Water Quality Division: Watershed Management: Regional Water Quality Management Planning (208)

Regional Water Quality Management Planning (208)

Regional Water Quality Management Planning (WQMP) is a requirement of Section 208 of the federal Clean Water Act. Regional water quality management is an important approach to protecting water quality. The 208 Program facilitates the review of infrastructure projects to assure they are consistent with the certified regional water quality management plan of the designated planning agency. Public participation is part of the 208 process and allows collaboration with public and private sectors.

Activities include:

  • ADEQ serves as the state-planning agency for water quality.
  • Coordinating with the five Councils of Governments (COGs), as well as La Paz, Mohave and Yuma Counties, who serve as Designated Planning Agencies (DPAs) for specific regions of the state and coordinate planning for their member entities.
  • Overseeing coordination of water quality management plan amendments and updates.
  • Ensuring that proposed construction of wastewater treatment facilities and water quality permits conform to the regional 208 Plan in accordance with the state's Continuing Planning Process.

Map of the Designated Planning Agencies

Under Section 208, the designated regional planning agencies are required to develop comprehensive water quality management plans in coordination with ADEQ, which is the state planning agency for water quality.

Currently, the eight DPAs are:

Water Quality Management Plans

The areawide water quality management plans developed by the DPAs do the following:

  • Identify existing and proposed wastewater treatment facilities to meet the anticipated municipal and industrial waste treatment needs of an area over a 20-year period
  • Provide general planning guidance for nonpoint source pollution, sludge, stormwater and other activities
  • Ensure that consistency is maintained with the state's water quality standards
  • Provide control over the discharge or placement of dredged or fill material
  • Provide the foundation for activity to be conducted pursuant to best management practices

Continuing Planning Process (CPP)

The areawide plans are incorporated into the State Water Quality Management Plans through the State CPP, as required under Section 303.e. (1) of the Clean Water Act. When construction projects, State Revolving Fund loans or certain types of permit applications are submitted to ADEQ, the proposal must be reviewed for plan consistency.

The CPP manual includes the approval and amendment processes for the Water Quality Management Plan. It also discusses the permits and programs that are required to maintain consistency with the plan. The appendix section containing the WQM Plan requirements is continually used to help implement new amendments to the plan.

Regional and local governments, as well as private engineering and consulting firms, also use the CPP in an ongoing effort to develop and implement consistent and effective water quality management programs throughout the state.

Consistency Reviews


The purpose of the 208 Consistency Review process, as required by the Clean Water Act, is to ensure that a proposed facility or use will be consistent with the existing certified Regional Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP).

The WQMP is the composite planning document for a region that addresses municipal and industrial wastewater treatment facilities, point source management, waste management, planning area description, water quality issues, and implementation measures for the regional continuing planning process.

The WQMP is reinforced by the CPP manual, which contains procedures for planning and implementing water quality management programs in Arizona.

What is required

To view the most updated form, please visit our new website at http://azdeq.gov/forms

A 208 Consistency Review Form must be submitted to ADEQ for the following:

  • AZPDES permits (new and renewals)
  • New Wastewater Treatment Facilities (WWTF) discharging over 3000 gallons per day (GPD)
  • Modifications to existing facilities, including, but not limited to:
    • Change in design capacity
    • Increase in the quantity of pollutants discharged
    • Change in method of effluent disposal
    • Change in the amount of effluent processed
  • Project (subdivision, commercial or other) is located outside the planning/service area of the Designated Management Agency (DMA)* of the receiving WWTF
  • New subdivisions with conventional or alternative on-site treatment systems and flows over 3000 GPD

*Please refer to the CPP manual (new version coming soon) for definition and responsibilities of a DMA.

Please send completed forms to:

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
Regional Water Quality Planner
1110 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

For more information, please contact us.

ADEQ suggests you schedule a pre-application and pre-amendment meeting with appropriate staff prior to submittal of documents.

A facility that is not consistent with the Water Quality Management 208 Plan may be required to write an amendment to the current 208 Regional Plan in their area. The amendment must be approved by a public process.

208 Amendment Process

The 208 amendment process involves 10 steps that may take six or more months to complete because of required public notifications and various reviews by the Designated Planning Agency committees.

Amendments that are recommended for approval by the Water Quality Management Working Group are forwarded to ADEQ for review and approval. This process time may take 30 to 45 days.

The document is then sent to the U.S. EPA, which has a 120-day review period depending on the type of amendment that is submitted.