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Water and Waste Management Frequently Asked Questions


  • Contact information for Water and Wastewater Treatment Program staff members is on the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department's Contacts web page.


    See the Rules and Regulations Page for the rules and regulations that apply to water and wastewater treatment facilities, reclaimed water facilities and reuse water systems.


  • The following types of projects are reviewed and approved by the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program:

    • Water Treatment Facilities - Plants and plant components that treat surface water or ground water, including point-of-use treatment systems.
    • Wastewater Treatment Facilities – Plants and plant components that treat sanitary sewage, industrial wastewater (non-pretreatment program) and non-hazardous liquid waste.
    • Reclaimed Water Facilities - Recharge basins, injection/recovery wells, storage reservoirs and booster pump stations.
    • Reuse Water Systems - Irrigation and disposal systems, lakes and impoundments, water features, booster pump stations, pressure reducing valve stations and flow control or monitoring stations.
    • Treatment/Disposal Wetlands - Facilities and systems that dispose of reclaimed water or wastewater.
    • Sanitary Sewer System Odor Control Treatment Facilities - Chemical odor control stations and odor scrubber systems.

    The Water and Wastewater Treatment Program does not review or approve the following types of projects unless they are an integral part of a treatment facility or system:

    • Water distribution system pipelines located in the public right-of-way, pressure reducing valve stations, ground water wells, storage tanks, booster pump stations and facilities that include only disinfection treatment.
    • Wastewater collection and force main pipelines located in the public right-of-way, sewage pump and lift stations, air/vacuum relief stations and sewer flow control or diversion structures.
    • Reclaimed water distribution system pipelines and booster pump stations located in the public right-of-way.

    These projects are reviewed and approved by the MCESD’s Subdivision Infrastructure and Planning Program.

    The Water and Wastewater Treatment Program also reviews and approves projects that do not involve the construction of or physical modification to a facility or system. This class of projects includes Treatment Plans, Blending Plans, Disinfection Plans, Rerating Plans, Master Plans, Pilot Testing Plans, Validation Testing Plans, Operations & Maintenance Plans, Noise Abatement Plans, Odor Control Plans, Remediation Plans, Consent Agreement Plans, Experimental Project Plans and MAG 208 Certifications.


    The review and approval process for typical water, wastewater or reclaimed water Approval To Construct/Approval Of Construction project is detailed in the Review and Approval Process Flow Diagrams.

    Additional information about the review and approval process can be found on the Project Approvals page.


    Projects requiring approval are submitted by sending a transmittal letter, an application form, a check for the initial review fee and the relevant documentation for the project to the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program.

    Multiple projects cannot be submitted on a single application. However, a project may have multiple components bundled into a single project. For example, a reclaimed water project may include a recharge basin, recovery well, storage tank and booster pump station components.

    Application and instruction forms for submission of projects can be found on the Downloads page.


    Contact a Water and Wastewater Treatment Program staff member regarding any questions you may have about submitting a project.

    Specific information concerning project applications, fees and submittal documentation requirements is contained in the application instruction forms. Application and instruction forms can be obtained from the Downloads page.


    Application and instruction forms can be obtained from the Downloads page.


    The Public Water System (PWS) or Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) name/identification information should be available from the owner of the water/wastewater treatment facility or system if the project is an extension to an existing water, wastewater or reclaimed water system. The identification number usually takes the form of 04-07-### for Public Water Systems and 04-37-### for Wastewater Treatment Facilities, where ### is the specific identification number for a particular facility or system. Reclaimed or reuse water projects should list the name and identification information for the primary Wastewater Treatment Facility supplying the reclaimed water for reuse.

    If the project is for a new facility or system please contact a Water and Wastewater Treatment Program staff member for this information.


    The township, range and section site location information can be obtained from the Maricopa County Assessor and from some commercially available road maps. If the parcel number or address of the property is known, the information may be obtained by doing a Parcel Search at the Maricopa County Assessor's web site. Otherwise, the information may be obtained from the GIS Maps by doing an Interactive Maps search at the Maricopa County Assessor's web site.


