Newsroom: Press Release Archive: June 2005
  • June 30, 2005: ADEQ Issues Smoke Advisory for Northern Maricopa County & Southern Yavapai County
  • June 30, 2005: ADEQ Issues Smoke Advisory for Northwestern Gila County
  • June 30, 2005: ADEQ Gives $100,000 to Border School District to Limit Children's Exposure to Harmful Diesel School Bus Emissions
  • June 28, 2005: ADEQ Monitoring Smoke from the Cave Creek Complex Fire in Payson, Pine and Strawberry
  • June 27, 2005: ADEQ Funds Project to Use Internet to Facilitate Recycling
  • June 23, 2005: Innovative Waste Utilization Drops Appeal of Permit Revocation
  • June 23, 2005: ADEQ Monitoring Smoke from the Cave Creek Complex Fire
  • June 22, 2005: ADEQ School Bus Idling Pilot Program Deemed a Major Success
  • June 21, 2005: ADEQ Extends High Pollution Advisory to Wednesday, June 22
  • June 20, 2005: ADEQ Issues High Pollution Advisory for Tuesday, June 21
  • June 20, 2005: ADEQ Offering Water Quality Improvement Grants
  • June 17, 2005: ADEQ to Spearhead Effort to Protect the Colorado River
  • June 16, 2005: ADEQ Reaches Settlement for Speedway Sewage Spill and Other Violations with Pima County
  • June 15, 2005: ADEQ Extends High Pollution Advisory to Thursday, June 16
  • June 15, 2005: ADEQ to Help Mesa Convert Abandoned Lot Into Neighborhood Park
  • June 14, 2005: ADEQ Issues High Pollution Advisory for Wednesday, June 15
  • June 8, 2005: Arizona and Four Other Western States Surpass Regional Haze Reduction Goal
  • June 6, 2005: ADEQ Seeks Recycling Proposals
  • June 2, 2005: ADEQ Announces $100,000 Penalty for Violations Relating to Cyanic Gas Release at Metco Facility

ADEQ Issues Smoke Advisory for Northern Maricopa County & Southern Yavapai County

PHOENIX (June 30, 2005) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality in coordination with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has issued a smoke advisory for northern Maricopa County and southern Yavapai County.

Smoke began moving into neighborhoods in Anthem, north Phoenix, portions of northern Maricopa County and southern Yavapai County this morning. If current conditions persist, elevated levels of smoke would occur in those communities during the early morning hours before 9a.m., with levels declining thereafter.

ADEQ is recommending that local residents avoid outdoor activities during those periods.

"People with asthma and other respiratory problems should use care during those morning hours. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updated information to the public as soon as it becomes available," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens.

Smoke levels will depend greatly on local wind conditions.

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ADEQ Issues Smoke Advisory for Northwestern Gila County

PHOENIX (June 30, 2005) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality in coordination with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has issued a smoke advisory for northwestern Gila County.

Weather conditions are bringing smoke into neighborhoods in Payson, Pine and Strawberry. If current conditions persist, elevated levels of smoke would occur in those communities during the late afternoon and early evening hours, with levels declining thereafter.

ADEQ is recommending that local residents avoid outdoor activities during those periods, especially people with respiratory problems.

"People with asthma and other respiratory problems should use great care during the late afternoon and early evening hours. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updated information to the public as soon as it becomes available," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens.

Smoke levels will depend greatly on local wind conditions.

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ADEQ Gives $100,000 to Border School District to Limit Children's Exposure to Harmful Diesel School Bus Emissions

PHOENIX (June 30, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ has awarded $100,000 to the Santa Cruz Valley school district to convert school buses to cleaner-burning fuels and reduce the exposure of school children in the district to harmful diesel emissions.

Under the two-year program, ADEQ will help the district reduce harmful emissions by adapting older school buses to burn a cleaner form of diesel known as ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.

"Diesel emissions are among the most harmful air pollutants that children are exposed to," Owens said. "Converting buses to run on ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel will help limit exposure to one of the worst environmental triggers for asthma and other respiratory diseases, especially for children and other vulnerable people."

