQ Awards $10,000 in Grants to Arizona Little League Teams to Promote Recycling
  • April 1, 2005: ADEQ Removes Abandoned Underground Storage Tank in Joseph City

ADEQ Prepares for Wildfire Season

PHOENIX (April 25, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ is taking a number of steps to prepare for wildfire season including purchasing additional air quality monitoring units, coordinating Smoke School training sessions across the state and readying ADEQ's emergency response unit.

ADEQ plays a critical role in wildfire suppression and recovery efforts in the state by monitoring air quality in areas affected by smoke plumes, assisting local incident commanders in handling releases of hazardous materials and pollutants caused by wildfire, and helping local residents and communities recover from fire damage by ensuring clean and safe drinking water, monitoring water quality and facilitating removal of burned trees and debris.

"We are anticipating another severe wildfire season this year," said Director Owens. "ADEQ will be ready to assist communities to help protect them from dangerous air pollutants and other threats caused by wildfires."

During last year's wildfire season, ADEQ's air quality monitoring units were set up near the Willow fire in Gila County and the Nuttall-Complex fire in Graham County. Real-time air quality monitoring results were made available to local governments and community members in order to inform them of any potentially unhealthy levels of smoke in their areas. Owens said that ADEQ has used federal grant money to purchase additional air monitors to ensure that the department has enough equipment for potentially affected areas throughout the state.

Owens added that ADEQ had provided extensive air monitoring in areas affected by the Rodeo-Chediski fire of 2002 and the Aspen fire of 2003, and that after both fires ADEQ worked closely with local residents to ensure a timely and thorough recovery by extending solid waste rules that allowed residents to bury burned trees, and closely monitoring water quality in the affected areas to ensure that safe drinking water was available.

Additional information about ADEQ's wildfire support services and a schedule of Smoke School classes can be accessed here.

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ADEQ Issues First Ozone Health Watch of 2005 for Phoenix Metropolitan Area

PHOENIX (April 20, 2005) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued the first Ozone Health Watch of 2005 for the Phoenix metropolitan area for Friday, April 22 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 Friday.

Ozone levels are expected to increase due to a high pressure system over Arizona, stagnant air conditions and rising temperatures. Maximum ozone concentrations at some locations on Friday may approach the EPA ozone health standard of 85 parts per billion.

"This is first Ozone Health Watch of 2005," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens. "As temperatures increase, so does ozone. Residents should be mindful of the Health Watch when planning activities for Friday."

Ozone levels are expected to peak during the afternoon hours on Friday and ADEQ is recommending that children, the elderly, and those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma limit their outdoor activities or reschedule activities to the nighttime hours to reduce exposure when ozone levels are at their highest. ADEQ further suggests people limit their use of gasoline-powered outdoor equipment such as lawnmowers and leaf blowers, and refuel vehicles after sunset.

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

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ADEQ Receives Children's Environmental Health Award from EPA

PHOENIX (April 20, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ has received an award from the Environmental Protection Agency for ADEQ's Children's Environmental Health Project.

William H. Sanders III, Acting Director of EPA's Office of Children's Health Protection, recognized ADEQ "for their commitment to protecting children from environmental risks, fundamental to making the world a healthier place, now and for future generations."

The Children's Environmental Health Project was launched in 2003. Among other efforts, its accomplishments include launching the successful School Bus Idling Project to encourage school districts to adopt policies and procedures to limit children's exposure to harmful diesel fumes; encouraging school districts to adopt integrated pest management to reduce pesticide use in schools; creating and distributing a manual to help school districts evaluate their drinking water systems for lead; and partnering with a major supermarket to inform the public of children's environmental health risks.

"We are delighted to be recognized by EPA for our efforts to reduce environmental risks to children's health,"Owens said. "Under Governor Napolitano's leadership, Arizona is a leader in children's environmental health protection."

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ADEQ Supports Student Technology Recycling Program

PHOENIX (April 19, 2005) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is helping to promote Computer Recycle Day, Saturday, April 23, when technology users can recycle old equipment at eight Valley locations and participating Staples and Data Doctors stores.

The nonprofit Arizona Students Recycling Used Technology (AZStRUT) Program allows users to dispose of old computers, computer components, hard drives, monitors, mice, printers, scanners, cables and cellphones in a way that benefits schools and non-profit organizations throughout Arizona.

AZStRUT helps students learn new skills by refurbishing the donated equipment and then in turn donating the rebuilt items to local schools and non-profit organizations. This is the fifth consecutive year ADEQ and AZStRUT have worked together to help reduce the burden on landfills.

"With the decreasing life cycle of electronic equipment, programs like AZStRUT have become essential," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens. "AZStRUT takes components with potentially harmful contaminants out of the waste stream, performs a valuable educational service, and gives old equipment useful new lives."

Donations may be tax deductible, and tax slips will be available at all recycling locations:

  • Hamilton High School, 3700 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler
  • Gilbert High School, 1101 E. Elliot Rd., Gilbert
  • Arizona State University (ASU) West, 4701 W. Thunderbird Rd., Glendale
  • The Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
  • Hi-Tech Institute, 1515 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix
  • Red Mountain High School, 7301 E. Brown Rd., Mesa
  • APS Service Center, 16800 N. Dysart Rd., Surprise
  • Tempe High School, 1730 S. Mill Ave., Tempe

Drop-off hours at the above locations are 8 a.m. - noon.

