What is ADEQ and What Do We Do for Arizona?
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Education, Outreach and Financial Assistance – 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Planning – We develop best management practices and control strategies in areas where health-based environmental standards are threatened or violated.
- Policy Development - ADEQ writes rules to implement the broad statutory language contained in legislation, and we develop policies to explain how we interpret statutes and rules to ensure consistent, equitable decisions and to inform the public about how we do business. ADEQ also works with state and national organizations and stakeholder groups to shape and influence sound environmental policy.
- Pollution Control - ADEQ issues permits, approvals and certifications to ensure that facilities are legally constructed and operated and that any discharges to the air, water and soil are within healthful standards established by law. Our planning specialists also develop management practices and control strategies in areas where standards are not being met
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.
Waste Programs Division
The Waste Programs Division reduces the risk associated with waste management, contaminated sites and regulated substances.
Our responsibilities include:
- Assuring the proper handling, storage, treatment and disposal of wastes, and the correct operation and maintenance of underground storage tanks;
- Investigating complaints and violations of Arizona's solid waste, hazardous waste and underground storage tank laws as well as administering payments from the State Assurance Fund for reimbursement of eligible costs associated with the removal and remediation of leaking underground storage tanks.
- Investigating, managing and remediating soil and groundwater that are contaminated with regulated and hazardous substances;
- Promoting pollution prevention and recycling;
- Reviewing and approving construction plans for landfills and special waste facilities.
Water Quality Division
The Water Quality Division helps ensure safe drinking water and reduce the impact of pollutants discharged to surface and groundwater.
Our responsibilities include:
- Ensuring that Arizona's public water systems deliver safe drinking water;
- Identifying water pollution problems and establishing standards to address them;
- Investigating complaints and violations of Arizona's water quality laws, rules and permits;
- Issuing permits to protect Arizona waters from point sources of pollution;
- Managing the quality of water resources through partnerships within the natural boundaries of the state's watersheds;
- Monitoring and assessing the quality of surface and groundwater throughout the state;
- Regulating the discharge and treatment of wastewater.
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