The Santa Cruz district serves Rio Rico, Arizona, identified by the Border 2012 Children's Environmental Health Task Force as part of a region where particulate matter emissions are a major contributor to asthma. Almost 300 students in the district are known to have asthma, and the condition is thought to be underdiagnosed.

The project includes taking inventory of existing school buses, determining the type of device needed to adapt each bus, and tracking mileage and fuel consumption for the converted buses. For some makes and models of buses, biodiesel might be blended with the ultra-low sulfur fuel. The program also calls for binational outreach and education efforts in the community.

"This project will also contribute to our efforts to reduce air pollution along the Arizona-Mexico border," Owens added.

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ADEQ Monitoring Smoke from the Cave Creek Complex Fire in Payson, Pine and Strawberry

PHOENIX (June 28, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens today announced that air quality monitoring equipment has been deployed in Payson, Pine and Strawberry to monitor ambient air quality northeast of the Cave Creek Complex Fire.

Current wind forecasts are predicting potential impacts from smoke to the three Gila County communities.

"We are monitoring air quality to keep track of any significant impact from the smoke and notify the public immediately if it poses a risk to area residents," Owens said. "We want to make sure that we take every precaution to protect area residents from any potential health effects from the smoke."

ADEQ's monitoring equipment will collect and assess data for particulate matter, a major air pollutant found in wildfire smoke.

Air quality monitoring is ongoing in the Carefree area where equipment was deployed last week.

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ADEQ Funds Project to Use Internet to Facilitate Recycling

PHOENIX (June 27, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ has awarded a $32,300 recycling contract to help establish a web-based material exchange system designed to help reduce waste and divert usable materials from landfills.

Similar to eBay, the Arizona Resources Exchange (AZReX) allows users to post materials for exchange or search the site for items they need. The system was developed by Arizona Environmental Strategic Alliance, a nonprofit public-private environmental partnership, and Earth 911, an Arizona-based company that operates an information network for solid-waste resources.

"ADEQ is pleased to fund this innovative program to help reduce the amount of waste going into landfills," said Owens. "This site will help to create a market for reusable and recyclable materials. It's good for business and good for the environment."

AZReX accepts only non-hazardous waste materials for posting on the site. Items include packing and containers, construction materials, electronics, landscaping, fabrics, equipment and machinery, office furniture and equipment, scrap metals, vehicles, paints and most other reusable items.

The site features an e-mail alert that can notify AZReX users when something they are looking for is posted. Users then can contact the owner of the posted material and negotiate the exchange.

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Innovative Waste Utilization Drops Appeal of Permit Revocation

PHOENIX (June 23, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens announced today that Innovative Waste Utilization (IWU) has abandoned its effort to overturn ADEQ's revocation of the company's hazardous waste permit which shutdown the company's South Phoenix facility in February 2003.

ADEQ revoked IWU's permit and ordered IWU to cease operations at its hazardous waste collection facility in South Phoenix on Feb. 26, 2003 after law enforcement officials arrested several employees at the facility on various drug-related charges associated with the illegal removal and distribution of drug lab waste being processed at the facility. IWU's action means that the facility will remain closed.

In December 2004 an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) rejected IWU's administrative appeal of ADEQ's decision. The ALJ stated that the testimony and exhibits presented at the hearing on IWU's administrative appeal "demonstrate overwhelmingly that ADEQ had ample and substantial evidence upon which to conclude that IWU has violated its hazardous waste permit when its employees repeatedly removed and diverted drug lab waste...and reintroduced that material back into the illegal methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution trade."

In early 2005 IWU appealed ADEQ's action to Superior Court. IWU's action terminates the court appeal.

"We have always been confident that our decision to close the IWU facility would stand," said Director Owens. "IWU's conduct was unacceptable."

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ADEQ Monitoring Smoke from the Cave Creek Complex Fire

PHOENIX (June 23, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that air quality monitoring equipment has been deployed in northeastern Maricopa County to monitor ambient air quality around the Cave Creek Complex Fire.

