Newsroom: Press Release Archive: April 2006
  • April 25, 2006: ADEQ Director Owens Awards $258,300 Grant to Gila County for Water Quality Improvement Project
  • April 25, 2006: ADEQ Director Owens Announces Availability of Recycling Grants
  • April 24, 2006: Eligibility for Underground Storage Tank Contamination Cleanup Funds Ending Soon
  • April 19, 2006: ADEQ Director Owens Presents Award to City of Yuma for Participation in Green Auto Shops Program
  • April 19, 2006: ADEQ Participating In Earth Month Celebrations
  • April 19, 2006: ADEQ Adds Nitrates Monitoring to Safe Drinking Water Monitoring Program
  • April 18, 2006: ADEQ Cleaning Up Contaminated Soils in Tucson
  • April 17, 2006: ADEQ Air Quality Permit for Carlota Mine Upheld by Appeals Court
  • April 4, 2006: ADEQ Rule to Limit Toxic Air Pollutants Approved by Regulatory Review Council

ADEQ Director Owens Awards $258,300 Grant to Gila County for Water Quality Improvement Project

PHOENIX (April 25, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that the department has awarded a $258,300 grant to Gila County to fund a water quality improvement project.

The Gila County Division of Health & Community Services will use the grant to continue to replace, repair, and upgrade outdated wastewater systems, such as illegal cesspools, privies and failing septic tanks in the Tonto Creek headwaters and Christopher Creek areas. Several inadequate wastewater systems will be replaced to protect public health, improve the water quality of Tonto Creek and Christopher Creek and protect groundwater in the area.

ADEQ has identified human sewage as a major contributing factor to pollution adversely impacting Tonto Creek and Christopher Creek.

"This grant will help Gila County protect the health and safety of County residents by improving surface water quality and preventing contamination of groundwater," Director Owens said. "We are delighted to support the County in this important effort."

ADEQ Director Steve Owens awarded Gila County with a ceremonial check for the grant today at a meeting of the Gila County Board of Supervisors in Globe.

In 2005, ADEQ awarded Gila County $252,764 to begin the much-needed work on the wastewater systems in the area. The current grant will enable the County to continue its work and protect contamination of water supplies in the area. With the two grants, ADEQ has provided over $511,000 to Gila County for the project in the last two years.

The grants are funded with federal dollars provided to ADEQ under the Clean Water Act.

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ADEQ Director Owens Announces Availability of Recycling Grants

PHOENIX (April 25, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ is seeking proposals to enhance recycling efforts from private enterprises, political subdivisions and nonprofit organizations that serve Arizona communities.

"The purpose of this grant program is to help communities take action at the local level to improve Arizona's environment by developing and promoting recycling,"Owens said. "We are also encouraging collaborative and community partnerships to promote recycling in Arizona."

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.

The deadline for proposals is May 19, 2006.

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Eligibility for Underground Storage Tank Contamination Cleanup Funds Ending Soon

PHOENIX (April 24, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today reminded the public that June 30, 2006 is the cut-off date for owners and operators of underground storage tanks (USTs) to be eligible for state funding to clean up contamination caused by leaking USTs.

In 2004, the Arizona Legislature voted to abolish the State Assurance Fund (SAF), the state fund that cleans up leaking USTs in Arizona, by 2013. As a step toward the eventual elimination of the SAF, the Legislature also declared that ADEQ had to be notified of contamination at a site by June 30, 2006, for SAF money to be used to help clean up the site. If ADEQ is notified of contamination at a leaking UST site after June 30, the site is not eligible for a state-funded cleanup, and the owner or operator of the USTs must pay for the cleanup without state assistance.

"The State Assurance Fund has been a valuable financial tool to help with cleaning up soil and groundwater contamination caused by leaks from thousands of underground storage tanks throughout Arizona," ADEQ Director Owens said. "UST owners and operators need to make sure that they notify ADEQ about their contaminated sites before June 30, or else they will bear the full cost of cleaning up the sites themselves."

Underground storage tanks have been utilized for decades at gas stations to store gasoline and diesel fuels. While the majority of underground storage tanks contain and dispense these fuels safely, leaks from USTs have contaminated soil and groundwater.

