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  • Stormwater

    Sabino Canyon CreekStormwater is renewable water. Managing runoff from our homes and businesses into roadways and drainageways keeps surface water clean, which in turn supports riparian areas and preserves our high quality groundwater. Strategies to reduce pollutants, like bacteria and copper, from flowing into our surface waters include the following:

    Outreach & Participation: Encourage clean-up of key pollutants & engage the community in on-going projects like Adopt-A-Road.
    Illicit Discharges: Pick up pet waste. Toss trash in the right place. Recycle auto fluids.
    Homes & Businesses: Keep oils, anti-freeze, fertilizers & pesticides away from runoff.
    Industrial Facilities: Organize chemicals, equipment and work processes to keep chemicals out of the rain. Weed with care. Prevent spills. Clean-up spills.
    Construction Sites: Minimize wastewater from washout of concrete, stucco, and paint as well as fuels, oils, soaps, solvents and trash from flowing into stormwater.

    Construction General Permits (CGPs)

    Obtain your CGP from ADEQ before breaking ground on a project one acre or larger. Land disturbance includes clearing, grading, excavating, and stockpiling fill material for building roads, homes, and buildings as well as demolition activities. The permit functions to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters, such as desert washes, intermittent streams, lakes, wetlands, and tributaries.

    1. Obtaining a Construction General Permit

    To obtain a CGP from ADEQ, complete a Notice of Intent (NOI). Referring to ADEQ's 2013 CGP, EPA's 2013 CGP or EPA's SWPPP template is helpful while completing the NOI. Pima County MapGuide may be used to prepare the general map and site map (Tips for using MapGuide).

    2. During Construction

    Keep an updated SWPPP on-site identifying the stormwater team, sequence of construction activities, control measures, a summary of potential pollutants, waste management procedures, and a record of 1) inspections, 2) maintenance actions, 3) corrective actions, 4) rain log using an on-site rain gage or information from a Pima County weather station, and 5) other information required by the permit

    3. When the Project is Complete

    The site operator(s) submits a Notice of Termination (NOT) to ADEQ. The NOT certifies the following:

    • Final stabilization is complete
    • Temporary erosion and sediment controls have been removed.
    • Another operator has filed an NOI and is responsible for compliance at the site.

     
    Note: Check to see if these additional Pima County Permits are needed for the project:
    Fugitive Dust Activity Permit
    Grading, Hillside and Native Plant Preservation Ordinance (NPPO) Permits

    Multi-sector General Permits (MSGP) for Industrial Facilities

    Obtain your MSGP from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) for industrial activities with selected Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes. This permit functions to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters, such as desert washes, intermittent streams, lakes, wetlands, and tributaries.

    1. Obtaining an MSGP from ADEQ

    To obtain an MSGP from ADEQ, complete a Notice of Intent (NOI).  Refer to ADEQ's 2010 MSGP, EPA's MSGP, and EPA Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) Guide. Applicants need to identify their primary SIC code. For more information to determine an SIC Code contact NAICS Association, US Census Bureau or US Department of Labor, OSHA . Pima County MapGuide may be used to prepare the general map and the site map (Tips for Using MapGuide).

    2. Operating your facility with an MSGP

    Keep a current SWPPP on site identifying the stormwater team, a summary of potential pollutants, control measures, and records of inspections, maintenance actions, rainfall log using an on-site rain gauge or a Pima County weather station, and corrective actions. If you collect water samples, EPA's Monitoring and Sampling Guide (March 2009) provides instructions to collect stormwater samples and coordinate with a laboratory to analyze the sample(s) for the needed parameters. For more information see
    Fact Sheets for Industrial Activities covered by EPA’s MSGP.

    3. Transferring ownership of facility

    The facility operator(s) must submit a Notice of Termination (NOT) to ADEQ. The terms and conditions of the MSGP should be met until the facility's authorization has been terminated.
    Pima County MapGuide gives access to satellite imagery, topography, roads, washes, and other important information (Tips to use MapGuide).

    Watersheds in the Tucson Basin provides maps showing where the water flows when it rains. The Tucson Regional Watershed Map provides a three dimensional view of the Tucson Basin.

    Pima County Regional Flood Control District operates and maintains a network of real-time sensors used to collect hydrometeorological data.  This network provides information to county personnel and other agencies about precipitation, stormwater runoff, and weather conditions affecting our regional watersheds. Using radio telemetry, sensors report data in the National Weather Service Automated Local Evaluation in Real Time (ALERT) format.  This type of network is commonly referred to as an ALERT system.  The ALERT sensor data  is available via an interactive map through the Regional Flood Control District.

    History of Pima County's MS4 Permit

    Federal and State MS4 Regulations

    In 1972, the U.S. Congress passed the Clean Water Act (CWA) to protect and improve the quality of water in the United States. The CWA required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate the discharge of pollutants to surface waters by issuing National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. Initially, the NPDES program focused on reducing pollutants from point source discharges such as industrial process wastewater and municipal wastewater. While the water quality improved, degraded water remained and was observed to flow from diffuse sources, or non-point sources, such as agriculture, urban areas, construction sites, industrial facilities, landfills and mining areas.

