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  • Which state is using owls to reduce toxics?

    Oregon - that's hoooo!

    Oregon took a small but important step in reducing toxics by approving new purchasing guidelines September 10. The guidelines, initiated by Governor Kitzhaber in 2012, ensure the state will begin purchasing less toxic products, from office and cleaning supplies to furniture.



  • Woodstove smoke a source of winter air pollution in Oregon
    October brings cooler temperatures to Oregon, which means now is a perfect time to talk about woodstove smoke. If not used correctly, woodstoves can emit a lot of smoke, which is bad news for both the environment and your health.
    Consider this: It only takes 20 of the older, non-certified woodstoves to emit more than one ton of fine particular pollution (called PM2.5) into the air. The problem gets bigger when you realize people burn more than 10 million woodstoves in just the United States.
    Smoke from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces contain a mixture of harmful gases and small particles. Breathing these small particles can cause asthma attacks and severe bronchitis, aggravate heart and lung disease and increase the likelihood of respiratory illnesses.
    Fortunately, burning smart is fairly easy to do.
    Read more ...
  • Chemicals, Contamination, and Cleanup
    Since 1988, DEQ has identified more than 5,000 sites in Oregon with known or suspected contamination from historical spills. DEQ identified an additional 82 sites in fiscal year 2013 alone.

    That’s a lot of sites and a lot of spills.
    Removing hazardous contamination as quickly and inexpensively as possible is a top priority for DEQ. The types of sites we deal with includes a range of incidents and accidents, including leaking underground storage tanks, diesel and oil spills, buried materials and chemicals that have been improperly stored for years, or even decades.
    DEQ is working to improve the way we approach our cleanup efforts. We want to reduce the time and costs involved, and to better communicate the scope and desired results of projects.
    To learn about improvements DEQ is making to the Cleanup Program, read our Cleanup Program Update for 2014.
  • Celebrating Progress - A Message From the Director
    Dear Oregonians,
    This year marks 50 years since the death of Rachel Carson, the biologist and conservationist awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Jimmy Carter for raising awareness of the indiscriminate use of pesticides in the 1950s and 1960s. She almost single-handedly helped reverse pesticide policies across the country, including a nationwide ban on DDT.
    Since Carson’s death in 1964, we have come so far in our understanding of pesticides. The chemicals used in the past (include DDT and its chemically-close cousins) have been replaced with far less-toxic alternatives. Application practices have been localized, greatly reducing the amount of pesticides being used. Oregon DEQ is also working closely with the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the agricultural community on best practices for application and encouraging biological alternatives to chemicals to control insect population.
    I am extremely proud of DEQ’s efforts, and the interest and cooperation we have built with growers. In general, growers across Oregon have worked with DEQ in recent years to reduce the use and impact of pesticides. The Toxics Reduction Strategy and in particular the Pesticide Stewardship Program outline many of the successful strategies we’ve used to produce quantifiable benefits to the environment.
Resources DEQ Spotlight
DEQ Office Locations, Hours and Closures


New! DEQ opens office in Klamath Falls - click for location

For notice of inclement weather closures at DEQ and statewide, check the Oregon State Office Closures page.
How Do I? 

Join Our Email Update Lists
Receive email notifications and updates on a variety of DEQ projects. Select from a menu of topics that interest you. Sign up for email updates 

Director Dick Pedersen
Meet Director Dick Pedersen
Comcast newsmakers interview Department of Environmental Quality Director Dick Pedersen about the agency's approach to solving environmental problems. Watch the video.

Cutting Carbon Pollution from Power Plants

From ocean acidification to rampant wildfires, climate change is having a very real impact on Oregon. To address this, the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed the Clean Power Plan to cut carbon pollution from our largest source, power plants. The Clean Power Plan gives states flexibility to choose how to meet their goals. Oregon is already taking action toward cleaner and more efficient power.
On October 16, 2014, Director Dick Pedersen signed a letter to EPA that supports, with some suggestions, this bold step to modernize our power sector, lay the foundation for a low-carbon economy, and fuel growth. Oregon’s comments were developed in close collaboration with the Oregon Department of Energy and the Oregon Public Utility Commission. The rule is expected to be finalized by the middle of next year. “I know Oregon’s great work on renewable energy and energy efficiency will get even better,” said Pedersen. View our Federal Standards for CO2 web page for more information.
DEQ In the News Today
snl.com (SNL Financial LC website), Charlottesville, Va. – 10/20/14
Oregon: efficiency measures should be counted toward carbon caps
Utilitydive.com (a utilities industry information website), 10/22/14