EPA to Reconsider Coal Ash Rule

September 18, 2017

EPA to Reconsider Coal Ash Rule
The EPA granted two petitions filed by coal ash producers to reconsider substantive provisions of the final rule regulating coal combustion residuals (CCR) as nonhazardous waste under Subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

For decades, coal ash was dumped into giant pits, where toxins can seep into water and soil and blow into the air. Coal ash waste is filled with some of some of the deadliest known toxins, including arsenic, lead, mercury and chromium. The toxics raise the risk for cancer, heart disease, and stroke, and can inflict lasting brain damage on children.

In granting the petitions, EPA determined that it was appropriate, and in the public’s interest to reconsider specific provisions of the final CCR rule based in part on the authority provided through the Water Infrastructure for Improvements to the Nation (WIIN) Act. EPA stated that the Agency is not committing to changing any part of the rule, or agreeing with the merits of the petition—instead, the Agency is granting petitions to reconsider specific provisions. Should EPA decide to revise specific provisions of the final CCR rule, it will go through notice and comment period.

The petition from the Utility Solid Waste Activities Group (USWAG) was submitted May 12, 2017, and seeks reconsideration of 11 specific provisions of the final CCR rule, including provisions prohibiting the use of alternative points of compliance for ground water contamination, regulating inactive surface impoundments, and defining what activities constitute beneficial use of CCR. The petition from AES Puerto Rico LLP was submitted May 31, 2017, and seeks reconsideration of certain on-site storage practices.

The current rule went into effect on October 19, 2015, and regulates how CCR generated from electric utilities and independent power producers is managed and disposed of in surface impoundments and landfills. The rule also defines what constitutes beneficial use of CCR; and, therefore, is excluded from the rule’s requirements. Among other things, EPA’s 2015 coal ash rule required utilities to test the water near their coal ash dumps to make sure hazardous chemicals, like arsenic, lead, chromium, mercury and other toxins were not leaking into drinking water sources.

Coal ash contains concentrated levels of heavy metals, which are released to water when the ash is dumped into unlined pits. Requirements to monitor the water around dump sites—and to clean it up, if poisoned—are set to go into effect at all coal ash dumpsites next month.

In December 2016, the WIIN Act was enacted into law. Section 2301 of the WIIN Act provides authority for states to operate permit programs under Subtitle D of RCRA, as long as the EPA determines that the state’s requirements are as protective as the standards in the 2015 final rule or successor regulations. Should EPA decide to revise specific provisions of the final CCR rule, it will go through a notice and comment process.

Spartanburg RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Spartanburg, SC, on October 3–5 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Chicago RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Chicago, IL, on October 10–12 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Los Angeles RCRA and DOT Training
Register for California Hazardous Waste Management and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Los Angeles, CA, on October 10–12 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Steam Electric Power Plant Effluent Guidelines Rule Postponed by EPA
The EPA finalized a rule postponing certain compliance dates by two years for the effluent limitations guidelines and standards for steam electric power plants (ELG Rule) that were issued in November 2015.

The EPA first began efforts to roll back the power plant wastewater standards in April, by suspending important limits on the amount of toxic pollutants such as arsenic, mercury, and lead that power plants are allowed to dump into our waters. The EPA action announced recently would make a two-year delay of those public health protections a new part of federal regulations. During that two-year period, EPA intends to review the public health protections at industry’s request to consider further delaying and weakening them.

A coalition of public health and environmental groups, has been fighting in the courts to oppose the new EPA Administration’s attempts to delay and weaken the power plant toxic water rule.

The final rule postpones the compliance dates for the best available technology economically achievable (“BAT”) effluent limitations and pretreatment standards (“PSES”) for two wastestreams at existing sources, bottom ash transport water and flue gas desulfurization (“FGD”) wastewater, for a period of two years.

Last month, the Administrator announced that he would reconsider BAT effluent limitations and PSES in the 2015 rule that apply to bottom ash transport water and FGD wastewater. As part of this upcoming rulemaking, EPA will provide an opportunity for public comment on any proposed revisions to the 2015 final rule. 