    The type of documentation submitted to the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program for review and approval will vary depending on the characteristics of a particular project. See the Engineering Design page and the Frequently Asked Questions - Documentation Section for additional information about the specific types of documentation that must be submitted.


    The fee amount charged for the initial review depends on the type of project, the capacity of the facility being approved and number of project components. Chapter 1, Regulation 5 of the Maricopa County Environmental Health Code (MCEHC) itemizes the fees. The submittal package instructions for each of the application forms on the Downloads page also lists the fees charged for the different types of project components and contains directions on how to compute the fee for a project.

    If the initial fee does not cover the cost of the review and approval, the MCESD will send a bill for the additional cost. The total cost of the review and approval will not exceed the maximum fee listed in the fee schedule in the MCEHC.


    A meeting prior to submitting your project is not required. However, if your particular project is very large or complex, is time constrained, involves prototype or novel equipment or processes that may not be familiar to the MCESD's engineering staff, implements a design based on pilot testing data, or impacts the operation and maintenance of an existing facility or system, then it is strongly recommended that you meet with staff from the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program prior to submitting your project to ensure that the review and approval process proceeds smoothly.


    When your project is submitted to the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program it will be logged into our database and assigned a project number. When the review of the project is started a Water and Wastewater Treatment Program staff member will contact you.


    The length of time it takes to obtain an approval depends on the following factors:

    • The degree of difficulty of the project. Complex projects take longer to review.
    • The quality of the engineering design and the level of detail contained within the submitted documentation for a particular project. If the engineering design is complete and all regulatory, operational and maintenance concerns have been addressed, the review and approval process will be relatively quick.
    • The current workload of the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program staff. If a number of projects are already queued for review your project will not be reviewed immediately.

    The Water and Wastewater Treatment Program cannot guarantee how long it will take to review and approve a particular project. However, experience has shown that the quality of the project submittals usually determines the duration of the review and approval process.

    Please contact a Water and Wastewater Treatment Program staff member prior to submitting your project to discuss this issue.


    The review and approval of a project may be expedited by paying an expedited review fee. An expedited review doubles the initial and maximum fee amounts for the project.

    The review will be expedited, with the project being reviewed ahead of non-expedited projects. However, no guarantees can be made regarding the length of time the review cycle will take to complete because the review cycle time is dependent on the quality of the engineering design, the level of detail contained within the submitted project documentation, and the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program's current workload.


    The review and approval of a project may be phased by paying a phased review fee. A phased review doubles the initial and maximum fee amounts for the project. If an expedited phased review is requested this would result in a quadrupling of initial and maximum fee amounts for the project.

    A phased review may be performed for a very large project or a fast track project. A phased review allows for the engineering design and construction of a project to be broken up into packages. For example, site grading and rough-in work can be reviewed and approved and construction started before the detailed treatment process design is complete, or multiple process units can be reviewed independently of one another during the engineering design process as the detailed design work is completed for each individual process unit.

    A phased review requires the submission and approval of the final Engineering Design Report prior to any Design Drawings, Technical Specification or Plans being approved for any phase.


  • An approval allows a new water or wastewater treatment facility, reclaimed water facility, or reuse water system to be constructed, or an existing facility or system to be modified. A permit allows a facility or system to be operated.

    For example, when the engineering plan review process for a new water treatment plant project is completed an Approval To Construct certificate is issued to allow the construction of the plant to commence. After construction of the water treatment plant is completed an Approval Of Construction certificate is issued and the treatment plant is allowed to be operated as stipulated by the conditions of its permit.


    The following types of approvals are issued by the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program:

    • Approval To Construct and Approval Of Construction
    • Approval Of Proposed Plan
    • Approval To Transfer Ownership
    • Approval To Decommission and Approval Of Decommissioning


    An approval must be obtained for a water or wastewater treatment facility, reclaimed water facility or system or reuse water system when:

    • A new facility or system is to be constructed.
    • An existing facility or system is to be modified and the modification affects the capacity, quality, flow, location or operational performance of the facility or system.
    • A new or revised plan for a facility or system is being proposed.
    • An existing facility's or system's ownership is to be transferred.
    • An existing facility or system is to be decommissioned.


