Newsroom: Press Release Archive: January 2007
  • Jan. 31, 2007: ADEQ Director Owens Announces Partnership with University of Arizona to Promote Recycling at Sports Events
  • Jan. 24, 2007: ADEQ Extends Deadline for Recycling Scholarship Program to February 9
  • Jan. 22, 2007: ADEQ Director Owens Launches Effort to Reduce Mercury Releases from Scrap Vehicles
  • Jan. 16, 2007: ADEQ Director Owens Announces Availability of Recycling Grants
  • Jan. 8, 2007: ADEQ Reminds High School Seniors of January 19 Deadline for Recycling Scholarship Program
  • Jan. 3, 2007: ADEQ Director Owens Announces Water Quality Permit for BHP Copper Pinto Valley Mine in Miami

ADEQ Director Owens Announces Partnership with University of Arizona to Promote Recycling at Sports Events

PHOENIX (Jan. 31, 2007) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ is teaming up with the University of Arizona to promote and implement recycling at all home UofA sporting events, including football, basketball, volleyball, softball and gymnastics.

"The program is a slam-dunk," Owens said. "A lot of items being thrown away at sporting events can be recycled. This program is not only a great way to increase recycling at UofA events; it also will help remind people who attend the events of the benefits of recycling, and to help them make recycling a part of everyday life."

ADEQ has provided 42 recycling containers to the UofA that will be used by fans at the McKale Memorial Center, Arizona Stadium, Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium and Sancet Stadium to collect plastic, glass and aluminum containers. The recycling containers are already in place at the McKale Center.

The new recycling program will be promoted through a variety of media elements to include in-stadium electronic signs, end-zone signs at Arizona Stadium, and public service announcements (PSA) during each in-game, pre-game and post-game radio broadcast.

In addition, video PSAs featuring men's head basketball coach Lute Olson will be shown during all home basketball games, and video PSAs featuring head football coach Mike Stoops will be shown during all home football games.

The UofA partnership is ADEQ's second major recycling effort at a sports facility. ADEQ has also partnered with the Arizona Cardinals to promote recycling at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

ADEQ Extends Deadline for Recycling Scholarship Program to February 9

PHOENIX (Jan. 24, 2007) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ has extended the deadline to Friday, February 9 for Arizona high school seniors to apply for ADEQ's Arizona Recycling Scholarship Program, which provides scholarship funds for seniors interested in environmental issues.

"We are extending the deadline to give students a few more weeks to apply and to accommodate the schedule challenges that many seniors have faced with the holidays and exams," Owens said. "There is a lot of interest in this program, and we want to make it possible for interested students to apply."

Under the program, ADEQ will award 10 scholarships of $1,000 each to high school seniors to be used for expenses at a college or university in Arizona.

Scholarship winners will be announced during February. The winning projects will be implemented during the spring 2007. ADEQ will provide scholarship funds to the students after receiving proof of enrollment at a community college or university within the state of Arizona.

To apply, students must submit proposals outlining waste reduction or recycling projects in their school or community. ADEQ must receive the proposal by 5 p.m. on February 9. All Arizona high school students in their senior year are eligible to apply for the scholarship. The 10 scholarship recipients will be selected by ADEQ based on the proposals submitted.

The scholarship package and informational materials were sent to every high school in Arizona. The materials are also available on ADEQ's Web site.

ADEQ Director Owens Launches Effort to Reduce Mercury Releases from Scrap Vehicles

PHOENIX (Jan. 22, 2007) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens today launched a state effort aimed at persuading more than 200 Arizona vehicle recyclers to participate in a free, voluntary program to reclaim the toxic metal mercury from vehicles that are scrapped from vehicle recyclers.

ADEQ is asking vehicle recyclers in Arizona to join the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program (NVMSRP), formed last year by representatives of dismantlers, automotive steel and scrap industries, environmental groups, a national association of state government environmental agency officials and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Arizona is one of the first states to join the program.

"Mercury is an extremely toxic substance, and this program will help prevent toxic mercury from contaminating our air and water," Owens said. "This program is a free, easy way for auto recyclers to help protect our children and families from exposure to toxic mercury, as well as protect our precious natural resources from contamination."

When vehicles are crushed and shredded for recycling, the mercury in vehicles' lighting switches and antilock braking systems (ABS) may be released into the environment. Mercury is a liquid metal that accumulates in fatty tissue and muscle and has been linked to a variety of health effects, including toxicity to the brain and nervous system. Exposure to mercury at elevated concentrations can cause learning disabilities and impair motor function in children.

Each year 14 million tons of steel are recycled, the equivalent of 13.5 million new vehicles. Mercury switches in cars account for as much as 11 tons of mercury pollution each year. The program seeks to cut 75 million tons of mercury emissions over the next 15 years.