Although UST owners and operators already are required by law to have pollution liability insurance or otherwise demonstrate they have the financial ability to cover cleanup costs, eligible owners and operators have been able to partially rely on the SAF to cover those costs. "UST owners or operators that do not already have insurance or some other form of financial assurance need to do something quick to make sure they can cover cleanup costs for any contamination we learn about after June 30," Owens said.

Owens noted that more than 6,600 leaking tanks have been cleaned up to date using funding from the SAF, but he added that over 1,500 known petroleum releases still remain to be cleaned up. "And that figure does not include any new sites that we might receive notice about before the June 30 deadline," Owens said. "The challenge will be to make as much progress as possible cleaning up those sites before the fund completely disappears."

Under the 2004 law, a site will be eligible for SAF cleanup money only if there is a "confirmed"release of petroleum at the site that is reported to ADEQ by close of business on June 30, 2006. To demonstrate a confirmed release, a UST owner or operator must submit laboratory results showing the presence of petroleum in the soil or groundwater at the site. Notice of merely a "suspected" release and without laboratory test results will not be eligible for cleanup funding, even if it is reported by June 30.

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ADEQ Director Owens Presents Award to City of Yuma for Participation in Green Auto Shops Program

PHOENIX (April 19, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today presented a plaque to the City of Yuma's fleet services department for helping to pioneer ADEQ's Green Automotive Shops program, which recognizes and encourages auto shops that promote an environmentally friendly approach to car repair.

"The City of Yuma's fleet services department joined hands with ADEQ to begin the pilot program in 2001 and has been a major force in the design, implementation and current success of the program," Owens said. "With the City's help, what started as a pilot program for government fleets is now being increasingly instituted in government fleets across Arizona, as well as military installations and the private sector."

Owens singled out fleet services manager Charlie Caudill, who has been with the City for 36 years as a leader in making the program a success.

Yuma's ADEQ-certified Green Automotive Shop is a 10-bay, 5,000-square-foot vehicle maintenance and repair facility that services the City's fleet of more than 450 vehicles. Vehicles serviced at the facility range from passenger vehicles to heavy duty refuse trucks.

"Green" features at the facility include a wash rack that recycles water, saving 5,400 gallons per day and 1.4 million per year; a small solar panel that powers a system to de-sulfate lead batteries; a water-based parts-washing system and numerous other pollution prevention activities.

"We are pleased to recognize the City of Yuma for its leadership and example in the Green Automotive Shops program," Owens said.

In 2005 ADEQ launched an effort with AAA Arizona to encourage AAA-affiliated auto shops throughout Arizona to join the Green Automotive Shops program. ADEQ also is working with other groups to expand participation in the program.

More information on Green Shops is available on ADEQ's web site.

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ADEQ Participating In Earth Month Celebrations

PHOENIX (April 19, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ will participate in a number of Earth Month celebrations throughout Arizona:

  • Tucson Children's Earth Day festival and parade, April 15 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Tucson Children's Museum and Armory Park on 6th Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets.
  • Earth Day at Phoenix College, April 19 from 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at 1202 W. Thomas Rd. between 7th and 15th Avenues.
  • EnviroKids Fest at Westworld, April 20 from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. at 16601 N. Pima Rd. east of the 101 freeway between Raintree Drive and Bell Road.
  • Bashas' Earth Day, April 22 from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. at the Bashas' located on the corner of Chandler Boulevard and Dobson Road at 1920 West Chandler Blvd. in Chandler.
  • Phoenix Zoo's Earth Day, April 22 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at 455 N. Galvin Parkway.
  • Student Recycling Used Technology (StRUT) Event, April 22. StRUT will be collecting old technology equipment at eight Valley locations and participating Staples and Data Doctors stores.
  • Air National Guard Earth Day, April 27 from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Papago Park at Van Buren Street and Galvin Parkway.

"Earth Month is a great opportunity for ADEQ to raise environmental awareness by partnering with Arizona businesses, nonprofit organizations and community groups, and ADEQ representatives will be present at all these events," ADEQ Director Steve Owens said. "These events will be fun and educational."

ADEQ staff will be volunteering at each of the Earth Month events and will have environmental publications, materials and information available.

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ADEQ Adds Nitrates Monitoring to Safe Drinking Water Monitoring Program

PHOENIX (April 19, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ will begin monitoring nitrate levels as part of its Monitoring Assistance Program (MAP) to ensure safe drinking water.