    Approvals are made on a case-by-case basis depending on the characteristics of a particular project. When a project is initially submitted for approval it is reviewed by Water and Wastewater Treatment Program engineering staff.

    The review is primarily focused on the following issues:

    • Engineering Design - Validate that the design of the project complies with all relevant codes and design standards. See the Engineering Design page for additional details regarding design criteria.
    • Health and Safety - Assure that the project does not endanger the health and safety of the general public and that all relevant sanitary standards and practices and safety requirements are properly implemented for the project.
    • Regulatory Compliance - Assure that the project complies with all relevant water, wastewater and/or reclaimed water treatment, disposal and reuse rules, regulations and reporting requirements, and that all required permits are obtained by the owner.
    • Operations and Maintenance - Audit the design and review the planned startup, normal, emergency and shutdown procedures for the project to assure that the facility and/or system is properly operated and maintained in a safe and efficient manner.

    The review process usually generates a series of comments about specific items that need to be addressed prior to approval being granted. An approval is issued for the project once all review items have been resolved.

    An interim approval may be issued to allow work on the project to proceed while minor issues are being resolved. An interim approval is usually only issued if the project is time constrained and only if the remaining items are minor in nature. The interim approval specifies a time limit for resolving the remaining items.


    Approval certificates are issued as the formal approval document for a project. The certificates specify the approval, listing any restrictions and stipulating any conditions of the approval.

    The Water and Wastewater Treatment Program issues several different types of approval certificates as follows:

    • Approval To Construct with Stipulations – Issued after the engineering design review is complete and prior to the start of construction of or modifications to the facility or system.
    • Interim Approval To Construct with Stipulations – Issued after the engineering design review is complete and prior to the start of construction or modifications being made to the facility or system. This is a special case of an Approval To Construct that is usually issued so that equipment may be pre-purchased or construction may be completed in phases for time constrained projects.
    • Approval To Commence Operations with Stipulations – Issued after construction is complete to allow start-up of a facility or system to commence. This approval is usually issued for a facility or system which utilizes a complex treatment process or system that is required to be validated prior to the facility or system being placed into full operation.
    • Approval Of Construction with Stipulations – Final approval after construction is complete, start-up and validation testing is complete, an Engineer's Certificate of Completion has been submitted, as-built design drawings have been submitted, an Operations & Maintenance manual has been submitted and approved, and all Approval To Construct and/or Interim Approval To Construct stipulations have been satisfied.
    • Approval of Blending Plan with Stipulations – Issued for blending plans which do not involve construction.
    • Approval To Proceed with Stipulations – Issued to allow implementation of a proposed plan to proceed. For some plans an authorization letter may be issued in lieu of an Approval To Proceed certificate.
    • Approval To Transfer Ownership – Issued as a letter authorizing transfer of ownership of the facility or system.
    • Approval To Decommission with Stipulations – Issued after the engineering design review is complete and prior to the start of demolition of the facility or system.
    • Approval Of Decommissioning with Stipulations – Final approval after demolition is complete, demolition test reports, water quality analyses and remediation reports have been submitted, an Engineer's Certificate of Completion has been submitted and all Approval To Decommission stipulations have been satisfied. This approval may be issued as a letter acknowledging the closure of the facility or system.

    The particular approval certificate that is issued will depend on the type of project being approved and whether or not a phased approval is being implemented.


    Restrictions and conditions related to an approval are listed as stipulations on an approval certificate. Stipulations are approval specific and are requirements in addition to the requirements of the rules and regulations governing water or wastewater treatment facilities, reclaimed water facilities or reuse water systems.

    Stipulations listed on an Approval To Construct, Interim Approval To Construct, Approval To Commence Operations or Approval To Decommission certificate must be completed before proceeding to the next step of the approval process.

