Newsroom: Press Release Archive: December 2006
  • Dec. 28, 2006: ADEQ Director Owens Announces that Miami Area in Gila County Meets Federal Air Quality Standard for Sulfur Dioxide
  • Dec. 26, 2006: ADEQ Director Owens Announces Air Quality Permit for BHP Copper Pinto Valley Mine near Miami in Gila County
  • Dec. 20, 2006: ADEQ Orders Wilhoit Water Company-Yavapai Estates to Correct Arsenic Water Quality Violations
  • Dec. 19, 2006: ADEQ Issues Public Notice about High Levels of Arsenic in Drinking Water from Wilhoit Water Company in Chino Valley
  • Dec. 14, 2006: ADEQ Extends High Pollution Advisory for Particulate Matter through Friday, December 15
  • Dec. 14, 2006: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces $50,000 Grant to Winslow for Cleanup of Brownfields Site
  • Dec. 13, 2006: ADEQ Extends High Pollution Advisory for Particulate Matter through Thursday, December 14
  • Dec. 12, 2006: ADEQ Extends High Pollution Advisory for Particulate Matter through Wednesday, December 13
  • Dec. 11, 2006: ADEQ Issues High Pollution Advisory for Particulate Matter for Tuesday, December 12
  • Dec. 11, 2006: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces 2007 Ambos Nogales Clean Air Calendar
  • Dec. 6, 2006: ADEQ Issues High Pollution Advisory for Particulate Matter for Thursday, December 7
  • Dec. 5, 2006: ADEQ Grants Now Available to Little Leagues to Promote Recycling

ADEQ Director Owens Announces that Miami Area in Gila County Meets Federal Air Quality Standard for Sulfur Dioxide

PHOENIX (December 28, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved ADEQ's request to designate the Miami area in Gila County as being in compliance with the federal air quality standard for sulfur dioxide.

The Miami area was designated as a "nonattainment" area for sulfur dioxide in 1979 due to emissions from the Phelps Dodge copper smelter. Because of pollution controls installed on the smelter, the Miami area has not exceeded the federal health standard for sulfur dioxide since 1985, but until now, EPA had not changed the area's designation. ADEQ asked EPA to recognize the area's improvements and change the designation.

"This is great news for the Miami area, and for Gila County in general," ADEQ Director Owens said. "It took too long to get this done, but EPA has finally officially acknowledged that air quality in the Miami area has improved significantly, due to the pollution controls that have been added to the smelter."

Owens said that since he has been Director ADEQ has been working aggressively to have EPA redesignate areas in Arizona as being in attainment with federal health standards. "This has been a big priority for us in this administration," Owens stated. "It's important to recognize the real progress that has been made in improving air quality, as well as remove the stigma of being designated a nonattainment area for communities like Miami."

The Miami area is the fourth sulfur dioxide area to achieve attainment since Owens has been ADEQ Director. The others are the Ajo area in Pima County, the Douglas area in Cochise County, and the Morenci area in Greenlee County.

Also, since Owens has been ADEQ Director, Maricopa County has been designated as attainment for carbon monoxide and the federal one-hour ozone standard.

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ADEQ Director Owens Announces Air Quality Permit for BHP Copper Pinto Valley Mine near Miami in Gila County

PHOENIX (December 26, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ has issued an air quality permit for the BHP Copper Pinto Valley mine near Miami in Gila County.

The permit will regulate emissions of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds and sulfur dioxide from the open-pit copper mine, associated crushing equipment, leach pad, extraction facility, and electrowinning operations.

"The permit will protect air quality in the area, while enabling BHP to continue moving forward toward reopening the mine and creating much-needed jobs in the Miami area,"; Director Owens said.

Owens added that his office has worked hard to expedite permits in rural areas, to help support economic growth, while protecting air and water quality.

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ADEQ Orders Wilhoit Water Company-Yavapai Estates to Correct Arsenic Water Quality Violations

PHOENIX (December 20, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ issued a Compliance Order to Wilhoit Water Company-Yavapai Estates in Chino Valley requiring the company to provide an alternative source of drinking water directly to customers because the water that Wilhoit is currently supplying contains unsafe levels of arsenic.