At this time, EPA does not intend to conduct a rulemaking that would potentially revise BAT effluent limitations and PSES in the 2015 rule for fly ash transport water, flue gas mercury control wastewater, and gasification wastewater, or any of the other requirements in the 2015 rule. 

In addition to announcing the rule, the EPA also filed the rule with the federal district court in Washington, DC, where public health and environmental advocacy groups have been pursuing a legal challenge to EPA’s April action to suspend the toxic water pollution standards. The EPA stated in the court filing that it intends to seek dismissal of the advocates’ lawsuit now that the Agency has taken additional action to delay the rule. 

The public health and environmental advocacy groups, which include Clean Water Action, Waterkeeper Alliance, and Sierra Club, now intend to ask the court to find that the EPA didn’t have legal authority to put the protections on hold.

New Universal Wastes in Ohio
Ohio EPA's hazardous waste program has prepared a package of proposed hazardous waste management rules pertaining to the classification of certain hazardous wastes as Ohio-specific universal wastes. The new universal wastes include hazardous non-empty aerosol cans, hazardous antifreeze, hazardous paint and paint-related wastes. The public comment period will run until October 17, 2017. A public hearing on this proposed rulemaking will be held to consider public comments in accordance with Section 119.03 of the Ohio Revised Code. This hearing will be held at Ohio EPA, 50 West Town Street, Columbus, Ohio in Conference Room A, on October 17, 2017 at 10:30am.

The proposed rules, public notice, and the response to comment document are available for download on the DERR website. For more information, please contact Karen Hale at karen.hale@epa.ohio.gov.

StarKist to Pay $6.3 Million for Wastewater Spill in American Samoa
The U.S. Department of Justice and the EPA have reached an agreement with StarKist Co., and its subsidiary, Starkist Samoa Co., requiring the companies to make a series of upgrades to reduce pollution, improve safety measures, and comply with important federal environmental laws at their tuna processing facility in American Samoa.

Under the agreement, StarKist will pay a $6.3 million penalty and provide emergency response equipment to American Samoa for use in responding to chemical releases.

“The settlement is a significant environmental win for the community of American Samoa,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The Department will continue to identify violations and enforce federal laws designed to protect the environment and the public. As a result of this action, StarKist has already performed a significant amount of work to correct its violations and we will continue to work together with our partners to bring the facility back into compliance and prevent future violations.”

“Today’s agreement will help prevent hazardous releases at the StarKist facility, protect workers and the local community, and reduce pollution discharged into Pago Pago Harbor by more than 13 million pounds each year,” said Acting Regional Administrator Alexis Strauss with the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “Working with our partners at American Samoa EPA, we will monitor the company’s progress toward full compliance with all federal environmental rules.”

In July 2014, the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency informed EPA of a discharge pipeline break at the facility, which was spilling unpermitted wastewater into the inner Pago Pago Harbor. At that time, EPA began investigating the facility after monitoring reports submitted by StarKist revealed wastewater pollutant levels that consistently exceeded permitted levels. EPA’s investigations revealed that StarKist had changed the composition of the facility’s discharged wastewater such that its existing wastewater treatment system was inadequate.

After full implementation of the wastewater treatment system upgrades, the facility’s annual discharge of pollutants into Pago Pago Harbor, including total nitrogen, phosphorus, oil and grease, and total suspended solids, will be reduced by at least 85%—a total reduction of more than 13 million pounds of wastewater pollutants each year.

In addition to wastewater violations, EPA also found StarKist was improperly storing ammonia, butane, and chlorine gas, which the facility used on-site for refrigeration, operation of forklifts, and disinfection. The federal Clean Air Act requires companies to operate safely in order to prevent releases of hazardous chemicals that can harm workers and the surrounding community.

StarKist will also perform a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) requiring it to purchase and donate no less than $88,000 worth of specified emergency response equipment to the American Samoa Department of Public Safety, Fire Services Bureau, the entity that would respond to a chemical release from the Facility on Tutuila Island. This SEP is an Emergency Planning and Preparedness project, which is a recognized category under EPA’s SEP Policy.

The agreement requires StarKist to improve the facility’s ammonia refrigeration system and discontinue using chlorine gas and butane, which will greatly reduce the risk of hazardous substance releases. In addition, the companies have submitted emergency planning information to local responders and will implement a new system for notifying the public in real time in the event of a release.