The fire has consumed more than 30,000 acres and has affected visibility in parts of the northeast Valley.

"We are monitoring air quality to keep track of any significant impact from the smoke and notify the public immediately if it poses a risk to area residents," Owens said. "We want to make sure that we take every precaution to protect area residents from any potential health effects from the smoke."

ADEQ's air quality monitoring equipment will collect and assess data for particulate matter, a major air pollutant found in wildfire smoke.

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ADEQ School Bus Idling Pilot Program Deemed a Major Success

PHOENIX (June 22, 2005) -- With the school year ended, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens is calling ADEQ's Bus Idling Pilot Program a major success. The program was launched in September 2004 to reduce children's exposure to harmful diesel emissions from buses idling near schools. The program is part of ADEQ's Children's Environmental Health Project to reduce environmental risks to children's health.

ADEQ partnered on the program with seven school districts throughout the state for the 2004-2005 school year: Amphitheater (Tucson), Sunnyside (Tucson), Tucson Unified, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Gilbert and Flagstaff.

Idling school buses can expose school children to harmful diesel exhaust on a daily basis, Owens said. Diesel emissions can aggravate respiratory illnesses such as asthma and have been linked to heart and lung disease. One of the primary components of diesel emissions, carbon monoxide, also can reduce alertness and learning capacity in children.

"Our goal is to protect children from exposure to harmful diesel emissions," Owens said. "We are very pleased with the pilot program and appreciate the districts who participated this year."

Key elements of the pilot program include having drivers turn off buses upon reaching a school or other location and not turn on the engine until the vehicle is ready to depart; parking buses at least 100 feet from a school air intake system; and posting appropriate signage advising drivers to limit idling near the school.

School transportation officials had high praise for the program. Marc Lapitt, director of transportation for Amphitheater Public Schools in Tucson, said, "The parents are thrilled, especially the ones whose children walk near the bus. They don't walk through that cloud of smoke like they used to."

Daniel Shearer, director of transportation for the Scottsdale Unified School District, said, "Scottsdale has found the program works very well. The drivers like the idea of less exhaust and are policing themselves, turning off the diesels when stacked up in line. The program has been positively received in the community and we plan to move forward with reduced idling and cleaner air."

Owens added that districts participating in the program have received recognition for their efforts. For example, Dan Shearer (Scottsdale) was given the American Lung Association of Arizona's Clean Air Award, and Marc Lapitt (Amphitheater) received the Clean Cities Coalition's Champion Award.

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ADEQ Extends High Pollution Advisory to Wednesday, June 22

PHOENIX (June 21, 2005) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is extending a High Pollution Advisory through Wednesday, June 22 for the Phoenix metropolitan area due to forecasted ground-level ozone concentrations expected to exceed air quality standards. The advisory is based on forecasts which indicate a combination of near 110-degree daytime temperatures and relatively light winds. There is a High Pollution Advisory currently in effect for today, June 21.

"As temperatures have heated up, we are seeing increased levels of ozone," said ADEQ Director Owens. "Everyone needs to exercise a little extra care and limit their outdoor activities."

ADEQ recommends that children and adults with respiratory problems avoid outdoor activities on Tuesday and suggests that the general public limit outdoor activity throughout the day.

Employers participating in the Valley's Trip Reduction Program should implement their pollution reduction action plans and all Valley motorists should try to reduce ozone-producing emissions by taking the following steps:

  • Car pool, use mass transit, walk, bicycle, telecommute, and/or reduce driving.
  • Fill gasoline tanks after dark, during the cooler evening hours.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn or gardening equipment.

Ground-level ozone pollution is caused by the interaction of sunlight with the many pollutants generated by automobiles, gasoline-powered lawn equipment and other sources.

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

ADEQ has instituted two levels of air quality notification for Valley residents. An Ozone Health Watch alerts sensitive populations (i.e. senior citizens, children, people with respiratory illnesses) that ground-level ozone is expected to approach unhealthy levels and to consider reducing or rescheduling prolonged activity or heavy exertion outdoors, particularly during afternoon hours when ozone concentrations are typically at their highest. ADEQ issues a High Pollution Advisory for ozone when ozone concentrations are expected to exceed air quality standards. When a High Pollution Advisory is issued, participating Valley businesses are directed to implement employee trip reduction measures and all Valley motorists are encouraged to curb ozone production in the Valley by carpooling, utilizing public transportation and telecommuting when possible.