On December 5, ADEQ issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to Wilhoit for serving drinking water to customers with arsenic concentrations more than 30 times the federal standard. On December 13, ADEQ posted a public notice that advised customers to avoid drinking or cooking with water from the Wilhoit-Yavapai Estates system, and to find an alternative source of drinking water.

ADEQ issued the Compliance Order today because Wilhoit Water Company has failed to provide its customers with safe drinking water, including bottled water, and failed to inform customers about the arsenic levels.

The company has three days to begin supplying bottled water directly to customers, five days to issue a public notice through the U.S. Mail to its customers, 30 days to submit a proposal to bring the system into compliance with the federal arsenic standard, and until June 1, 2007 to achieve compliance with the standard.

"This company has an obligation to its customers to provide them with safe drinking water," Director Owens said. "They must do so immediately."

Drinking water samples taken from the system exceed federal arsenic levels. The most recent analytical result for a sample collected was 316 parts per billion (ppb). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arsenic standard for drinking water is 10 ppb.

EPA has determined that long term exposure to arsenic may lead to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidneys, nasal passages, liver and prostate. Other effects may include thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, numbness in hands and feet, partial paralysis and blindness.

Customers with questions or concerns should contact the Wilhoit Water Company at (928) 639-1308 or may contact ADEQ at (602) 771-4644.

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ADEQ Issues Public Notice about High Levels of Arsenic in Drinking Water from Wilhoit Water Company in Chino Valley

PHOENIX (December 19, 2006) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued a public notice to customers of the Wilhoit Water Company-Yavapai Estates in Chino Valley, Yavapai County that levels of arsenic in the drinking water are 30 times higher than the federal standard.

ADEQ is advising customers to avoid drinking or cooking with water from the Wilhoit system in Chino Valley, and to find an alternative source, such as bottled water. The Wilhoit Water Company is privately owned.

Drinking water samples taken from the system exceed federal arsenic levels. The most recent analytical result for a sample collected was 316 parts per billion (ppb). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arsenic standard for drinking water is 10 ppb.

EPA has determined that long term exposure to arsenic may lead to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidneys, nasal passages, liver and prostate. Other effects may include thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, numbness in hands and feet, partial paralysis and blindness.

ADEQ will continue to keep customers updated until the water system meets arsenic compliance standards. To date, the water system has failed to conduct increased compliance monitoring for arsenic and to provide customers with proper public notification and an alternative source of drinking water, as required by law. ADEQ will continue to work with the water system to ensure they meet legal requirements to continue notifying the customers, perform verification sampling and serve water that meets all safe drinking water act standards.

Customers with questions about the notice can contact the water system at (928) 639-1308 or ADEQ at (602) 771-4644.

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ADEQ Extends High Pollution Advisory for Particulate Matter through Friday, December 15

PHOENIX (December 14, 2006) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has extended a High Pollution Advisory (HPA) through Friday, December 15 for the Phoenix metropolitan area due to forecast weather conditions expected to generate levels of coarse Particulate Matter 10 (PM10) or dust that could exceed unhealthy levels.

This is the seventh HPA issued for PM10 thus far during autumn 2006, and the fourth straight HPA day this week.

"The persistent stagnant weather over the Valley this week has resulted in high levels of particulate matter pollutants and four consecutive days of High Pollution Advisories," ADEQ Director Steve Owens said. "We are anticipating some winds in the next day or so that should end this string of HPAs."

ADEQ recommends that children and adults with respiratory problems avoid outdoor activities on Friday 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 residents should reduce particulate matter-producing emissions by taking the following steps:

  • Car pool, use mass transit, telecommute and/or reduce driving.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.
  • Avoid activities that generate dust, such as driving on dirt roads.
  • Stabilize loose soils.
  • Eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.

PM10 refers to particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects, including increased respiratory symptoms, irritation of the airways, coughing, difficulty breathing, decreased lung function, aggravated asthma, development of chronic bronchitis, irregular heartbeat, nonfatal heart attacks, and premature death in people with heart or lung disease.

Daily air quality forecasts are located on ADEQ's Web site or by telephone at (602) 771-2367. Those interested in receiving the air quality forecast via email can subscribe to our daily forecast list.