The national program established a $4 million fund to pay recyclers for their efforts on a first-come, first-served basis. Recyclers will receive $1 per mercury light switch or assembly received, and $3 per ABS module received. Recyclers do not need to remove the switches from the assemblies.

NVMSRP estimates that 67 million switches are available for recovery nationwide. As many as 3.6 million cars in Arizona may be eligible for the program.

Owens said that reducing release of toxic mercury has been a priority for ADEQ. In November ADEQ adopted rules to reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants in Arizona by 90 percent over the next seven years. Over the past several years ADEQ also has issued fish consumption advisories for 12 lakes throughout the state, because of high levels of mercury found in certain fish in those lakes.

ADEQ Director Owens Announces Availability of Recycling Grants

PHOENIX (Jan. 16, 2007) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ is seeking grant applications to enhance recycling efforts from private enterprises, political subdivisions, tribal governments and nonprofit organizations that serve Arizona communities.

"This grant program helps communities take action at the local level to protect 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.

In addition, ADEQ is offering three workshops to help craft successful grant applications:

  • Monday, February 5, 10:30 a.m., ADEQ Northern Regional Office, 1801 W. Route 66, Suite 117, Flagstaff
  • Wednesday, February 7, 10:30 a.m., ADEQ Southern Regional Office, 400 W. Congress Rd., Room 222, Tucson
  • Friday, February 9, 1:30 p.m., ADEQ, 1110 W. Washington St., Room 250, Phoenix

The deadline for proposals is March 1, 2007 at 3 p.m.

ADEQ Reminds High School Seniors of January 19 Deadline for Recycling Scholarship Program

PHOENIX (Jan. 8, 2007) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens is reminding students, teachers and parents that Friday, January 19, is the deadline for Arizona high school seniors to apply for ADEQ's Arizona Recycling Scholarship Program, which provides scholarship funds for seniors interested in environmental issues.

Under the program, ADEQ will award 10 scholarships of $1,000 each to high school seniors to be used for expenses at a college or university in Arizona.

"The new Arizona Recycling Scholarship Program offers a great way for high school seniors to cope with the ever-increasing cost of college while doing something good for our state and our environment," Owens said. "We want to make sure that everyone is aware that the deadline to apply for the scholarships is rapidly approaching and urge any interested high school senior to apply."

Scholarship winners will be announced during February. The winning projects will be implemented during March 2007. ADEQ will provide scholarship funds to the students after receiving proof of enrollment at a community college or university within the state of Arizona.

To apply, students must submit proposals outlining waste reduction or recycling projects in their school or community. ADEQ must receive the proposal by 5 p.m. on January 19. All Arizona high school students in their senior year are eligible to apply for the scholarship. The 10 scholarship recipients will be selected by ADEQ based on the proposals submitted.

The scholarship package and informational materials were sent to every high school in Arizona. The materials are also available on ADEQ's Web site.

ADEQ Director Owens Announces Water Quality Permit for BHP Copper Pinto Valley Mine in Miami

PHOENIX (Jan. 3, 2007) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ has issued a water quality permit for the BHP Copper Pinto Valley Operations open pit mine in Miami in Gila County.

The permit, which is technically an amendment to BHP's existing aquifer protection permit (APP) for the mine, provides for resumption of open pit mining at Pinto Valley with development of Slice 6 of the pit. BHP estimates that Slice 6 contains 700 million pounds of copper and would be a 5½ year project with potential economic impact to the local economy of $165 million.

"This is a strong water quality permit that will protect groundwater in the area, while enabling BHP Copper to continue moving forward toward re-opening the mine," Director Owens said. "Issuance of this permit is another step toward creating much-needed jobs in Gila County while also safeguarding precious water resources."

The permit protects groundwater in the area by regulating discharges from the operations at the mine, including the open pit and new Slice 6, waste rock disposal areas, a raffinate pond, one heap leach pad, two pregnant leach solution ponds, a new spillway between the ponds, two active tailings impoundments, and a stormwater management system that is designed to protect facilities regulated by the permit and prevent off-site discharges. Pinto Valley Operations includes a solvent extraction/electrowinning process plant and other infrastructure and support facilities associated with copper mining.

The permit sets discharge limits and groundwater quality standards and reduces the discharge of pollutants by requiring BHP Copper to employ appropriate engineering controls and processes at facilities regulated by the permit. The permit also requires BHP Copper to sample seeps and springs located on-site, and to conduct quarterly groundwater monitoring to ensure that water quality has not been affected by operations at the mine.

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. This permit was processed under a new expedited permitting program for water quality permits established by ADEQ in 2006.

Last week, Owens announced that ADEQ also has issued the air quality permit for the BHP Copper Pinto Valley mine.

Back