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U.S. EPA's enforcement program nets major cleanups, pollution reductions in Arizona in 2005

Release Date: 11/15/2005
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, 415/947-4248

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. EPA's enforcement program posted a banner year in Arizona and on tribal lands in fiscal year 2005, requiring cleanups totaling $2.36 million in Arizona and $750,000 on Navajo lands in New Mexico and Utah.

EPA multimedia settlements will improve the state's air, water and land, benefitting human health and the environment for millions of Arizonans for years to come.

The EPA issued enforcement actions totaling over $1.25 million to companies operating on tribal lands and also succeeded in getting companies to provide environmental projects to benefit affected tribal communities. The EPA took 96 actions against polluters, collecting a total of $340,000 in civil penalties for numerous air, water, hazardous waste, community right-to-know and pesticide violations.

"Arizonans will enjoy cleaner air, water and land for years to come as a result of the EPA working to enforce environmental laws," said Wayne Nastri, administrator of the EPA's Pacific Southwest Office. "Complying with environmental regulations is a requirement for improved public health."

Below are a number of agency enforcement highlights for Arizona and tribal lands for 2005:

Mobil Exploration agreed to pay $1 million for Clean Act violations at Mobil's oil production facility on the Navajo Nation in the Four corners area near Aneth, Utah. As part of the settlement, the company will pay a $350,000 penalty and spend about $500,000 on operation improvements to control air pollution at its oil field. Mobil will also spend $99,349 on a public health project that will provide x-ray equipment, an x-ray processor and a pulmonary function testing machine to the Montezuma Creek Community Health Center in Montezuma Creek, Utah.

Romic Environmental Technologies agreed to pay a $67,888 penalty for multiple hazardous waste violations and to correct the violations at its facility on the Gila River Indian Reservation in the Lone Butte Industrial Park in Chandler, Ariz. The company will also spend $100,800 on life-saving equipment for the Gila River Indian community fire department and air monitoring and meteorological equipment for the Gila River Indian community Department of Environmental Quality.

The EPA filed a complaint against Asarco for Clean Air Act violations at its copper smelter in Hayden, Ariz. Asarco's emission reports for a period in 2002 show that the facility emitted more than the allowable 20 percent of opacity emissions and also failed to operate control equipment that would minimize emissions. The EPA requires emission limits to protect public health and the environment.

The EPA reached agreements with eight potentially responsible parties suspected of causing soil or groundwater contamination that may have contributed to the contamination at the Motorola 52nd St. Superfund Site in Phoenix, Ariz. The EPA signed agreements with the companies to investigate and identify potential sources of chlorinated solvents, such as trichloroethene (TCE), tetachloroethene (PCE), and trichloroethane (TCA) at their respective facilities. The companies agreed to pay the EPA costs for oversight of the investigation and past costs incurred for studying their facilities.

The EPA ordered the Alma Ranchettes Cooperative, a Chandler, Ariz., subdivision, Speedy's Truck Stop in Lupton, Ariz., and public water system American Realty & Mortgage Co.in Whitmann, Ariz., to monitor their drinking water for lead, copper and other contaminants, as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act. The orders require them to report sampling data to residents and to the state or EPA.

The EPA ordered three Arizona construction companies to halt unauthorized activities on natural waterways within the San Pedro River watershed near Benson, southeast of Tucson. The three home-building companies were violating state regulations and federal Clean Water Act requirements for construction sites. The companies involved are the Whetstone Development Corp., The Whetstone Corporate Center, and K.E. & G Development.

The EPA fined Asarco $80,000 for failing to report the correct amount of toxic chemicals released at its Hayden, Ariz, facility. Under the Toxics Release Inventory program, the EPA requires companies to inform the public about releases of toxic chemicals in their neighborhoods

A full description of the EPA's enforcement cases throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands in 2005 will soon be made available on the EPA's Web site at: http:// www.epa.gov/region09.

For more information on the EPA's national enforcement summary for 2005, visit: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/data/results/annual/fy2005.html

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