ADEQ's MAP provides drinking water quality monitoring to public water systems serving less than 10,000 people. The program monitors drinking water for volatile organic compounds, radionuclides and other pollutants. Monitoring for nitrates will be included in the MAP's sampling program under a bill proposed by ADEQ and recently signed into law by Governor Napolitano.

"Monitoring for nitrates will help ensure that small communities across Arizona receive safe drinking water," said Owens. "This is a very important addition to the Monitoring Assistance Program."

High levels of nitrates can lead to a potentially deadly condition known as "blue baby syndrome" in which an infant does not receive enough oxygen to the body. High nitrate levels have also been linked to stomach cancer, birth defects, miscarriages and leukemia. A major source of nitrates in Arizona is inadequately treated wastewater from septic tanks and aging sewage systems.

Each water system participating in the MAP is charged a base fee and a small service connection fee. These monies are used to hire a private contractor to collect, transport, analyze and report the sampling results to the water systems and ADEQ.

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ADEQ Cleaning Up Contaminated Soils in Tucson

PHOENIX (April 18, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ will begin construction and operation of a soil vapor extraction (SVE) system at 300 E. 7th Street in Tucson to remove and treat soil vapors contaminated with volatile organic compounds.

The property, which formerly housed a dry cleaning facility, is part of the 7th Street and Arizona Avenue Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund (WQARF) site. ADEQ determined that the contaminated soil vapors are a continuing source of groundwater contamination in the area.

"Cleanup of the soil vapor will prevent further groundwater contamination at this site," Owens said.

Installation of the SVE system at the site will begin this week and will take approximately two weeks to complete. Operation of the system will begin soon thereafter, and is expected to continue for approximately two years. The SVE system will extract the soil vapors, gaseous elements and compounds that fill spaces between soil particles, and treat them with carbon filters.

The WQARF program identifies and cleans up areas with contaminated soil and groundwater throughout the state.

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ADEQ Air Quality Permit for Carlota Mine Upheld by Appeals Court

PHOENIX (April 17, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that the air quality permit issued by ADEQ for the Carlota Copper Company's proposed open-pit copper mine and processing facility near Miami has been upheld by the Arizona Court of Appeals.

The Appeals Court ruled the decision made by ADEQ in February 2003 to renew Carlota's air permit was proper under both the federal Clean Air Act and the state air quality law. The Court rejected arguments by the group Friends of Pinto Creek, which has sought to overturn the permits.

The Appeals Court ruling also affirmed a November 2004 decision by the Arizona Superior Court which likewise had upheld the ADEQ permit.

"We are very pleased with the Court's decision," Owens said. "The permit issued by ADEQ not only will protect air quality in the area, it also will enable Carlota to continue to move forward with its efforts to open the mine and create much-needed jobs in the Globe-Miami area."

Under the permit, Carlota would employ a variety of water sprays and other methods throughout the construction process to reduce the amount of dust generated by rock crushers, conveyor belts and truck traffic.

The permit limits the facility's emissions of the following pollutants: oxides of nitrogen, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, particulates as well as sulfuric acid mist from the electrowinning tankhouse, and volatile organic compounds from storage tanks and the solvent extraction process.

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ADEQ Rule to Limit Toxic Air Pollutants Approved by Regulatory Review Council

PHOENIX (April 4, 2006) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's rule to limit emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) was approved today by the Governor's Regulatory Review Council, the state body required to review regulations of state agencies before they can become law.

ADEQ's rule sets maximum emission levels for HAPs and requires new and modified sources of HAPs to install air pollution control technology to reduce the amount of HAPs emitted into the air.

"This is an extremely important step toward protecting children and families in Arizona from exposure to toxic air pollutants,"said ADEQ Director Steve Owens. "This rule is long overdue."

Under Arizona law, ADEQ was supposed to have developed a rule regulating emissions of HAPs in Arizona by November 1993. ADEQ's effort to issue a HAPs rule by that deadline failed, however, as did subsequent efforts in the 1990s.

HAPs are toxic substances emitted into the air by industrial sources that can cause serious adverse health effects, including organ and nervous system damage, respiratory problems, genetic disorders, cancer and other serious illnesses. Examples of HAPs emitted by industrial sources in Arizona include benzene, mercury, beryllium, vinyl chloride and other toxic substances.

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