    EPA addressed pollutants from non-point sources in 1990 by establishing regulations for permitting stormwater discharges associated with industrial activities, construction activities, concentrated animal feed operations (CAFO), and municipal areas with a high likelihood of releasing pollutants. EPA developed a permit for each activity and began issuing permits in 1992.

    The State of Arizona assumed primacy, or authority, to implement the NPDES permit program at the state level on December 5, 2002 when the Arizona legislature enacted enabling legislation. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) administers the program and issues Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES) permits to protect surface water quality.

    Pima County's Permit

    Pima County MS4 Permit AreaEPA issued an NPDES permit to Pima County in 1997. ADEQ issued Pima County’s AZPDES permit on June 16, 2011. The county’s new permit area consists of 2,087 miles of roadways, 39 miles of storm drains and infrastructure collecting runoff that flows into stream channels. Pima County is a Phase I, or large, municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), based on a population that is larger than 100,000.

    Pima County developed a Stormwater Management Program to ensure the quality of stormwater discharges were managed to the maximum extent practicable. The program includes control measures to minimize the discharge of pollutants carried by runoff. Components of Pima County's Stormwater Management Program include the following:

    1. Public Education and Outreach
      1. Presentations and seminars on stormwater topics.
      2. Assist local businesses in complying with environmental requirements.
      3. Supply libraries with environmental awareness information through EcoNook for Desert Dwellers and Eco Kids Corner.
    2. Public Involvement and Participation
      1. Provide stormwater-related information on Pima County website.
      2. Sponsor the Adopt-a-Roadway program to keep roadways and public lands clean.
      3. Manage the complaint Hotline so the public can report environmental issues.
      4. Sponsor community programs encouraging recycling and conservation.
    3. Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE)
      1. Investigate stormwater complaints and facilitate clean-up.
      2. Screen outfalls for potential discharges.
    4. Practice good housekeeping and pollution prevention at County Facilities
      1. Implement Spill Prevention and Response Plans.
      2. Manage use of pesticides, herbicides & fertilizers in accordance with regulations.
      3. Inspect facilities to assess potential for discharge and assist managers.
    5. Residential and Commercial Control Measures
      1. Maintain drainageways and roadways
      2. Verify proper clean-up of constructions sites at end of project.
      3. Restore riparian habitats and ecosystems to maintain a full range of plants and animals.
      4. Acquire Open Space lands to preserve natural resources.
      5. Acquire floodprone properties to minimize erosion and flooding.
      6. Issue Air Quality Activity permits to reduce tracking dirt from construction sites.
    6. Industrial Facilities
      1. Inspect facilities to verify they conform with stormwater regulations.
      2. Assist business in maintaining compliance.
    7. Construction Sites
      1. Review design plans to verify they meet stormwater regulations.
      2. Inspect sites to verify erosion and sediment controls are in place and maintained.
      3. Assist construction operators in maintaining compliance.
    8. Watershed Monitoring
      1. Collect stormwater samples at 5 locations within the watershed.
      2. Characterize the discharge for consistency with state Surface Water Quality Standards.

    Helpful Tips to Maintaining Good Surface Water Quality

    1. Use stormwater as a resource to irrigate landscaping at your home or business.
    2. Apply pesticides and herbicides according to manufacturers recommendations well before a rainfall event.
    3. Properly dispose of household hazardous waste.
    4. Repair leaking vehicles.
    5. Properly dispose of pet waste.
    6. Report illegal dumping by contacting us at 520-724-7400 or on-line.

    Local, State and Federal Laws, Rules and Regulations for

    Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4)

    Local

    Pima County Code Title 7 - Environmental Quality
    Pima County Code Title 10 - Traffic and Highways
    Pima County Code Title 16 - Floodplain Management
    Pima County Code Title 18 - Zoning
    Pima County Environmental Policy
    Pima County Technical Policy Regulating Riparian Habitat Mitigation

    State

    Arizona Pollution Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES)
    Aquifer Protection Program (APP)
    Arizona Revised Statutes - Title 49 Environment
    Arizona Administrative Code - Title 18 Environment
    Water Quality Protection Fees 
    ADEQ 401 Certification

    Federal

    Clean Water Act

    33 USC §1251 et seq. Water Pollution Prevention & Control
    33 CFR 238 Navigable Waters: Flood Damage Reduction
    40 CFR 122 402-NPDES
    40 CFR 230 404-Dredge & Fill
    42 USC 13101 et seq. Pollution Prevention Act of 1990

    Safe Drinking Water Act

    42 USC § 300f Safety of Public Water Systems
    40 CFR 141 Primary Drinking Water Regulations
    40 CFR 143 Secondary Drinking Water Regulations

    Toxic Substances Control Act

    15 USC § 2601 et seq. Toxic Substances Control
    40 CFR 300-399 Superfund & Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-know Act (EPCRA)

    Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)

    7 USC § 136 et seq. Insecticides & Environmental Pesticide Control
    40 CFR 122.3 NPDES Exclusions
    40 CFR 129 Toxic Pollutant Effluent Standards

    Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
    (CERCLA)

    42 USC § 9601 et seq. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability
    40 CFR 300-399 Superfund & EPCRA

    Useful links

    EPA Region 9
    U.S. Code
    Code of Federal Regulations

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    Department of Environmental Quality

    33 N. Stone Ave., Suite 700
    Tucson, AZ 85701

    Phone: (520) 724-7400
    Fax: (520) 838-7432


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