    Stipulations listed on an Approval Of Construction, Approval Of Blending Plan or Approval To Proceed certificate become the restrictions and conditions of the operating permit issued by the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department for a facility or system.


    A number of other types of approvals and permits may be required for a particular project by other regulatory agencies. Some of the other agencies that may require approvals and permits are:


    Please contact these agencies directly for further information about their specific requirements for approvals and permits.


    The Water and Wastewater Treatment Program may require that copies of permits issued by other regulatory agencies be submitted prior to an approval certificate being issued. Since each project is unique, the exact permit submittal requirements will vary depending on the type of project and the complexity of the equipment and processes used at the facility or system.

    For wastewater treatment facilities copies of the Aquifer Protection Permit (APP) and the Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES) Permit issued by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality are usually required to be submitted prior to an Approval Of Construction certificate being issued.

    For non-hazardous liquid waste (NHLW) facilities a copy of the Pretreatment Permit, issued by the owner of the sanitary sewer collection system into which the NHLW facility is discharging, is usually required to be submitted prior to an Approval Of Construction certificate being issued.

    For reclaimed water facilities or reuse systems copies of the Reuse Permit issued by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and any Underground Storage Facility, Water Storage, and Recovery Well Permits issued by the Arizona Department of Water Resources are usually required to be submitted prior to an Approval Of Construction certificate being issued.


    Construction may commence once an Approval To Construct or Interim Approval To Construct certificate has been issued.


    Construction must commence within one year after the date of issue of an Approval To Construct or Interim Approval To Construct certificate or else the certificate expires.


    Construction must be completed within three years after the date of issue of an Approval To Construct or Interim Approval To Construct certificate or else the certificate expires.


    An Approval To Construct or Interim Approval To Construct certificate expires if construction of a project has been halted for more than one year.


    An expired Interim Approval To Construct, Approval To Construct or Approval To Decommission certificate can be renewed once within an 18 month period from its date of expiration provided the original design is unchanged.

    A Request for Approval To Construct Water and/or Wastewater Treatment/Reuse Facilities application must be submitted with a check for the renewal fee. The renewal fee is equal to one-half the initial fee amount originally charged for the project. The renewal grants a one year extension from the date the certificate is renewed.

    If an Interim Approval To Construct, Approval To Construct or Approval To Decommission certificate has expired and cannot be renewed because it was previously renewed or the design of the project has changed, then a new project approval must be obtained.


    The initial testing requirements for facilities or systems utilizing a simple treatment process are stipulated on the Approval To Construct certificate. If an Approval Of Construction certificate has been issued, start-up and full operation of the facility or system may commence immediately. Otherwise, start-up of a facility or system will be governed by the initial testing requirements stipulated on the Approval To Commence Operations certificate.

    Facilities or systems utilizing a complex treatment process require an approved start-up plan detailing the initial testing procedures and methodology. An Approval To Commence Operations certificate is issued to allow initial testing to proceed to validate the performance of the facility or system.

    When initial testing is successfully completed an Approval Of Construction certificate is issued and full operation of the facility or system may commence.


  • The type of documentation submitted to the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program for review and approval of a project will vary depending on the characteristics of a particular project and the type of approval that is required. Typical documentation that may be required to be submitted for project approval includes:

    • MAG 208 Certification Documentation - For new wastewater treatment facilities or existing wastewater treatment facilities whose service area is being modified.
    • Planning Documentation - For example, a master plan or capacity study.
    • Regulatory Compliance Documentation
    • Engineering Design Report
    • Engineering Calculations and Design Data
    • Design Drawings
    • Technical Specifications
    • Equipment Manufacturer's Literature
    • Testing and Operational Plans – For example:
      • Pilot Testing Plan
      • Start-up, Testing and Validation Plan
      • Blending Plan

    • Copies of other Agencies’ Permits – For example:
      • Arizona Department of Environmental Quality - APP, AZPDES, Reuse Permits
      • Arizona Department of Water Resources - USF, WS, GSF, RW Permits
      • Maricopa County Air Quality Department - Air Permits

    • Copies of Operator’s ADEQ Certificates
    • Installation Test Report(s)
    • Engineer’s Certificate Of Completion
    • Startup, Testing and Validation Report(s)
    • Operations & Maintenance Manual
    • Monthly Operations and Maintenance Report(s)

    When a project is initially submitted to the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program for review and approval, only a subset of the above documentation is required. Additional documentation is usually required to be submitted as work progresses on the project.

