The Arizona Legislature established the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) as the state’s environmental regulatory agency
under the Environmental Quality Act of 1986 to serve as a separate, cabinet-level agency to administer all of Arizona's environmental protection programs.. ADEQ’s mission is to protect and enhance public
health and the environment in Arizona. The department achieves this mission by administering
the state’s environmental laws and delegated federal programs to prevent pollution of the air,
water, and land, and to ensure clean up of such pollution when it occurs.
ADEQ's goal is to lead Arizona and the nation in protecting and enhancing the environment and improving the quality of life for the people of our state. The agency helps Arizonans respect the balance between the natural world and the people who depend on it for sustenance, prosperity and a fulfilling quality of life.
The department is composed of four programs: air quality, water quality, waste, and administration. The programs carry out the core functions of the agency:
- Planning – We develop best management practices and control strategies in areas where health-based environmental standards are threatened or violated.
- Permitting – We issue permits to ensure facilities are constructed and operated according to law and that any discharges to air, water and soil are within healthful standards established by law.
- Compliance and Enforcement – We help businesses understand and comply with environmental regulatory requirements and promote positive environmental practices. We regularly inspect facilities and respond to citizen complaints about possible violations. When facilities fail to comply, we use our enforcement authorities under the law to bring them back into compliance as quickly as possible.
- Monitoring and Data Analysis – We systematically collect air, water and soil samples for laboratory analysis to determine the presence or absence of contaminants, and then interpret data results to draw conclusions about environmental indicators and trends for future planning decisions.
- Cleanups – We investigate and oversee the removal and cleanup of contaminated soil and groundwater to protect public health and the environment. We also provide technical support and assistance to emergency response agencies to minimize risk to human health and property.
- Outreach – We engage citizens and businesses in a variety of educational and informational opportunities to help them understand how they can help protect and enhance public health and Arizona’s unique environment. We also offer financial assistance local governments and other entities to support programs benefiting air and water quality and pollution prevention.
The Director's Office staff supports the ADEQ Director and the department's environmental program divisions by ensuring coordination, efficiency and consistency in the areas of communications, community outreach, legislative affairs, legal counsel, and rule/policy development. It also includes several program and project managers who share resources and coordinate their efforts among the department's environmental program divisions.
ADEQ ensures that businesses and facilities operate according to state and federal environmental laws and regulations and the department offers a variety of assistance to bring about compliance. The agency also conducts inspections on a routine basis and in response to citizen complaints.
ADEQ engages Arizonans to keep them informed and encourages participation in environmental planning and decision-making. We strive to educate, inspire and assist citizens by promoting environmental awareness through public involvement activities and providing useful tools and resources. View a list of our programs on our Education and Outreach page.