Water Quality Division: Permits: Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES): Permits

Individual Permits

The primary focus of the AZPDES individual permitting program is municipal/domestic and non-domestic (industrial) direct dischargers. The sources of pollutants and the type of discharger determines the type of application forms and information needed. Note: General permits are now available for certain classes of dischargers. (See General Permits).

Most facilities must include Anti-degradation Information with submission.

For regulatory purposes, these sources are generally categorized as either "point" or "nonpoint" sources. Typical point sources include process discharges from publicly owned treatment works, discharges from industrial facilities, and discharges associated with urban runoff. While provisions of the AZPDES program do address certain specific types of agricultural activities (e.g., feedlots, CAFOs), the majority of agricultural facilities are defined as nonpoint sources and are exempt from AZPDES regulations. As a general matter, groundwater is not considered waters of the United States and discharges to groundwater do not require AZPDES permits (See Aquifer Protection Permits (APP)). The exception to this rule is where a "hydrological connection"exists with a nearby surface water; in these cases, a discharger may be required to apply for an AZPDES permit.

Municipalities receive domestic sewage from residential and commercial customers. Larger publicly-owned treatment works will also receive and treat wastewater from industrial facilities (indirect dischargers) connected to the system. Typical pollutants include conventional pollutants (five-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), TSS, pH, fecal coliform) and may include nonconventional and toxic pollutants depending on the customers on the system.

Nonmunicipal sources, including industrial and commercial facilities, are unique with respect to the types of pollutants generated by the facility. Unlike domestic wastewater, the types of raw materials, production processes, treatment technologies and pollutants discharged vary widely and are facility specific. Once a facility submits the appropriate application, ADEQ develops a permit for that particular facility based on the information contained in the permit application such as type of activity, nature of discharge, and receiving water quality. ADEQ issues the permit to the facility for a specific time period (not to exceed five years) with a requirement that the facility reapply before the expiration date.

A.A.C. R18-9-B901 requires that applications for new discharges be made no later than 180 days before the actual discharge begins. Similarly, applications for permit renewals (for existing dischargers) must be made at least 180 days prior to the expiration of the existing permit. Before an application can be considered administratively complete, ADEQ must know whether the facility has been found consistent with (or not consistent with) the Regional 208 Water Quality Management Plan (WQM). Applicants should consult with their planning agencies to obtain a consistency statement.

General Permits

A general permit covers multiple facilities within a specific category and offers a permitting option for point source discharges having common elements such as:

  • Stormwater point sources
  • Facilities that involve the same or substantially similar types of operations
  • Facilities that discharge the same type of waste or engage in the same types of sludge use or disposal practices
  • Facilities that require the same effluent limits, operating conditions, or standards for sewage sludge use or disposal
  • Facilities that require the same or similar monitoring

De Minimis

General Information

The De Minimis General Permit (DMGP) is a statewide permit that provides a way to obtain AZPDES permit coverage for certain types of non-stormwater discharges to waters of the U.S. (surface waters) throughout Arizona, except within Indian Country. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality does not have discharge permitting authority in Indian Country, even on private fee lands. Operators in Indian Country must pursue permitting through U.S. EPA Region 9 or tribes granted “treatment as state” status or primacy by U.S. EPA over specific environmental programs.

Discharges to waters of the U.S. include those made directly and those made by way of a conveyance such as a storm sewer system. Discharge activities that are eligible for DMGP coverage include potable and reclaimed water system operations, subterranean dewatering, well development, aquifer testing, hydrostatic testing, certain cooling systems, charitable non-commercial car washes, washing of buildings and streets, and dechlorinated freshwater swimming pool drainage. Other types of discharges may be authorized on a case-by-case basis under Specific Approval from ADEQ (DMGP Part I.B.7.)

By definition in DMGP Part VII.B., De Minimis discharges meet the applicable Surface Water Quality Standards, are conducted with appropriate Best Management Practices, are generally of limited flow and/or frequency, and do not last continuously for more than 30 days unless approved in advance by ADEQ to last longer.

What discharges need DMGP coverage?

Under Arizona law (A.R.S. 49-255.01), any point source discharge to waters of the U.S. must have authorizing AZPDES permit coverage, unless excluded from permit requirements under statute or rule. The same is true for discharges that go into municipal separate stormwater sewer systems (MS4s) or other conveyances before reaching waters of the U.S. Prospective applicants should always check with the operator of any affected MS4 or other conveyance for permission to use the facility, as AZPDES permit coverage does not confer the right to discharge property or facilities not owned by the permittee.

Several types of AZPDES permit coverage are available. For qualifying discharges, the DMGP provides relatively simple ways to obtain coverage and maintain compliance. Alternatively, certain non-stormwater discharges may be allowed under the AZPDES Construction General Permit (CGP) or Multi-sector General Permit (MSGP) for industrial stormwater. DMGP coverage may not be needed if there is an active CGP or MSGP authorization for the site, and the proposed discharge is an “allowable non-stormwater discharge” under that general permit.