    The initial submittal package for a typical Approval To Construct/Approval Of Construction project will include:

    • Engineering Design Report
    • Engineering Calculations and Design Data
    • Design Drawings
    • Technical Specifications

    The initial submittal package for an Approval Of Proposed Plan project must include sufficient documentation to support the plan. For example, the documentation submitted for a blending plan approval would typically include water quality analysis reports, a narrative report describing the contaminant and dilution sources for the blending operation, a process summary detailing contaminant concentrations, flow rates and physical configuration of the blending system, and any additional documentation supporting the proposed blending plan. Whereas, the documentation submitted for a master plan approval might be a report containing data, modeling and an analysis supporting the proposed master plan.

    The documentation submitted for an Approval To Transfer Ownership approval depends on the type and characteristics of the facility or system. Please contact a Water and Wastewater Treatment Program staff member to determine the documentation required to be submitted for a particular plan.

    The initial submittal package for a typical Approval To Decommission/Approval Of Decommissioning project may include:

    • Engineering Design (Decommissioning) Report
    • Engineering Calculations and Design Data
    • Design (Demolition) Drawings
    • Technical Specifications
    • Remediation Plan

    Please contact a Water and Wastewater Treatment Program staff member to determine the documentation required to be submitted for a particular plan.


    At the present time electronic documentation submittals for the final set of as-built documentation are not accepted by the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program. This is due to the requirements of public records archiving, as established by the State of Arizona. However, electronic submittals for the preliminary set of documentation submitted for review and approval may be accepted depending on the digital format and content of the submittal. Please contact a Water and Wastewater Treatment Program staff member to determine if electronic submittals of documentation will be accepted for your particular project.


    When a project is 100 percent complete (i.e. a final approval certificate has been issued) all of the project documentation submitted to the Water and Wastewater Treatment program becomes part of the public record and is available to the general public. The final documentation set for a completed project typically includes, but is not limited to, an Engineering Design Report, as-built design drawings, Technical Specifications, and an Operations and Maintenance Manual.


    The final documentation set for a completed project becomes part of the public record and is available to the general public. As defined by state law, public record documentation must be available for examination by the general public. However, the proprietary or sensitive information in question may not need to be submitted to obtain approval for your project unless that information is deemed as critical data for a proper review to be completed by the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program. Please contact a Water and Wastewater Treatment Program staff member if you wish to discuss this issue for your particular project.


    For projects with a construction value greater than $12,500, the following documentation, as a minimum, must be signed and stamped by a Professional Engineer:

    • Engineering Design Report – Cover, Table of Contents or First Page.
    • Engineering Calculations and Design Data – As required by the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program or by the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration’s rules and regulations.
    • Design Drawings – Each Individual Design Drawing Sheet.
    • Technical Specifications – Cover, Table of Contents or First Page.
    • Reports and Other Documentation – As required by the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program or by the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration’s rules and regulations.
    • Operations and Maintenance Manual – Cover, Table of Contents or First Page.
    • Engineer’s Certificate Of Completion – As required on the certificate form.

    If the project is a reuse water system, then the documentation may be stamped by a Professional Landscape Architect instead of a Professional Engineer. The Professional Engineer or Landscape Architect must be registered in the State of Arizona. The engineering or architectural firm must be registered with the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration.

    It is recommended that engineers or architects submitting documentation to the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program contact the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration if they have any questions about the rules and regulations related to sealing documentation.