To prevent oil spills, the companies are upgrading four large above-ground oil storage tanks containing diesel oil, used petroleum oil, and food-grade oil—a byproduct of fish processing. The four tanks, located only feet from inner Pago Pago Harbor, were found to have inadequate secondary containment structures as required by the Clean Water Act. In its own audit, StarKist identified additional problems, including violations of hazardous waste management and notification regulations, and disclosed them to EPA.

Starkist Samoa Co., owns and operates the tuna processing facility, located at Route 1 on the northwestern side of Pago Pago Harbor in the village of Atu'u on the Island of Tutuila in American Samoa. Starkist Samoa Co. is a wholly owned subsidiary of StarKist Co., which in turn is owned by the Korean company Dongwon Industries. StarKist Co., is the world’s largest supplier of canned tuna. The American Samoa facility processes and cans tuna for human consumption and processes fish byproducts into fishmeal and fish oil.

The proposed consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is subject to a 30-day comment period and final court approval.

EPA Webinar: Decontamination Preparedness Tools for Water Utilities
The EPA Office of Water, Water Security Division, and Water Laboratory Alliance is hosting a webinar for interested parties to explain a detailed overview of a new decontamination tool that will help utilities be prepared prior to an incident. The webinar will focus on how the tool is used for the three phases of remediation, including: characterization, decontamination, and clearance. The webinar will also address how utilities can contain and dispose large amounts of contaminated water. The webinar will take place on September 20, 2017 at 1:00 pm ET. For more information, see this link.

J.F. White Contracting Co. Fined $167,500 for Violating Wetlands Regulations
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has assessed a penalty of $167,500 to J.F. White Contracting Company of Framingham for wetlands protection and water quality violations that occurred during work it conducted at the Worcester Regional Airport. Portions of the site work were located in Leicester, within the watershed of drinking water supplies utilized by the City of Worcester. 

The Worcester Regional Airport is owned and operated by the Massachusetts Port Authority and is undergoing improvements to its runway, adding a new taxiway, and installing a Category III Instrument Landing System. J.F. White Contracting Co., was awarded the contract to conduct the improvements at the airport and is required to comply with all environmental permits for the project. 

Shortly after beginning the work in September of 2016, J.F. White changed the approved plans. These plan changes resulted in the discharge of sediment-laden stormwater to Bordering Vegetated Wetlands (BVWs). The wetland resource areas surrounding the construction site are designated as Outstanding Resource Waters because they are tributaries to a public water supply. From September 2016 until May 2017, numerous failures by J.F. White to follow the approved plans and to implement effective erosion and sedimentation controls resulted in approximately eight acres of unauthorized alterations to BVWs and the shutting down of one of Worcester's water supply reservoirs on several occasions because of elevated turbidity in the water.

"J.F. White's actions over a prolonged period of time caused significant damage to wetland resource areas and affected the City of Worcester's water supply reservoir," said Mary Jude Pigsley, director of MassDEP's Central Regional Office in Worcester. "It is critical that construction work complies with permits and includes the utmost protective measures for the benefit of public welfare and the environment."

As part of the settlement, J.F. White must pay the penalty and work to remove as much of the fill material from the wetlands areas, to the extent feasible, re-establish vegetation in altered areas, and continue to monitor the wetland restoration process for two growing seasons. The company must also monitor discharges during rain events of greater than a half-inch to ensure that turbid discharges do not continue to affect downstream wetland resources and the reservoir.

Landowner Fined $28,000 for Oil Spill to Sulphur Creek and Yakima River
A property owner in the community of Outlook has received a $28,000 penalty for an oil spill from an above-ground storage tank in March of 2015.

Approximately 2,700 gallons of oil was lost from the tank, 1,900 gallons of which damaged seven miles of Sulphur Creek and 12 miles of the Yakima River, from Mabton to Prosser, over four days.

The oil travelled from the property through underground piping that spilled into the creek, and from there reached the Yakima River. Dozens of ducks and geese were harmed by the spill and several died despite bird-rehabilitation efforts. The spill also impacted important wetlands, Yakama Nation reservation lands, and threatened a fish hatchery.