Participating Staples and Data Doctors store locations can be found online.

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ADEQ Issues Air Quality Permit for Arizona Clean Fuels Refinery in Yuma County

PHOENIX (April 14, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ has issued the air quality permit for Arizona Clean Fuels' proposed refinery in Yuma County.

"This is the toughest air quality permit ever proposed for a refinery," said Director Owens. "If constructed, this will be the cleanest refinery ever built."

ADEQ conducted extensive community outreach in conjunction with the permit. The department held several public meetings and hearings in Yuma County late last year and also extended the public comment period earlier this year.

"We wanted to ensure that residents in the area were fully aware of the permitting process and had every opportunity to express their views on the permit," Owens added.

Under Arizona law, the permit is issued for a term of 5 years. However, if Arizona Clean Fuels does not commence construction within 18 months of the effective date of the permit, the permit will expire.

The refinery would be located on approximately 1,450-acres near Tacna 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.

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ADEQ Issues High Pollution Advisory for Particulate Matter

PHOENIX (April 8, 2005) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued a High Pollution Advisory for Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10 due to forecast weather conditions expected to generate levels of coarse particulate matter or dust that could exceed unhealthy levels.

A strong area of low pressure is expected to arrive over Arizona late this evening, which will result in strong winds Saturday and Sunday across much of the state.

The High Pollution Advisory calls for unusually sensitive people -- children, senior citizens, and those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma, to limit their outdoor activities on Saturday and Sunday.

"With things drying out because of warmer temperatures, gusty winds this weekend are expected to stir up a lot of dry soil and dust and may result in unhealthy levels of particulate matter," ADEQ Director Steve Owens said. "As a result we are recommending that people with respiratory problems be mindful of these conditions when planning outdoor activities."

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

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Ozone Season Under Way

PHOENIX (April 7, 2005) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Maricopa County Air Quality Department, 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. "By working together to reduce driving and limit other pollution sources in the Valley during the summer months, we can limit the harmful effects of ozone on our children and families."

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 to reduce ozone-forming emissions are:

  • 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 or 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.

Valley Metro has an online rideshare matching system to ease the process of finding a carpool or vanpool. 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. Those looking for more information regarding Rideshare can contact Susan Tierney at (602) 262-4668.

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ADEQ Director Owens Calls DOE Decision to Move Utah Uranium Tailings Pile 'A Step in the Right Direction'

PHOENIX (April 6, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today welcomed a preliminary announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to relocate a 12-million-ton pile of uranium tailings near Moab, Utah that is contaminating the Colorado River.

Today DOE announced that its "preferred alternative" to clean up the Moab uranium mill tailings site involves moving the tailings pile and other contaminated materials to a storage site elsewhere in Utah. DOE has been considering keeping the tailings in place, a prospect that Owens has strongly opposed. In a letter to DOE in February, Owens objected to leaving the uranium in place and called on DOE to move the tailings pile away from the Colorado River as soon as possible.

Noting that a final decision by DOE on an environmental impact statement about the tailings is due this summer, Owens noted: "The devil will be in the details. This is a step in the right direction, but we will need to make sure that DOE really does the right thing and removes this threat to the Colorado River."

Owens reiterated ADEQ's position: "The continuing threat to the Colorado River and the people who depend on it is unacceptable. The uranium tailings must be moved immediately."

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ADEQ Awards $10,000 in Grants to Arizona Little League Teams to Promote Recycling

PHOENIX (April 4, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ awarded a total of $10,000 to Arizona Little League teams to promote recycling and prevent littering at baseball fields across the state.

Under the Recycling and Litter Control Program, ADEQ will provide 25 Little League teams throughout Arizona with $400 each for banners promoting recycling to be displayed on outfield fences and backstops at their ball fields, and for containers for plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and other recyclable materials at the fields.

"This project has proved itself a great way to involve young people in recycling, promote ADEQ's recycling efforts and help keep ball fields clean" said Owens. "This is a win-win all the way around."

This year's program continues the pilot project from last year, when 12 teams participated. Due to the success of the program the number of participating teams has doubled this year.

The participating Little Leagues are Altar Valley, Apache Junction, Avondale, Cactus, Cactus Foothills North, Coronado, Desert Foothills, Four Peaks, Frontier, Lookout Mountain, Los Ninos, McDowell Mountain, Mt. Elden, Mountain View Girls Softball League, Murphy Field of Dreams, Paradise Valley East, Paradise Valley North, Royal Palm Orangewood, Randolph, Rio Rico, Santa Rita, Thornydale, Thunderbird, Tucson International, and Valley Little League.

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ADEQ Removes Abandoned Underground Storage Tank in Joseph City

PHOENIX (April 1, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ removed an abandoned underground storage tank (UST) in Joseph City under ADEQ's Municipal Tank Closure Program.

The abandoned tank was removed from a UST site located in a vacant lot at 4512 Main St. in Joseph City.

The tank is the first to be removed in the Joseph City area, and the 61st to be removed under the Municipal Tank Closure Program. To date, ADEQ has removed tanks from 17 cities across Arizona.

"The removal of this UST is another step in our effort to clean up abandoned tanks across Arizona," Director Owens said. "Removing these abandoned tanks not only will ensure a safer environment for the future, it also will help communities like Joseph City put these properties back into productive use."

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