What is ADEQ and What Do We Do for Arizona?
The Arizona Legislature created the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) as the state’s environmental regulatory agency under the Environmental Quality Act of 1986. ADEQ is a separate, cabinet-level agency that directs all of Arizona's environmental protection programs. ADEQ’s mission is to protect and enhance public health and the environment in Arizona. The department does this by overseeing the state’s environmental laws and authorized 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. We provide technical support to emergency response agencies to reduce the risk to humans and property.
- Compliance and Enforcement – We help businesses understand and comply with environmental laws and promote positive 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 on many occasions to show them how they can protect and enhance public health and the environment. We offer financial aid to governments and other entities to support programs promoting air and water quality and pollution prevention.
- Monitoring and Data Analysis – We regularly collect air, water and soil samples to determine the presence or absence of contaminants. We interpret the data 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 practices and strategies in areas where health-based environmental standards are threatened or violated.
- Policy Development - ADEQ writes rules to enact the broad legal language contained in legislation. We create policies to explain how we interpret statutes and rules to ensure consistent, fair decisions and to inform the public about how we do business. ADEQ 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 develop best practices and strategies in areas where standards are not being met.
ADEQ's staff supports the department's Director and the program divisions by providing strategy, efficiency and consistency in the areas of communications, community outreach, legislative affairs, legal counsel, and rule/policy development. This includes program and project managers who share resources and coordinate their efforts among the department's program divisions.
ADEQ ensures that businesses and facilities operate according to state and federal environmental laws and regulations. The department offers a variety of assistance to bring about compliance. ADEQ 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 help 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.
The Water Quality Division helps ensure safe drinking water and reduces the effets 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;
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