A unified command comprised of the Department of Ecology, the local irrigation district, U.S. EPA, and the Yakama Nation, responded to the immediate spill to clean up the oil reaching water. Soil and groundwater at the property remains contaminated and needs a long-term cleanup plan.

“Old above-ground storage tanks that contain oil pose a threat to the environment and are common in rural areas,” said Sam Hunn, with Ecology’s Spills Program. “When one fails, it can be an expensive and avoidable mistake.”

“We regret this incident occurred and we’re working closely with Ecology on next steps to get our land cleaned up,” said Ward Deaton of Deaton Land LLC, owner of the property.

Besides the penalty, and under state law, the owner also faces a Resource Damage Assessment for harm caused to public resources. In Washington, an oil spiller is responsible for adequately compensating the public for injuries to their resources. Compensation could include a restoration and enhancement project or study, or the spiller may be assessed damages, which are paid into a restoration fund managed by the state.

The penalty took more time than usual to finalize because the U.S. EPA conducted its own investigation of the incident and later deferred the action to the state.

The property owner has 30 days to pay the penalty or file an appeal with the state’s Pollution Control Hearings Board.

Visit our website for additional information about this incident and photos.

West Point Treatment Plant Failure Leads to Heavy Fine
The Washington Department of Ecology has fined King County $361,000 and ordered them to make significant investments into the West Point wastewater treatment plant in Seattle after the plant failed February 9 and sent untreated wastewater into Puget Sound.

Ecology’s investigation concluded that a lack of appropriate equipment redundancy and reliability, poor operation, and inadequate maintenance practices led to the treatment plant’s failure. The damage was exacerbated by insufficient operator training and a lack of systematically prioritized alarms.

As a result, Ecology is requiring King County to make significant financial investments to improve operating and maintenance conditions—changes that could cost over a million dollars. Under administrative order, King County must:

  • Improve redundancy and reliability of key equipment
  • Improve how the plant’s control system communicates critical alarms to operators
  • Develop and implement better emergency training for operators
  • Improve the ability to monitor emergency bypasses should they occur

In addition to the improvements, King County is levied a fine of $361,000—the largest penalty Ecology has ever issued to a publically-owned wastewater treatment plant.

“A treatment plant failure of this magnitude is completely unacceptable. They violated their permit and our state’s water quality laws. As a consequence, we are taking a million-dollar enforcement action against King County,” said Ecology Director Maia Bellon.

The county has until August 1, 2018, to implement all the improvements or it could face additional penalties.

“King County has already carried out a number of critical improvements at West Point that include electrical system redundancy, replacing outmoded equipment and strengthening emergency training programs,” said King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks Director Christie True. “We’re now focused on long-term planning to address West Point’s biggest operational challenges, which include greater demand on the plant driven by population growth, urban development, and stronger storms resulting from climate change. We look forward to working with Ecology and other partners, and are thankful that stepped up water quality monitoring showed little to no substantial water quality impairments as a result of the plant damage.”

On February 9, 2017, King County’s West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant suffered catastrophic damage when the plant’s pump station failed, which began a chain of events causing internal flooding that severely damaged the facility’s sewage treatment infrastructure. The failure sent stormwater and untreated sewage into Puget Sound. King County restored flows back through the treatment plant later that day, but at a significantly diminished quality of treatment, which lasted for 77 days. On February 15 and 16, the plant received high influent flows that could not be treated at the already damaged plant. This resulted in additional untreated discharges of sewage and stormwater to Puget Sound.

“Our objective is to prevent incidents like this from happening in the future and to protect water quality,” said Heather Bartlett, Ecology’s water quality program manager, “We recognize that King County has already taken some steps to make corrections and improvements to the plant. We are eager to see King County fully implement these changes.”

Ecology penalties and orders may be appealed to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days. Water pollution fines are placed in the state’s Coastal Protection Fund that provides grants to local and tribal governments for water quality improvement projects.

Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York Approve Resolution to Permanently Ban Fracking in the Delaware River Basin
Governors of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York, comprising a majority of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), announced that they had voted in favor of a resolution put forward by the commission to issue draft regulations to permanently ban hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas in the Delaware River Basin.

