Water Quality Division: Permits: Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES): Pesticide General Permit (PGP)

On October 31, 2011, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality issued an Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES), Pesticide General Permit (AZPGP2011-001) for the application of pesticides to, including over and near, Waters of the United States. The permit is issued under Arizona Administrative Code (A.A.C.) R18-9-C901 and applies to all areas in Arizona, except Indian Country.

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

Background Information

ADEQ issued this permit in response to the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit opinion in the case known as The National Cotton Council of America v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which overturned the U.S. EPA rule that exempted from the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program pesticides that are applied to and near waters of the United States so long as the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) labeling requirements to protect water quality are followed.

Although the court opinion was issued in April 2009, U.S. EPA requested and was granted two extensions to implement permitting requirements. Therefore, as of October 31, 2011, permit coverage is required for discharges to Waters of the United States of biological pesticides, and of chemical pesticides that leave a residue.

An AZPDES permit is required for any addition of any pollutant to waters of the U.S. from any point source (See ARS 49-255 definition of "discharge"). This Pesticide General Permit (PGP) or any other AZPDES permit does not cover discharges that, by law, are not required to obtain the NPDES permit coverage.

The Clean Water Act specifically excludes from the definition of point source, "agricultural stormwater discharges and return flow from irrigated agriculture." Nothing in this PGP or any other AZPDES permit changes the effect of those statutory exemptions. Therefore, no AZPDES permit is required when a person applies pesticides to control agricultural terrestrial pests or ornamental terrestrial pests that are routinely controlled as part of the production of agricultural or ornamental plant commodities.

Pesticide General Permit (PGP) Eligibility

The PGP authorizes chemical and biological pesticide discharges to, over, and near Waters of the U.S. for the following five use patterns:

  1. Mosquito and Other Flying Insect or Pest Control;
  2. Weed, Algae, and Vegetation Control;
  3. Animal Pest Control;
  4. Forest Canopy Pest Control; and
  5. Specific Approvals (a pesticide discharge activity not covered by one of the other four patterns, but determined to be within the purpose and intent of the PGP by the department in advance of the pesticide discharge).

If the proposed pesticide discharge activity does not fall within one of the use patterns and cannot be covered as a specific approval, the operator must obtain coverage under another permit in order to discharge to a water of the U.S.

Authorization

ADEQ's PGP does not require all pesticide dischargers to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) (see section 2.4 of the permit) to obtain coverage. Only operators that propose to discharge to waters classified as aquatic and wildlife (warm or cold water), an impaired water, an Outstanding Arizona Water, an effluent dependent water, or as part of a specific approval must submit a NOI to obtain permit coverage.

Regardless of whether a person is required to submit a NOI, each operator covered by the permit is required to comply with all applicable requirements.

Summary of Pesticide General Permit (PGP) Requirements

The following is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for reading and understanding the permit itself.

  • Obtain and read a copy of the PGP.
  • Submit a Notice of Intent (NOI), if required to do so (section 2.4).
  • Comply with the effluent limitations for each pesticide use pattern (section 3.0).
  • Conduct visual monitoring (section 5.0).
  • If required to do so, prepare and implement a Pesticide Discharge Management Plan (PDMP) (section 6.0). The permit requires a PDMP be submitted with the NOI at least 31 days before any proposed discharges to impaired waters, Outstanding Arizona Waters, and for specific approval.
  • Conduct any corrective actions as may be necessary (section 7.0).
  • Maintain required records and submit reporting documents (as necessary) to ADEQ (section 8.0).
  • Operators that are required to submit a NOI must also submit a Notice of Termination (NOT) when all pesticide discharge activities are completed (section 2.6). An operator may keep permit coverage active for the duration of the permit for ongoing pesticide discharge activities.

Fees

The Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES), Pesticide General Permit (PGP) fee schedule summarized below (established in A.A.C. R18-14-109) became effective July 01, 2011. The correct fee amount must be submitted with the Notice of Intent (NOI) for processing.

Pesticide General Permit (PGP) Fee Schedule
Permit Category Fee Amount
Single Source (Type 1A) $250.001
Areawide (Type 1B) $500.001
Pesticide Discharge Management Plan Review (PDMP)
PDMP Review $1000.002
PDMP Re-Review $500.003
1 = The permittee is assessed an annual fee in the same amount until the Notice of Termination (NOT) form is submitted to ADEQ to terminate permit coverage.
2 = PDMP review fee is assessed only if the PDMP is submitted to ADEQ for review.
3 = PDMP re-review fee is assessed when a PDMP is determined to be deficient and must be resubmitted.

See Also:

For more information on the AZPDES Pesticide General Permit, please contact us.