Water Quality Programs

Image of water taken under the water with a close-up of air bubbles rasing to the surface

Learn More About the Water Quality Division: Page 2 of 2

Surface Water

The WQD implements a number of Clean Water Act (CWA) programs including:

  • Developing surface water quality standards to protect human health and the environment.
  • Monitoring the water quality of streams and lakes throughout the state.
  • Assessing whether surface waters are meeting water quality standards.
  • Developing a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan with a goal to reduce pollutants and restore water quality, if standards are not being met.  
Once a TMDL is adopted, ADEQ works closely with the public and private interests in the watershed. To improve water quality, the WQD implements the Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES) program. This program requires all facilities that discharge pollutants into streams and lakes to obtain a permit. 
Regulated discharges include sewage treatment facilities, construction sites larger than one acre, municipal storm water systems and a variety of industrial facilities. An AZPDES permit includes discharge limits, monitoring and reporting requirements and other conditions necessary to protect human health and the environment. 
Section 319 of the CWA provides states with funds to aid in addressing nonpoint source pollution problems.  The WQD’s Water Quality Improvement Grant (WQIG) program works with local government, citizens and industry to develop and fund restoration projects and educational opportunities to protect and restore water quality that is threatened by nonpoint pollution sources, such as channelization, some agricultural practices and septic systems.