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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, 148 Tribes


Torres Martinez Solid Waste Collaborative

Title scene from Contaminated Valley
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The Contaminated Valley
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Makers of "The Contaminated Valley"
Makers of Contaminated Valley

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U.S. EPA, Pacific Southwest Region is awarding students from Desert Mirage High School an Environmental Leadership Award for the awareness they raised on the health and environmental dangers of illegally burning and dumping garbage through their award-winning documentary, The Contaminated Valley, and for the students' newest work — a public service announcement on the dangers of burning chromium copper and arsenic (CCA) treated grape stakes.

The students produced The Contaminated Valley in 2006 to inform the EPA and Bureau of Indian Affairs of the detrimental impacts the dump fires were having on their health and that of the community.

The Contaminated Valley won several awards:

  • Best Overall, 2006 Palm Springs Student Film Festival
  • Best Graphics, 2006 Palm Springs Student Film Festival
  • 1st Place, 2006 California Environmental
  • President's Environmental Youth Award

In addition to this powerful film, Desert Mirage High School students also produced the Grape Stakes Public Service Announcement in fall 2007 to educate the community about the dangers of CCA treated grape stakes.

Burning of Chromated Copper Arsenic-treated grape stakes for fire wood was identified as an environmental issue during the cold spell of winter 2007. This is a serious health risk, which required immediate outreach to residents.

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