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ADEQ Issues High Pollution Advisory for Tuesday, June 21

PHOENIX (June 20, 2005) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is issuing a High Pollution Advisory for Tuesday, June 21 for the Phoenix metropolitan area due to forecasted ground-level ozone concentrations expected to exceed air quality standards. The advisory is based on forecasts which indicate a combination of near 110-degree daytime temperatures and relatively light winds.

"As temperatures have heated up, we are seeing increased levels of ozone," said ADEQ Director Owens. "Everyone needs to exercise a little extra care and limit their outdoor activities."

ADEQ recommends that children and adults with respiratory problems avoid outdoor activities on Tuesday and suggests that the general public limit outdoor activity throughout the day.

Employers participating in the Valley's Trip Reduction Program should implement their pollution reduction action plans and all Valley motorists should try to reduce ozone-producing emissions by taking the following steps:

  • Car pool, use mass transit, walk, bicycle, telecommute, and/or reduce driving.
  • Fill gasoline tanks after dark, during the cooler evening hours.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn or gardening equipment.

Ground-level ozone pollution is caused by the interaction of sunlight with the many pollutants generated by automobiles, gasoline-powered lawn equipment and other sources.

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

ADEQ has instituted two levels of air quality notification for Valley residents. An Ozone Health Watch alerts sensitive populations (i.e. senior citizens, children, people with respiratory illnesses) that ground-level ozone is expected to approach unhealthy levels and to consider reducing or rescheduling prolonged activity or heavy exertion outdoors, particularly during afternoon hours when ozone concentrations are typically at their highest. ADEQ issues a High Pollution Advisory for ozone when ozone concentrations are expected to exceed air quality standards. When a High Pollution Advisory is issued, participating Valley businesses are directed to implement employee trip reduction measures and all Valley motorists are encouraged to curb ozone production in the Valley by carpooling, utilizing public transportation and telecommuting when possible.

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ADEQ Offering Water Quality Improvement Grants

PHOENIX (June 20, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ is accepting Water Quality Improvement Grant applications in order to allocate &1.5 million for projects that improve water quality throughout Arizona.

Each year ADEQ allocates funding to public and private entities in Arizona through its Water Quality Improvement Grant Program. The funds are provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Section 319(h) of the federal Clean Water Act.

Each applicant must provide 40% in nonfederal matching funds to implement an "on-the-ground" project to improve and protect water quality in Arizona by addressing a nonpoint source of water pollution.

Nonpoint source pollution is the nation's largest source of water quality problems. It occurs when rainfall, melting snow, or irrigation runoff picks up pollutants and deposits them in rivers, lakes or other ground water sources. Agriculture, forestry, grazing, septic systems, recreational boating, urban runoff and construction all contribute to nonpoint source pollution.

"The Water Quality Improvement Grant Program provides much-needed funding at the local level to implement creative approaches to improve watersheds," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens. "Through federal, state and local partnership, we are achieving cleaner, safer waters and ensuring the long-term integrity of Arizona's precious water resources."

The Grant Manual and application forms can be downloaded from ADEQ's Water Quality Improvement Grant Program Web site.

A series of workshops will be held around the state to help those interested applying for a grant learn more about the Water Quality Improvement Grant Program:

  • Phoenix: June 22, 1:30 p.m., ADEQ, 1110 W. Washington St., Conference Room 5100B
  • Show Low: June 29, 2 p.m., City Hall Council Chambers, 200 W. Cooley
  • Tucson: July 13, 1:30 p.m., Tucson-Pima Public Library, Meeting Room Lower Level 1, 101 N. Stone Ave.
  • Sedona: July 27, 1:30 p.m., Red Rock State Park Visitors Center, 4050 Red Rock Loop
  • Safford: August 10, 10 a.m., Graham County General Services Building, 921 Thatcher Blvd.