The DRBC vote was three to one with one abstention in passing the resolution for promulgating regulations that would prohibit any water project in the Delaware River Basin proposed for developing oil and gas resources by high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

Delaware Governor John Carney said that the DRBC resolution is consistent with the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act, a bill introduced by Carney and passed by Congress in 2016, by helping to ensure that the water resources of the basin will be protected for present and future generations. “Fracking could diminish water resources in the Delaware River Basin, both through consumption and degraded water quality,” said Gov. Carney. “We are pleased to join both New York and Pennsylvania in voting in favor of this resolution, which will protect public health, and a precious water supply. This action will guarantee that fracking for oil and gas will not threaten water resources in the Basin.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “Protecting and preserving our water resources is paramount to ensuring the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers and of all residents living within the Delaware River Basin,” Gov. Cuomo said. “With this resolution, the DRBC builds on New York’s leadership to protect the environment and public health from hydraulic fracturing, while protecting this vital water source that millions of people depend on every day. ‎I am proud to stand with my colleagues from Delaware and Pennsylvania in approving this critical resolution and we will continue to work on developing the necessary regulations to codify this commonsense resolution.””

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said he was pleased to see the DRBC take a step forward after years of study. “Today, we are acting to protect a watershed that supplies drinking water to more than 15 million people in one of the most densely populated areas of the country. I believe this resolution preserves water quality and water supply for the residents of the watershed, and will protect this precious resource for generations to come,” said Gov. Wolf. “I have supported this resolution since I was a candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, and I am proud that we have worked collaboratively to move this process forward after almost a decade of work at the DRBC.”

The Delaware River Basin, which drains from portions of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, supplies drinking water to more than 15 million people. Governors of the four basin states and a federal representative serve as Delaware River Basin Commissioners, tasked with overseeing a unified approach to managing the river system without regard to political boundaries. The commission has oversight in the basin for water quality protection, water supply allocation, regulatory review (permitting), water conservation initiatives, watershed planning, drought management, flood loss reduction, and recreation.

The DRBC resolution comes after Congressional passage last December of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act. As jointly authored by then-Congressman Carney and Delaware US Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act requires federal, state and local partners to work together and preserve the basin. Congress passed the Act as part of a larger national legislative package known as the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act.

Development of oil and gas using hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River Basin has been an issue since 2010, when the DRBC’s five commissioners voted unanimously to “postpone consideration of well pad dockets until regulations are adopted.” This action effectively placed a de facto, temporary moratorium on drilling for natural gas in several Pennsylvania counties and parts of southern New York. Since 2011, the DRBC and the signatory parties have undertaken extensive discussion and research efforts related to unconventional shale gas drilling which resulted in the resolution.

In addition, to ensure protection of water resources in the Basin and beyond, Pennsylvania and New York have both developed comprehensive programs to effectively manage wastes and waste products produced as a result of high-volume hydraulic hydro-fracturing operations. These protections are an aspect of state programs to manage solid and hazardous wastes, as well as to treat wastes in accordance with the federal Clean Water Act and analogous state clean water programs.

Ohio Materials Marketplace Offers Businesses Recycling Opportunities
The Ohio Materials Marketplace (OMM) offers businesses and organizations a free online platform to connect and find reuse and recycling solutions for waste and by-product materials. Through OMM’s interactive system, Ohio businesses, not-for-profits and government organizations communicate with other members to advertise and acquire materials that might otherwise be destined for disposal in landfills, and one company’s “waste” becomes another’s raw material.

Since launching the marketplace in April, 270 organizations join have joined and more than 7.1 tons of material has been re-used or recycled. Items found in the marketplace include wood pallets/by-products, cured rubber, plastic drums, agricultural lime, chemical co-products and tire shreds. To join the marketplace, please fill out the web form located at https://ohio.materialsmarketplace.org/join or watch this video for more information. For specific questions, please contact Joseph Klatt at materials.marketplace@epa.ohio.gov or (614) 644-2798.

Pennsylvania DEP Earns National Environmental Innovation Award for “Brownfields to Playfields” Program in Underserved Communities
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently received the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) 2017 State Program Innovation Award for its “Brownfields to Playfields” Pilot Program to transform seven sites of old industrial blight into outdoor recreation spaces in underserved communities.

