Newsroom: Press Release Archive: September 2005
  • Sept. 29, 2005: ADEQ to Hold Public Meetings on Soil Rule Revisions
  • Sept. 28, 2005: Arizona Climate Change Advisory Group to Meet on September 29
  • Sept. 26, 2005: ADEQ Monitoring Smoke from Naco, Sonora Landfill Fire
  • Sept. 26, 2005: ADEQ Director Owens Announces End to Sewer Hookup Moratorium for Warren
  • Sept. 21, 2005: ADEQ Director Owens Announces that State Superfund Program has Cleaned Up 13.3 Billion Gallons of Groundwater in Fiscal Year 2005
  • Sept. 20, 2005: September 19-23 is Pollution Prevention Week
  • Sept. 19, 2005: ADEQ Director Owens Supports Navajo Nation Request to Administer Clean Water Act
  • Sept. 15, 2005: ADEQ Director Owens Applauds Final Decision by DOE to Move Uranium Tailings Away from Colorado River
  • Sept. 14, 2005: ADEQ Director Owens Announces $95,000 Penalty Against Presto Casting Company for Hazardous Waste Violations
  • Sept. 13, 2005: ADEQ Director Owens Announces Major Expansion of School Bus Idling Program

ADEQ to Hold Public Meetings on Soil Rule Revisions

PHOENIX (Sept. 29, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ will hold two public meetings next month regarding potential revisions to the soil remediation standards rule, which identifies standards for contaminated soil cleanups.

ADEQ will present potential revisions to the rule, review the rule development process and answer questions from the public at these meetings:

  • Phoenix: Oct. 4, 10 a.m.-noon, ADEQ Headquarters, 1110 W. Washington Street, Room 250
  • Tucson: Oct. 5, 1 p.m.-3 p.m., ADEQ Southern Regional Office, 400 W. Congress Street, Room 444

Changes to the rule are being considered that would incorporate new toxicological data to ensure that the standards continue to protect public health and the environment. Other potential changes to the rule would increase protection of children by incorporating tougher cleanup standards for contaminated sites at schools and day care facilities.

"Our goal is to ensure that clean-up standards in the rule protect our children from exposure to toxic substances," said Owens. "We look forward to getting input and comments from the public at these meetings."

The meeting agendas are posted on the ADEQ Web site.

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Arizona Climate Change Advisory Group to Meet on September 29

PHOENIX (Sept. 28, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that the Climate Change Advisory Group (CCAG), appointed by Governor Napolitano to develop recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Arizona, will hold its second meeting on Thursday, Sept. 29, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Salt River Project Administration Building, 1521 N. Project Dr., in Tempe.

Prior to the CCAG meeting, a presentation on the science of climate change will be held from 9:30 - 11 a.m. at the same location. Both the meeting and the presentation are open to the public.

At the meeting, CCAG members will consider a preliminary list of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and identify initial priorities for evaluation and potential application in Arizona.

"Developing recommendations that work for Arizona is key to the CCAG's work," Owens said. "Since the last CCAG meeting a number of working groups have been reviewing a long list of possible steps that might make sense to take here in Arizona to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Recognizing Arizona's interests in continued growth, economic development and energy security, Governor Napolitano established the CCAG in February through Executive Order 2005-02 under the coordination of ADEQ. The 35-member advisory group includes representatives from electric power generation, the fossil fuel industry, manufacturing, mining, agriculture, forestry, construction and building, transportation, tourism and recreation, health care, non-governmental organizations, Indian tribes, state and local government and the general public.

The CCAG has established technical working groups that are evaluating options in the following sectors: Energy Supply; Residential, Commercial and Industrial energy use; Transportation and Land Use practices; and Agriculture and Forestry issues.

The CCAG is to submit to the governor by next summer an action plan with recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Arizona.

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ADEQ Monitoring Smoke from Naco, Sonora Landfill Fire

PHOENIX (Sept. 26, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that air quality monitoring equipment has been deployed in southern Arizona to monitor ambient air quality that may be affected by smoke from the Naco landfill fire in Sonora, Mexico.

The fire was sparked over the weekend at the landfill in Naco, Sonora. Smoke from the fire has been impacting the community of Naco, Arizona.

"We are monitoring air quality to keep track of any significant impact from the smoke and notify the public if it poses a risk to area residents," Owens said. "We want to make sure that we take every precaution to protect border 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 pollutant found in smoke. Owens added that ADEQ is working closely with local officials in Naco, Arizona, Cochise County and Sonora to monitor the status of the fire.