Please RSVP to Jean Ann Rodine, Grant Coordinator, at (602) 771-4635, (800) 234-5677.

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ADEQ to Spearhead Effort to Protect the Colorado River

PHOENIX (June 17, 2005) -- Under the direction of Governor Janet Napolitano, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ will coordinate the Clean Colorado River Alliance (CCRA). CCRA is a major initiative that brings federal, state and local government officials together with business and community leaders to protect and improve water quality in the Colorado River.

The Alliance, which consists of more than 30 leaders from communities along the River and throughout the state, was launched by the Governor at a meeting in Bullhead City last April. The Governor asked the Alliance to develop recommendations to address existing water quality problems in the Colorado River and lay the groundwork for a regional framework for future water quality protection.

"The Colorado River is the lifeblood of Arizona," Governor Napolitano said. "We are committed to doing everything we can to clean up the River and protect it from contaminants. Director Owens and his staff have the expertise and experience of working through a collaborative process to find solutions to do this job."

In 2004 the Colorado River was named the #1 "Most Endangered River" in the country by American Rivers, based on contamination risks affecting the River.

Owens cited many environmental challenges facing the Colorado River, including contamination from perchlorate, nitrogen, chromium, bacteria, uranium, selenium, sediment and other pollutants.

Owens discussed several initiatives ADEQ is currently implementing to address quality issues in the River, including:

  • Convincing the Department of Energy to move a 12-million-ton pile of uranium tailings near Moab, Utah away from the River and stopping contaminants from polluting the river.
  • Working with California officials to prevent a plume of hexavalent chromium from the Pacific Gas & Electric facility near Needles from contaminating the River and conducting an investigation to determine whether Arizona groundwater supplies have been affected by the plume.
  • Monitoring levels of perchlorate released into the River from the Kerr-McGee plant near Las Vegas.
  • Preventing further nitrate contamination of the River from sewage disposal.

The CCRA will hold several meetings throughout the summer and fall and will present its recommendations and proposed action plan to the Governor in December. The next meeting will take place Friday, June 17 at the Lake Havasu City Council Chambers, beginning at 1p.m.

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ADEQ Reaches Settlement for Speedway Sewage Spill and Other Violations with Pima County

PHOENIX (June 16, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens today announced that the department has reached a settlement totaling $1.3 million with the Pima County Wastewater Management Department for water quality violations in connection with the release of 25-30 million gallons of raw sewage into the Santa Cruz River in September 2002, as well more than 200 other unlawful discharges.

Under the terms of the agreement, Pima County will pay a $500,000 civil penalty and implement an $800,000 Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP). The SEP calls for Pima County to purchase land near its wastewater facilities for wildlife habitat, flood control and other purposes.

"The Speedway discharge was the largest spill of raw sewage in Arizona's history, and there have been other unlawful discharges as well" said ADEQ Director Steve Owens.

Starting on Sept. 7, 2002, raw sewage was discharged for twelve days from the County's Northeast Outfall Interceptor located near Speedway Boulevard in Tucson, resulting in the release of 25-30 million gallons of raw sewage into the Santa Cruz River.

The settlement also covers at least 214 other unlawful releases of raw sewage from the County's system since January 2001 through March 2005.

The settlement was approved by the Superior Court on June 15.

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ADEQ Extends High Pollution Advisory to Thursday, June 16

PHOENIX (June 15, 2005) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is extending a High Pollution Advisory to Thursday, June 16 for the Phoenix metropolitan area due to forecasted ground-level ozone concentrations expected to exceed air quality standards. The advisory is based on forecasts which indicate a combination of near 110-degree daytime temperatures and relatively light winds. A High Pollution Advisory is in place for Wednesday, June 15.

ADEQ recommends that children and adults with respiratory problems avoid outdoor activities on Thursday and suggests that the general public limit outdoor activity throughout the day.