DEP, along with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), created the pilot program to meet one of the resource management and stewardship goals in the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.

“Smaller and economically disadvantaged communities get a boost from the synergy of interagency collaboration in tackling the hefty challenge of transforming industrial blight that otherwise might persist for decades,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “When partners envision transformation together, innovation results.”

Each project receives a needs assessment; help in identifying appropriate assistance programs; education on sources and leveraging of funding; and streamlined coordination between state agencies, local governments, federal programs, and private partners.

A recent House Republican plan to cut funding from agencies’ dedicated sources could jeopardize some of these projects. “If there are cuts to DCED’s brownfields cleanup/assessment funds, projects like these around the state could fall through,” said Secretary McDonnell, “setting back communities who aspire to a better quality of life without legacy industrial blight.”

The projects will transform a total of 40 acres of former industrial lands:

  • Ira Reynolds Riverfront Park in Susquehanna Depot, Susquehanna County—Cleaning up a contaminated former Erie rail yard and creating a community park with walking trails and a pavilion
  • Kaiers Playground, Mahanoy City Borough, Schuylkill County—Demolishing a dilapidated five-story brewery and turning it into a community playground
  • Fairground Avenue Linear Park, Carlisle, Cumberland County—Redeveloping a former carpet manufacturing site into a park with walking/biking trails and a green stormwater management system to facilitate Carlisle’s Chesapeake Bay Pollutant Reduction Plan, coinciding with plans for adjacent shopping, dining, and residential mixed-use development
  • Susquehanna River Walk Extension, Williamsport, Lycoming County—Designing and engineering a three-mile extension of the trail through an old landfill site and past brownfield sites to connect with other walking/biking trails and neighborhoods
  • Lower Broadway Recreation Complex, Nanticoke, Luzerne County—Transforming land adjacent to a former manufactured gas plant into a park with athletic fields, a playground, walking trails, a skateboard park, and marsh overlook
  • Waterfront Park, Charleroi, Washington County—Redeveloping a former stadium and glass factory into a recreation complex on the Monongahela River
  • Elrama Neighborhood Park, Union Township, Washington County—Redeveloping a former chrome shop into a public park

The ECOS award honors innovative approaches by state environmental agencies in addressing community concerns, improving relationships between agencies and regulated entities, and returning land to productive use.

New Arizona Program to Protect Health and Encourage Actions for Healthier Air
The Tucson area will soon be receiving five-day air quality forecasts from the ADEQ, thanks to a collaborative effort between ADEQ and Pima County Department of Environmental Quality. ADEQ has been providing air quality forecasts for Maricopa and Pinal counties for almost two decades and, beginning Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, this service will be available for the Tucson area. This is the first time that ADEQ has initiated air quality forecasts for a region that is attaining the U.S. EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Both ADEQ and PDEQ hope this program will help the region stay in attainment of those EPA health standards.

“We are excited to have this five-day forecast in place to give residents time to modify their plans and protect their health as well as the health of their loved ones,” said Beth Gorman, Senior Program Manager at Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ). “ADEQ has the staff and expertise necessary to develop the forecasts,” Gorman said. “Providing a forecast several days in advance allows ample time to get the word out to people who might have health issues associated with elevated levels of air pollution, and provides enough time to arrange carpools and other transportation alternatives to reduce driving-related emissions.” Motor vehicle use is the largest single source of air pollution in Pima County.

“The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is proud to announce the launch of the new Tucson Area Air Quality Index (AQI) Forecast. This program is the result of the great partnership between ADEQ and the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality,” said Timothy Franquist, ADEQ Air Quality Division Director. “One of our key goals at ADEQ is to provide PDEQ with additional resources to assist them in their efforts to protect and enhance the health of Tucson area residents. It’s all part of a systematic, statewide approach to providing all Arizonans with the most up-to-date air quality information. The AQI forecasts will enable all Tucson area residents adequate time to make plans to protect their respiratory health and well-being,” Franquist explained. Sign up for alerts here.

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Trivia Question of the Week
Phytoplankton are responsible for producing how much of the world’s oxygen?

  1. 20%
  2. 40%
  3. 60%
  4. 80%

Answer: d