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ADEQ Director Owens Announces End to Sewer Hookup Moratorium for Warren

PHOENIX (Sept. 26, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ has lifted the sewer hookup moratorium for the community of Warren, which is part of Bisbee, in Cochise County.

The moratorium was part of a Consent Order entered into by Bisbee and ADEQ in 1996. The moratorium was placed on new construction in Warren while Bisbee worked to improve the area's public sewer system.

"This is an important step for Bisbee and the community of Warren," said ADEQ Director Owens. "ADEQ and the city have worked closely together for several years to ensure that the community has a wastewater system that will meet the area's needs and protect precious groundwater resources there."

Per the Consent Order, Bisbee was required to build a new wastewater treatment plant, finish construction of a collection system and upgrade its wastewater infrastructure. Bisbee officials advised ADEQ last week that the sewer work was complete in Warren.

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ADEQ Director Owens Announces that State Superfund Program has Cleaned Up 13.3 Billion Gallons of Groundwater in Fiscal Year 2005

PHOENIX (Sept. 21, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that through Arizona's Superfund program, the Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund (WQARF), the State has cleaned up more than 13.3 billion gallons of contaminated groundwater in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2005.

In addition to the 13.3 billion gallons of contaminated groundwater that was treated during Fiscal Year 2005 (July 1, 2004 - June 30, 2005) under the auspices WQARF program, more than 3.2 million pounds of metals, 248.24 tons of soils and 28,572 pounds of volatile organic substances were removed from contaminated sites throughout Arizona.

Under the WQARF program ADEQ identifies, assesses and cleans up soil and groundwater that is contaminated with hazardous substances.

"These cleanup figures show that the WQARF program is continuing to protect the citizens and the environment of our state by cleaning up contaminated groundwater throughout Arizona," Director Owens said. "The prolonged drought has made it even more important that our precious groundwater resources are preserved and protected for future generations of Arizonans."

Owens noted in Fiscal Year 2004 (July 1, 2003 - June 30, 2004) the WQARF program had cleaned up more than 10.5 billion gallons of contaminate groundwater and removed more than 3.3 million pounds of metals, 91.6 tons of soils and 32, 299 pounds of volatile organic substances from contaminated sites throughout Arizona.

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September 19-23 is Pollution Prevention Week

PHOENIX (Sept. 20, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens said today that September 19-23 has been proclaimed Pollution Prevention Week by Governor Napolitano, and highlights the importance of a proactive approach to protecting environmental quality.

Pollution prevention refers to practices that reduce chemical use or hazardous waste generation. Major benefits include improved environmental protection, lower waste handling treatment and disposal costs, raw material and energy conservation cost savings, and a safer and cleaner workplace.

"One of the most important things we can do to protect Arizona's environment and the health and safety of our citizens is to reduce the amount pollution that is created in the first place," Owens said.

Owens noted ADEQ aggressively promotes pollution prevention through a number of programs including Arizona Performance Track, which recognizes and rewards environmental leadership and encourages companies to go above and beyond the minimum requirements of the law.

Owens also highlighted ADEQ's Green Business initiative, a public-private partnership to encourage auto repair shops to reduce hazardous waste and to certify shops that meet environmental protection standards. ADEQ partnered with AAA Arizona to launch the initiative and is helping to guide AAA Arizona in inspecting and certifying.

More information about ADEQ's pollution prevention efforts is available on our web site.

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ADEQ Director Owens Supports Navajo Nation Request to Administer Clean Water Act

PHOENIX (Sept. 19, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens has expressed his strong support of the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency's (NNEPA) request for authority to administer portions of the federal Clean Water Act.

The NNEPA is requesting authority from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to administer Water Quality Standards and Certification Programs under Sections 303 and 401 of the Clean Water Act. Granting of the authority would allow NNEPA to adopt, review and revise water quality standards for all surface waters within the Navajo Reservation.

Director Owens expressed his support for the NNEPA's request in a letter sent to USEPA in late August stating, "ADEQ wholeheartedly supports the Navajo Nation's request."

"Governor Napolitano and I greatly respect the sovereignty of the Navajo Nation, and we have worked closely and cooperatively with the Navajo Nation and the NNEPA to protect Arizona's environment," Owens said.

Last year the NNEPA became the first tribal agency in the country to receive delegated authority to issue air quality permits under the federal Clean Air Act, an action that Owens also strongly supported.