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ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces $50,000 Grant to Winslow for Cleanup of Brownfields Site

PHOENIX (December 14, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ is awarding a $50,000 Brownfields grant to the City of Winslow in Navajo County to clean up an 80-acre site where the city plans to build housing and community service facilities.

The site is a vacant land parcel on Gorman Avenue, close to Route 66 and near the center of Winslow.

The ADEQ grant is for Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, which will determine if the site has been contaminated by illegal dumping. The ADEQ Brownfields Program will serve as project manager.

In November the City of Winslow asked ADEQ for a grant to clean up the site, which the City has owned for the past 20 years. Winslow plans to develop the Gorman Avenue site for uses that include mixed residential housing with low-income housing units, a detox center at the adjacent Indian Health Service Hospital and expansion of the municipal cemetery.

"We are pleased to support Winslow's efforts to put these properties back into productive economic use for the community," Director Owens said. "Our Brownfields program reduces environmental hazards and makes it possible to put these properties to work once again."

A brownfield is an abandoned or under-used property with an active redevelopment potential that suffers from known or perceived environmental contamination.

The Gorman Avenue site is about half a mile from the Standin' on the Corner site, which is also being cleaned up under an ADEQ Brownfields grant. "This is the second major grant we have given Winslow," Owens said. "Winslow has been a real leader in cleaning up properties through the Brownfields program."

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ADEQ Extends High Pollution Advisory for Particulate Matter through Thursday, December 14

PHOENIX (December 13, 2006) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has extended a High Pollution Advisory (HPA) through Thursday, December 14 for the Phoenix metropolitan area due to forecast weather conditions expected to generate levels of coarse Particulate Matter 10 (PM10) or dust that could exceed unhealthy levels.

This is the sixth HPA issued for PM10 thus far during autumn 2006, and the third straight HPA day this week.

"We are issuing a High Pollution Advisory because we are seeing the same conditions that we have had during the past couple of days: stagnant air, lack of rain and high levels of particulate matter pollutants," ADEQ Director Steve Owens said. "At this point, coarse particulate pollution levels could still pose a health risk, especially for seniors, children with asthma and other sensitive individuals."

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 residents should reduce particulate matter-producing emissions by taking the following steps:

  • Car pool, use mass transit, telecommute and/or reduce driving.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.
  • Avoid activities that generate dust, such as driving on dirt roads.
  • Stabilize loose soils.
  • Eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.

PM10 refers to particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects, including increased respiratory symptoms, irritation of the airways, coughing, difficulty breathing, decreased lung function, aggravated asthma, development of chronic bronchitis, irregular heartbeat, nonfatal heart attacks, and premature death in people with heart or lung disease.

Daily air quality forecasts are located on ADEQ's web site or by telephone at (602) 771-2367. Those interested in receiving the air quality forecast via email can subscribe to our daily forecast list.

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ADEQ Extends High Pollution Advisory for Particulate Matter through Wednesday, December 13

PHOENIX (December 12, 2006) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has extended a High Pollution Advisory (HPA) through Wednesday, December 13 for the Phoenix metropolitan area due to forecast weather conditions expected to generate levels of coarse Particulate Matter 10 (PM10) or dust that could exceed unhealthy levels.

This is the fifth HPA issued for PM10 thus far during autumn 2006.

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 residents should reduce particulate matter-producing emissions by taking the following steps:

  • Car pool, use mass transit, telecommute and/or reduce driving.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.
  • Avoid activities that generate dust, such as driving on dirt roads.
  • Stabilize loose soils.
  • Eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.

PM10 refers to particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects, including increased respiratory symptoms, irritation of the airways, coughing, difficulty breathing, decreased lung function, aggravated asthma, development of chronic bronchitis, irregular heartbeat, nonfatal heart attacks, and premature death in people with heart or lung disease.

Daily air quality forecasts are located on ADEQ's web site or by telephone at (602) 771-2367. Those interested in receiving the air quality forecast via email can subscribe to our daily forecast list.

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ADEQ Issues High Pollution Advisory for Particulate Matter for Tuesday, December 12

PHOENIX (December 11, 2006) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued a High Pollution Advisory (HPA) for Tuesday, December 12, for the Phoenix metropolitan area due to forecast weather conditions expected to generate levels of coarse Particulate Matter 10 (PM10) or dust that could exceed unhealthy levels.