The 2016 DMGP (effective on June 1, 2016)

ADEQ has issued the 2016 DMGP (No. AZG2016-001) which succeeded the current 2010 DMGP (No. AZG2010-001) on the effective date of the new permit, June 1, 2016. The 2016 permit and related documents are available via the links below. The 2015 Fact Sheet and Response to Comments list the changes in the 2016 DMGP from the 2010 permit.

  • 2016 DMGP -- (PDF)
  • 2016 AZPDES Fact Sheet -- (PDF)
  • Response to Comments -- (PDF)
  • 2016 DMGP Public Notice -- (PDF)

Printed copies of the documents may be requested by contacting the ADEQ Records Center - (602) 771-4380.

Related Information

  • Preventing Water Pollution from Charitable Car Wash Events -- (PDF)
  • Impaired Waters - 2012-14 303(d) List (Category 5) and Not Attaining Waters (Category 4)

What happens to previous authorizations under the 2010 DMGP?

As of June 1, 2016, discharges that were authorized under the 2010 DMGP will be covered automatically under the 2016 DMGP if a Notice of Termination has not been filed. Submittal of a new Notice of Intent (NOI) is not required. Existing permittees who wish to continue coverage will need to update their Best Management Practices Plans (BMPPs) if necessary to comply with the provisions of the 2016 DMGP by September 28, 2016. Permittees who terminate their coverage before then are not required to update their BMPPs.

How to obtain a new DMGP discharge authorization

With some exceptions, to obtain a new authorization to discharge under the DMGP, the prospective discharger must submit a complete NOI to ADEQ at the address on the NOI form. The exceptions are for discharges from certain cooling systems, qualifying charitable car washes, building or street wash water, and dechlorinated drainage from swimming pools (DMGP Part I.B.6). For discharges requiring NOI submittal, the applicant must prepare and implement a BMPP. In some cases the BMPP must be submitted with the NOI. The NOI must be signed appropriately (DMGP Part V. K.), and submitted far enough in advance to allow for the timing of authorization specified in the DMGP. The NOI serves as the applicant’s confirmation that he/she understands the applicable DMGP requirements and will ensure compliance with them.

Fees

The De Minimis General Permit fee schedule is summarized below (A.A.C. R18-14-109). The applicant must submit the correct fee amount (if applicable) with the NOI form. State agencies are exempt from paying AZPDES fees under A.R.S. 49-104(C)(1).

Type of SubmittalFee Amount
Single Source NOI$2501
Areawide NOI$5001
Projectwide NOI$5001
Facilitywide NOI$5001
Best Management Practices Plan (BMPP)
BMPP Review$1,0002
BMPP Re-review$5003

1 = After the first year of permit coverage, the permittee is assessed an annual fee in the same amount until the Notice of Termination (NOT) form is submitted to ADEQ to terminate coverage.
2 = BMPP review fee is assessed only if the BMPP is submitted to ADEQ for review. BMPP review is required if specified in DMGP Part II.A., or if ADEQ specifically requests BMPP submittal.
3 = BMPP re-review fee is assessed when a BMPP is determined to be deficient and must be resubmitted.

Discharge monitoring and reporting

With certain exceptions, permittees must conduct discharge monitoring as listed in DMGP Appendix A and/or as specified by ADEQ. Monitoring requirements are based on the type of discharge activity and the type of receiving water. They include monitoring of flow rate, duration of flow, total residual chlorine if chlorine is present, and any known constituents of concern.

No monitoring is required for discharges covered under DMGP Part I.B.6. (i.e., those that do not require submittal of a NOI). Monitoring for numeric parameters is not required for certain discharges from potable water systems (DMGP Appendix A, Part A.7).

Permittees who are required to monitor must submit results to ADEQ for most discharges lasting more than four days continuously and/or exceeding 500,000 gallons in any one day. Permittees terminating authorizations must submit any required results with the Notice of Termination. Long-term permittees must submit results by February 28, 2020, for any required monitoring conducted before January 1, 2020. Permittees with long-term coverage who have no required reporting must notify the Department accordingly by February 28, 2020.

Notice of Termination

For discharges that required submittal of a NOI, the permittee must submit a Notice of Termination (NOT) after all covered discharges have permanently ceased, or when the permittee transfers responsibility for the discharges. The permittee remains responsible for compliance and annual fees until ADEQ receives the NOT.

Forms

You must have the latest version of Adobe Reader on your computer to fully utilize and print PDF forms. The Excel forms will work with Microsoft Excel 2003 and higher. You may fill out these forms electronically on-screen and print them out for submittal to ADEQ.