"We will continue to strongly support the Navajo Nation in its efforts to exercise its sovereignty and administer environmental programs," Owens added.

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ADEQ Director Owens Applauds Final Decision by DOE to Move Uranium Tailings Away from Colorado River

PHOENIX (Sept. 15, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today welcomed the final decision by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to move 12 million tons of radioactive uranium tailings away from the Colorado River.

Owens asked DOE to do so in a Feb. 17 letter, when DOE was considering leaving the tailings at their present location, 175 feet from the River.

Owens wrote at the time: "Allowing this ongoing threat to the Colorado River to continue is simply unacceptable. The Department of Energy must remove the uranium tailings now."

Yesterday, as Owens recommended, DOE announced its Record of Decision to move the tailings to a holding site 30 miles away at Crescent Junction, Utah. The decision came after the U.S. Secretary of Energy approved last year's draft proposal to move the tailings. DOE plans to begin the move next spring.

"DOE's final decision is a welcome next step toward removing this ongoing threat to the Colorado River," Owens said. "We will continue to monitor actions by the DOE to ensure that they completely follow-through on this decision."

In 2004, the Colorado River was named the #1 "Most Endangered River" in the country by American Rivers, due in large part to the radioactive waste seeping into the river from the Moab site. According to American Rivers, 110,000 gallons of radioactive groundwater seep into the River each day from the site.

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ADEQ Director Owens Announces $95,000 Penalty Against Presto Casting Company for Hazardous Waste Violations

PHOENIX (Sept. 14, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that Glendale-based aerospace company Presto Casting will pay a $95,000 penalty for illegally treating potentially explosive magnesium fines, or particles.

During a routine inspection in January 2004, ADEQ inspectors caught Presto personnel treating magnesium fines, a reactive hazardous waste, with water in an open dumpster, releasing hydrogen gas.

"This was a dangerous, uncontrolled reaction because the magnesium particles were spilling out of the dumpster and releasing gas," Owens said. "If our inspectors hadn't intervened, this dangerous conduct could well have led to a serious fire or explosion."

Owens added that a second inspection in April 2004 revealed that Presto was still improperly treating the waste magnesium fines. "This was an unacceptable situation," Owens said.

ADEQ issued two Notices of Violation, citing Presto for illegal treatment and disposal of hazardous waste as well as failure to operate the facility in a way to prevent fires and releases, meet container management requirements, provide training to employees and post emergency information.

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ADEQ Director Owens Announces Major Expansion of School Bus Idling Program

PHOENIX (Sept. 13, 2005) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ's School Bus Idling Program, which began last fall with seven Arizona school districts, is expanding to include more than 50 districts in 14 of Arizona's 15 counties for the new school year.

ADEQ launched the program 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.

"The program was a tremendous success in the past year, and it will be an even greater success with all the new districts getting involved with it," said Owens. "We are delighted that so many districts throughout Arizona are committed to protecting our children from harmful diesel emissions."

Districts Participating in ADEQ's School Bus Idling Program for 2005-2006
CountyDistricts
ApacheConcho, Red Mesa, St. Johns, Vernon, Window Rock
CochiseBenson, Bisbee, Pearce, Sierra Vista, Tombstone
CoconinoFlagstaff*, Page
GilaGlobe, Young
GrahamKlondyke, Thatcher
La PazBouse, Salome
MaricopaAgua Fria, Buckeye, Cartwright, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Gilbert*, Glendale High School, Kyrene, Litchfield, Madison, Mobile, Osborn, Pendergast, Phoenix Elementary, Paradise Valley*, Saddle Mountain, Scottsdale*, Wickenburg
MohaveKingman Academy of Learning, Littlefield
NavajoBlue Ridge, Joseph City, Heber-Overgaard, Holbrook, Rainbow
PimaAjo, Amphitheater*, Sahuarita, Sunnyside*, Tucson*, Vail
PinalApache Junction, Mammoth-San Manuel, Oracle, Sacaton
Santa CruzPatagonia, Santa Cruz Valley
YavapaiBeaver Creek, Camp Verde, Cottonwood-Oak Creek, Prescott
YumaAntelope Union, Bicentennial Union, Wellton

*Seven original districts in the pilot program launched last year. These districts are continuing their participation this year.

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.

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.

Owens also noted that because of the skyrocketing cost of diesel fuel, the districts in the program will save money in addition to protecting children's health. "Less idling means less diesel fuel being burned and more taxpayer dollars saved by the districts," Owens said.

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