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

On December 05, 2002, Arizona became one of 45 states with authorization from U.S. EPA to operate the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit Program (Section 402 of the Clean Water Act) on the state level.

Under the Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES) Permit Program, all facilities that discharge pollutants from any point source into waters of the United States (navigable waters) are required to obtain or seek coverage under an AZPDES permit. Pollutants can enter waters of the United States from a variety of pathways, including agricultural, domestic and industrial sources. For regulatory purposes these sources are generally categorized as either point source or nonpoint sources.

General Information

AZPDES Rules

ADEQ developed rules for the AZPDES program in 2001 and revised them in 2002 and 2004. The most recent revision was published in the Arizona Administrative Code on December 26, 2003. View the final version of the AZPDES rules at 18 A.A.C. 9, Art 9 , effective on February 2, 2004 (page 82).

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Overview

Types of Permits

ADEQ issues individual and general AZPDES permits.

An individual permit is tailored for a specific facility based on an individual application. ADEQ develops the permit based on this information and incorporates technology-based requirements, water quality standards and other conditions appropriate to the facility. The permit is then issued for a specified period of time not to exceed five years.

A general permit is developed and issued to cover multiple facilities within a specific category, industry or area. General permits offer a cost-effective and efficient option for agencies to cover a large number of facilities with elements in common under one permit. In addition, the permittee is ensured consistency in permit conditions for similar facilities. A general permit could be written to include all facilities within a common geographic area that:

  • Involve the same or substantially similar types of operations
  • Discharge the same types of wastes
  • Require the same effluent limitations or operating conditions
  • Require the same or similar monitoring requirements.

Components of a Permit

Individual and general permits must address, at a minimum, the following general sections:

  • Cover page - The name and location of the permittee, discharge locations, and a statement authorizing the discharge;
  • Effluent limitations and other monitoring requirements - Based on technology-based and water quality standards, these are the primary mechanism for controlling discharges of pollutants to receiving waters and characterizing wastestreams
  • Monitoring and reporting requirements - Specifies sample collection and analysis and reporting results to evaluate wastewater treatment efficiency and determine compliance with permit conditions
  • Biosolids - For the management of sludge at wastewater plants that treat domestic wastewater
  • Special conditions - Additional requirements to supplement effluent limitations. Examples include mixing zones, best management practices, ambient monitoring programs, toxicity evaluations, and compliance schedules
  • Standard conditions - Pre-established conditions that apply to all AZPDES permittees and outline the administrative, legal and procedural requirements of the program.

The contents of each permit will vary depending on whether it is issued to a municipal, private or industrial facility, the site of the facility, and whether the permit is issued for individual or multiple discharges.

Permitting Process

The permitting process begins when an application is submitted. Once received, the ADEQ permit writer reviews the application for completeness and accuracy. Once complete, the permit writer begins to develop the draft permit and the supporting documentation for the permit conditions (known as a fact sheet).

The first step in the process is deriving technology-based effluent limits, if applicable. Next, the writer compares these effluent limits to those developed based on surface water quality standards. The most stringent of the two is used in the permit and documented in the fact sheet. A permit may contain both types of limits. For example, a permit may contain effluent limits for BOD5 and TSS based on national effluent limitations guidelines (technology-based) and limits for ammonia and metals based on prevention of aquatic toxicity (water quality-based). The permit writer also evaluates the application for antidegradation and other program elements.

Following the development of effluent limits, the permit writer develops appropriate monitoring and reporting conditions, facility-specific special conditions, and includes the standard conditions.

The next step is to provide an opportunity for public participation. The draft permit is public noticed (generally 30 days) in a newspaper of general circulation to solicit comments from the public and interested parties. Based on the comments received, the permit writer finalizes the permit and documents the process and decisions for the administrative record.

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Related Statutes and Rules

View state statutes relating to the Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES) Program: Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS)

  • § 49-255.01 - Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES) Program; Rules and Standards; Affirmative Defense; Exemption from Termination
  • § 49-255.02 - Pretreatment Program; Rules and Standards

View state rules relating to the Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES) Program: Arizona Administrative Code (AAC)

View federal rules relating to the Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES) program: Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

  • 40 CFR 122.7 - Confidentiality of information
  • 40 CFR 122.21 - Application for a permit (applicable to State programs, see 123.25)
  • 40 CFR 122.22 - Signatories to permit applications and reports (applicable to State programs, see 123.25)
  • 40 CFR 122.26 - Storm water discharges (applicable to State NPDES programs, see 123.25)
  • 40 CFR 122.29 - New sources and new dischargers
  • 40 CFR 122.32 - As an operator of a small MS4, am I regulated under the NPDES storm water program?
  • 40 CFR 122.33 - If I am an operator of a regulated small MS4, how do I apply for an NPDES permit and when do I have to apply?
  • 40 CFR 122.34 - As an operator of a regulated small MS4, what will my NPDES MS4 storm water permit require?
  • 40 CFR 122.35 - As an operator of a regulated small MS4, may I share the responsibility to implement the minimum control measures with other entities?
  • 40 CFR 122.42 - Additional conditions applicable to specified categories of NPDES permits
  • 40 CFR 122.44 - Establishing limitations, standards, and other permit conditions
  • 40 CFR 122.62(a) and (b) - Modification or revocation and reissuance of permits (applicable to state programs, see 123.25)
  • 40 CFR 124.8 - Fact sheet
  • 40 CFR 124.56 - Fact sheets
  • 40 CFR 125, Subparts A, B, D, H, and I - Criteria and standards for the national pollutant discharge elimination system
  • 40 CFR 129 - Toxic effluent pollutant standards
  • 40 CFR 133 - Secondary treatment regulation
  • 40 CFR 136 - Guidelines for establishing test procedures for the analysis of pollutants
  • 40 CFR 401 - General provisions
  • 40 CFR 403 and Appendices A, D, E, and G - General pretreatment regulations for existing and new sources of pollution
  • 40 CFR 412 - Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) point source category
  • 40 CFR 405 through 471 - Point source categories

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