  • Notice of Intent - Single-source Discharge -- (PDF)
  • Notice of Intent - Areawide, Facilitywide, or Projectwide Discharges -- (PDF)
  • Permittee Information Form - for ADDITIONS to Areawide, Facilitywide, or Projectwide Authorizations -- (PDF)
  • Discharge Information - TABLE 1: Description of Specified Discharge Locations -- (Excel)
  • Discharge Information - TABLE 2: Description of Unspecified Discharge Locations -- (PDF)
  • Notice of Termination for De Minimis Discharges -- (PDF)
  • De Minimis Discharge Monitoring Report Form -- (Excel)

For more information, please contact us.

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Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP)

Infrequent Discharges of Domestic Wastewater to Waters of the U.S.

On May 18, 2012, ADEQ issued AZPDES General Permit No. AZGP2012-001 authorizing infrequent discharges of treated municipal and domestic wastewater to waters of the United States (U.S.) if the specified criteria are met. The permit, known as the General Permit for Infrequent Discharges of Domestic Wastewater to Waters of the U.S. ("General Permit for Infrequent Dischargers"), will be effective for a period of five years from the date of issuance.

2012 General Permit for Infrequent Dischargers and Associated Documents

  • General Permit for Infrequent Dischargers -- (PDF)
  • Fact Sheet -- (PDF)
  • Response to Comments -- (PDF)

General Permit Eligibility

This general permit is applicable for discharges from facilities that meet the following conditions:

  1. Domestic wastewater treatment plants with a design capacity of less than 20 million gallons per day; and
  2. Facilities which discharge on a routine basis of no more frequently than two times per calendar year with a duration of no more than 14 consecutive days per discharge event and at least 30 days between discharges; and
  3. Facilities which will discharge on an emergency basis no more frequently than three times per permit term with a duration of no more than 14 consecutive days per discharge event; and
  4. Facilities which discharge to any waters of the U.S. in Arizona except Outstanding Arizona Waters (OAW) and new or expanded discharges to perennial waters.

All discharges must meet the applicable Surface Water Quality Standards and may not exceed the specified duration, frequency, or design flow.

Authorization

To obtain coverage under this general permit, submittal of an Notice of Intent (NOI) is required. Each discharge authorization is based on an NOI signed by the appropriate signatory (Part II.A). The NOI serves as a commitment by the signatory that there will be compliance with the permit conditions.

Forms

  • Notice of Intent for Infrequent Dischargers -- (PDF)
  • Notice of Termination for Infrequent Dischargers -- (PDF)

Authorization under this permit requires the permittee to conduct discharge monitoring based on the volume and frequency of discharges.

Monitoring

Monitoring must be conducted and recorded for covered discharges according to the provisions of the general permit and any specific requirements of the authorization issued by ADEQ. Monitoring results, including discharge flow records, are required to be submitted to ADEQ for all discharges.

For more information, please contact us.

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Minor Discharges of Domestic Wastewater to Waters of the U.S.

On May 18, 2012, ADEQ issued AZPDES General Permit No. AZGP2012-002 authorizing discharges of treated domestic wastewater to waters of the United States (U.S.) if the specified criteria are met. The permit, known as the General Permit for Minor Discharges of Domestic Wastewater to Waters of the U.S. ("General Permit for Minor WWTPs"), will be effective for a period of five years from the date of issuance.

2012 General Permit for Minor WWTPs and Associated Documents

  • General Permit for Minor WWTPs -- (PDF)
  • Fact Sheet -- (PDF)
  • Response to Comments -- (PDF)

General Permit Eligibility

This general permit is applicable for discharges from facilities that meet the following conditions:

  1. Domestic wastewater treatment plants with a design capacity of less than 1 million gallons per day; and
  2. Facilities which discharge only to waters of the U.S. with the designated uses of Partial-body contact and Aquatic and wildlife ephemeral or Partial-body contact and Aquatic and wildlife effluent dependent water. The designated uses of Agricultural irrigation and/or Agricultural livestock watering may also be included.

All discharges must meet the applicable Surface Water Quality Standards and may not exceed the specified design flow.

Authorization

To obtain coverage under this general permit, submittal of an NOI is required. Each discharge authorization is based on an NOI signed by the appropriate signatory (Part II.A). The NOI serves as a commitment by the signatory that there will be compliance with the permit conditions.

Forms

  • Notice of Intent for Minor WWTPs -- (PDF)
  • Notice of Termination for Minor WWTPs -- (PDF)

Authorization under this permit requires the permittee to conduct discharge monitoring based on the volume and frequency of discharges.

Monitoring

Monitoring must be conducted and recorded for covered discharges according to the provisions of the general permit and any specific requirements of the authorization issued by ADEQ. Monitoring results, including discharge flow records, are required to be submitted to ADEQ for all discharges.

For more information, please contact us.

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