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  • 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.
     
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  • 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.
     
     
     
  • DEQ rolls out comprehensive compliance database

    Oregon is once again a national leader, becoming one of a small handful of states to develop a comprehensive, single database of the entities regulated for environmental compliance.
     
    “I think there are maybe two or three other states that have done this,” said Dave Belyea, Regional Environmental Solutions Manager for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Western Region in Eugene. Belyea oversees the database project.
     
    Think of it this way: if a police officer pulls over a driver and wants to check his or her record, the results are immediate from a law enforcement database.  The officer can see at a glance if the driver is a repeat offender who needs to be taken off the road, or a first-time violator who may just need a warning.  Prior to the new DEQ database, there was no way to track an entity’s compliance history.

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  • Oregon’s electronics recycling program expands its scope

    It’s getting easier to recycle more of your unwanted electronics equipment in Oregon – thanks in part to the latest expansion of the DEQ-administered and electronics manufacturer-funded Oregon E-Cycles Program.

    Already, you may bring your unwanted televisions, computers and monitors to one of more than 270 collection facilities and recyclers throughout the state. And, beginning on Jan. 1, 2015, you’ll also be able to recycle your computer “peripherals” – keyboards and mice – as well as printers. The expanded recycling operations are expected to boost Oregon’s already nationally high rate of recycling.

    “The addition of new devices to Oregon’s program demonstrates the strong commitment of Oregonians to responsibly recycle their electronic waste while protecting our shared environment,” said Craig Lorch, CEO of Total Reclaim, which operates a recycling facility in northeast Portland.

     

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  • There's more to the "public record" of Oregon underground storage tanks
    Each year, DEQ publishes a document – required by federal guidelines – that updates information about underground storage tanks in Oregon. This  report with the mundane title, “UST Public Record—General Program Information for FFY 2014,” tells the statistical story about underground storage tanks in Oregon – how many are out there, the number inspected, and how many have leaked.
     
    Behind the numbers and tables in the report, however, is the greater message: Oregon and other states are doing a better job making sure that underground storage tanks from gas stations, commercial/industrial operations and government agencies are less likely to leak their petroleum products or other contaminants into the soil and groundwater.
     
     
     
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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.
 
 
DEQ Office Locations, Hours and Closures
For notice of inclement weather closures at DEQ and statewide, check the Oregon State Office Closures page.
 

Oregon Evaluates Proposed Ozone Standard

 
trafficJam.jpgOn Nov. 25, 2014, the EPA proposed to strengthen the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ground-level ozone, or smog, based on extensive scientific evidence about ozone's effects. The proposed updates will improve public health protection, particularly for children, older people and people of all ages who have lung diseases such as asthma. The updates also will improve protection for trees, plants and ecosystems. Go to EPA’s web page Ground-level Ozone to find more information about the proposed new federal ozone standard and how to comment.
 
To see what a new standard would mean for Oregon, go to our fact sheet: Oregon Evaluates Proposed Ozone Standard.