This is the fourth HPA issued for PM10 thus far during autumn 2006.

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 residents should reduce particulate matter-producing emissions by taking the following steps:

  • Car pool, use mass transit, telecommute and/or reduce driving.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.
  • Avoid activities that generate dust, such as driving on dirt roads.
  • Stabilize loose soils.
  • Eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.

PM10 refers to particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects, including increased respiratory symptoms, irritation of the airways, coughing, difficulty breathing, decreased lung function, aggravated asthma, development of chronic bronchitis, irregular heartbeat, nonfatal heart attacks, and premature death in people with heart or lung disease.

Daily air quality forecasts are located on ADEQ's Web site or by telephone at (602) 771-2367. Those interested in receiving the air quality forecast via email can subscribe to our daily forecast list.

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ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces 2007 Ambos Nogales Clean Air Calendar

PHOENIX (December 11, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ has issued its 2007 Ambos Nogales Clean Air Calendar, which highlights creative drawings and written opinions on air quality by grammar, middle and high school students from Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora. The calendar also includes tips for the public on improving air quality within and around the sister-cities, an area known as Ambos Nogales.

"The calendar is one of the efforts we make to raise awareness about air quality issues along the border," Owens said. "It also is a great way to reach children in the border communities, who often are the ones most severely affected by air quality problems in the region."

The calendar, now in its seventh year of publication, is part of an outreach effort to support the Plan of Action to Improve Air Quality in Ambos Nogales, which was developed by ADEQ and partners on both sides of the border. The calendar is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information, or to receive a free copy of the calendar while supplies last, please contact ADEQ's Southern Regional Office at (520) 628-6710 or toll free at (888) 271-9302. Schools may submit drawings and writings for the 2008 calendar beginning February 7, 2007.

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ADEQ Issues High Pollution Advisory for Particulate Matter for Thursday, December 7

PHOENIX (Dec. 6, 2006) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued a High Pollution Advisory (HPA) for Thursday, December 7, for the Phoenix metropolitan area due to forecast weather conditions expected to generate levels of coarse Particulate Matter 10 (PM10) or dust that could exceed unhealthy levels.

This is the third HPA issued for PM10 thus far during autumn 2006.

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 residents should reduce particulate matter-producing emissions by taking the following steps:

  • Car pool, use mass transit, telecommute and/or reduce driving.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.
  • Avoid activities that generate dust, such as driving on dirt roads.
  • Stabilize loose soils.
  • Reduce or eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.

PM10 refers to particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects, including increased respiratory symptoms, irritation of the airways, coughing, difficulty breathing, decreased lung function, aggravated asthma, development of chronic bronchitis, irregular heartbeat, nonfatal heart attacks, and premature death in people with heart or lung disease.

Daily air quality forecasts are located on ADEQ's web site or by telephone at (602) 771-2367. Those interested in receiving the air quality forecast via email can subscribe to our daily forecast list.

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ADEQ Grants Now Available to Little Leagues to Promote Recycling

PHOENIX (Dec. 5, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ is again providing recycling grants to Arizona Little Leagues to promote recycling and prevent littering at baseball fields across the state.

Under the Little League Recycling and Litter Control Project, ADEQ provides funding to Little League organizations throughout Arizona for banners promoting recycling to be displayed at their ball fields and for recycling containers to be placed at the fields.

ADEQ first established the Little League Recycling and Litter Control Project for the 2004 Little League season. This year, ADEQ is making a total of $15,000 available to Little Leagues interested in participating in the recycling project.

"The program is now in its fourth year and has been a grand slam," said ADEQ Director Owens. "The more kids know about recycling, the more they want to recycle. This program helps our kids, helps the Little Leagues, and most importantly, helps the environment."

Little Leagues interested in applying for grant funding from ADEQ should contact Laura Newman at (602) 771-4459 or toll free at (800) 234-5677, ext. 771-4459. The deadline for applications is Feb. 16, 2007.

Program forms and the required application, as well as further information, are available on ADEQ's Web site.

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