Employers participating in the Valley's Trip Reduction Program should implement their pollution reduction action plans and all Valley motorists should try to reduce ozone-producing emissions by taking the following steps:

  • Car pool, use mass transit, walk, bicycle, telecommute, and/or reduce driving.
  • Fill gasoline tanks after dark, during the cooler evening hours.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn or gardening equipment.

Ground-level ozone pollution is caused by the interaction of sunlight with the many pollutants generated by automobiles, gasoline-powered lawn equipment and other sources.

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

ADEQ has instituted two levels of air quality notification for Valley residents. An Ozone Health Watch alerts sensitive populations (i.e. senior citizens, children, people with respiratory illnesses) that ground-level ozone is expected to approach unhealthy levels and to consider reducing or rescheduling prolonged activity or heavy exertion outdoors, particularly during afternoon hours when ozone concentrations are typically at their highest. ADEQ issues a High Pollution Advisory for ozone when ozone concentrations are expected to exceed air quality standards. When a High Pollution Advisory is issued, participating Valley businesses are directed to implement employee trip reduction measures and all Valley motorists are encouraged to curb ozone production in the Valley by carpooling, utilizing public transportation and telecommuting when possible.

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ADEQ to Help Mesa Convert Abandoned Lot Into Neighborhood Park

PHOENIX (June 15, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced that ADEQ is helping the City of Mesa clean up a contaminated lot near a K-6th grade public school and turn it into a neighborhood park.

ADEQ has awarded a $60,000 grant to the City of Mesa for an environmental assessment of the 4.1 acre parcel, located at 915 South Horne in Mesa, across the street from Holmes Elementary School. The grant was made from federal funds which ADEQ administers.

The City of Mesa wants to buy the lot as part of its plan to revitalize the neighborhood. Mesa needs to complete an environmental assessment before it can purchase the property. Lack of funding for the assessment has prevented negotiations with the lot owner from moving forward.

"ADEQ is pleased to help the City of Mesa this important project," said Owens. "It's an opportunity to transform vacant land into a recreational resource for Mesa families."

The assessment is being done by ADEQ's Recycling and Brown Fields Unit. Brown fields are defined as underused commercial or industrial sites whose potential for redevelopment is complicated by known or suspected contamination with hazardous substances.

A preliminary assessment by Mesa found a clutter of old machinery, fuel dispensing equipment, telephone poles, large drums with unknown contents and underground storage tanks removed from other locations.

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ADEQ Issues High Pollution Advisory for Wednesday, June 15

PHOENIX (June 14, 2005) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is issuing a High Pollution Advisory for Wednesday, June 15 for the Phoenix metropolitan area due to forecasted ground-level ozone concentrations expected to exceed air quality standards. The advisory is based on forecasts which indicate a combination of near 110-degree daytime temperatures and relatively light winds.

ADEQ recommends that children and adults with respiratory problems avoid outdoor activities on Wednesday and suggests that the general public limit outdoor activity throughout the day.

Employers participating in the Valley's Trip Reduction Program should implement their pollution reduction action plans and all Valley motorists should try to reduce ozone-producing emissions by taking the following steps:

  • Car pool, use mass transit, walk, bicycle, telecommute, and/or reduce driving.
  • Fill gasoline tanks after dark, during the cooler evening hours.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn or gardening equipment.

Ground-level ozone pollution is caused by the interaction of sunlight with the many pollutants generated by automobiles, gasoline-powered lawn equipment and other sources.

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

ADEQ has instituted two levels of air quality notification for Valley residents. An Ozone Health Watch alerts sensitive populations (i.e. senior citizens, children, people with respiratory illnesses) that ground-level ozone is expected to approach unhealthy levels and to consider reducing or rescheduling prolonged activity or heavy exertion outdoors, particularly during afternoon hours when ozone concentrations are typically at their highest. ADEQ issues a High Pollution Advisory for ozone when ozone concentrations are expected to exceed air quality standards. When a High Pollution Advisory is issued, participating Valley businesses are directed to implement employee trip reduction measures and all Valley motorists are encouraged to curb ozone production in the Valley by carpooling, utilizing public transportation and telecommuting when possible.

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Arizona and Four Other Western States Surpass Regional Haze Reduction Goal

PHOENIX (June 8, 2005) --Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that Arizona and four other Western states have surpassed their joint goal for achieving significant reductions in annual sulfur dioxide emissions, a major contributor to regional haze.

Owens said that five western states - Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming - worked cooperatively to reduce regional sulfur dioxide emissions from major stationary sources by more than 124,000 tons in 2003. Actual emissions reported by the five states totaled 322,322 tons, or 28% below the 2003 goal of 446,908 tons.

All five states are members of the Western Regional Air Partnership (WRAP), a voluntary organization of western states, tribes and federal agencies that addresses air-quality issues in the West. Arizona is a state leader in WRAP. Governor Janet Napolitano is the co-chair of WRAP, and ADEQ Director Owens helps oversee and direct the WRAP's activities.

"We are working hard to improve visibility in the West," Owens said. "This illustrates that multi-state, regional approaches to regional haze are very effective even as Western states experience unprecedented growth and development. We have to keep moving forward to protect air quality in the West."

Regional haze is defined as visibility impairment that is caused by the emission of air pollutants from numerous sources located over a wide geographic area.

"Through our work with other states in the WRAP, ADEQ is taking a leadership role in improving air quality and shaping regional haze policy in the West," Owens said.

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ADEQ Seeks Recycling Proposals

PHOENIX (June 6, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ is seeking proposals to enhance recycling efforts from private enterprises, political subdivisions and non-profit organizations that serve Arizona communities.

ADEQ provides funding for recycling projects statewide in three major categories:

  • Waste Reduction Assistance (WRA), which funds projects that significantly reduce the solid-waste stream by purchasing recycling equipment and developing the recycling infrastructure.
  • Waste Reduction Initiative Through Education (WRITE), which funds education projects that increase the awareness and use of recycling opportunities and educate the public of the need to reduce, reuse and recycle.
  • Recycling Research & Development (RR&D), which funds feasibility studies, solid waste audits and technology development for source reduction, recycling, composting and other environmentally responsible techniques.

ADEQ has scheduled these conferences for those interested in applying for funding:

  • Friday, June 17, 2005 at 10:00 a.m. at ADEQ's Southern Regional Office, 400 West Congress Street, Suite #444, Tucson, Arizona; (520) 628-6733.
  • Monday, June 20, 2005 at 10:00 a.m. at ADOT Training Facility, 1901 S. Milton Road, Flagstaff, Arizona; (928) 779-7561.
  • Tuesday, June 21, 2005 at 1 p.m. at Arizona Industrial Commission, Auditorium, 800 West Washington Street, Phoenix, Arizona; (602) 771-4133.

To obtain a Request for Proposal (RFP), please visit the ADEQ Contracts and Procurement Web page, or contact the ADEQ Solicitation Coordinator by fax (602) 771-4439; or 1110 W. Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007. All requests must include the RFP number(s), organization and contact person names, mailing address, telephone/fax number and an e-mail address.

The deadline for proposals is July 20, 2005.

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ADEQ Announces $100,000 Penalty for Violations Relating to Cyanic Gas Release at Metco Facility

PHOENIX (June 2, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens today announced that Metco Metal Finishing has agreed to pay a $100,000 penalty for hazardous waste violations at the company's south Phoenix facility, where a toxic-gas release rendered two employees unconscious in late 2003.

On Dec. 2, 2003, a night-shift employee at the Metco facility mixed potassium cyanide with a tank of sulfuric acid, which caused a cloud of poisonous cyanic gas to erupt and leaving two employees unconscious. Both employees were hospitalized after being dragged to fresh air.

ADEQ inspected the facility after the incident and cited Metco for numerous violations, including improper storage, handling, and labeling of hazardous waste; treating, storing, and disposing of hazardous waste without a permit; and failing to protect against the release of hazardous waste that would endanger human health.

"This penalty sends a clear message that careless and improper handling of hazardous waste will not be tolerated," said Owens. "These practices exposed the company's own employees to cyanic gas and potentially put the health and safety of the surrounding community at risk as well."

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