    If approved by the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program staff member performing the project review, reduced size drawings (for example, ANSI ‘C’ 12”H x 18”W drawings instead of ANSI ‘D’ 24”H x 36”W standard size drawings) may be submitted for the preliminary review and approval set of Design Drawings. However, if the level of detail on the drawings is very complex and is not discernable on smaller size drawings, then full size drawings should be submitted.

    Normally only one copy of the documentation is required for the preliminary review. However, additional copies may be required if portions of the project are going to be reviewed by other MCESD programs.

    The final as-built set of Design Drawings must be submitted as ANSI ‘D’ size 24”H x 36”W standard size drawings for the public record. All other documentation should be submitted in a binder and be 8-1/2”H x 11”W letter size sheets.


    The submission sequence of documentation for a typical project is as follows:

    Planning/Regulatory Compliance Documentation Submittals

    • MAG 208 Certification Documentation - Submitted with an Approval To Construct or Approval Of Proposed Plan application.
    • Planning Documentation (Master Plan Report, Capacity Study, etc.) – Submitted with an Approval To Construct or Approval Of Proposed Plan application.
    • Regulatory Compliance Documentation - Submitted with an Approval To Construct or Approval Of Proposed Plan application as dictated by the terms stated within a Consent Decree or other agreement.

    Design Documentation Submittals

    • Engineering Design Report, Calculations and Design Data – Submitted with an Approval To Construct application.
    • Design Drawings – A set of preliminary design drawings are submitted with an Approval To Construct application. The drawings may be submitted for review and approval as 90% or 95% complete drawings depending on the size and complexity of the project. A set of final as-built design drawings are submitted with an Approval Of Construction application.
    • Technical Specifications – Submitted with an Approval To Construct application.

    Testing/Validation Plan Documentation Submittals

    • Pilot Testing Plan – Submitted with an Approval Of Proposed Plan or Approval To Construct application.
    • Start-up Plan – Submitted prior to the start-up of a facility or system as stipulated by the Approval To Construct certificate.
    • Blending Plan – Submitted with an Approval Of Proposed Plan or Approval To Construct application.

    Post Construction/Pre-Startup Documentation Submittals

    • Engineer’s Certificate of Completion – Submitted after construction is complete with an Approval Of Construction application.
    • Installation Test Report(s) – Submitted after construction is complete with an Approval Of Construction application.
    • Copies of Other Agencies' Permits – Submitted prior to start-up of a facility or system as stipulated by the Approval To Construct certificate. Required copies of permits are specified for the particular project.
    • Copies of Operator’s ADEQ Certificates – Submitted prior to start-up of a facility or system.
    • Operations & Maintenance (O & M) Manual – A draft version of the O & M Manual is submitted after construction is complete with an Approval Of Construction application. The draft O & M Manual must contain startup, emergency and shutdown procedures as a minimum. A final version of the O & M Manual is submitted after start-up has been completed and prior to a final Approval Of Construction certificate being issued.

    Post Commissioning/Operations Documentation Submittals

    • Pilot Testing Report – Submitted after pilot testing has been completed and prior to submission of a new project based on the pilot test data.
    • Initial Testing, Validation and Commissioning Report – Submitted after all start-up activities have been completed and prior to a final Approval Of Construction certificate being issued.
    • Operations & Maintenance / Process Monitoring Report – Submitted after start-up has been completed and prior to a final Approval Of Construction certificate being issued.

    Although the review and approval of each project is unique, the review and approval process for typical water, wastewater or reclaimed water project is detailed in the Review and Approval Process Flow Diagrams. The flow diagrams can be used as a roadmap for the submission sequence of documentation for these types of projects.


    The following criteria are used for the review of submittals:

    Planning/Regulatory Compliance Documentation Submittals

    • MAG 208 Certification Documentation – Reviewed to verify compliance with all MAG planning and certification process requirements. This submittal is only required for wastewater treatment plant projects, where a MAG 208 certification process is required (i.e. for new wastewater treatment plants or existing wastewater treatment plants whose service area is being modified).
    • Planning Documentation (Master Plan Report, Capacity Study, etc.) – Reviewed as required to assure that all relevant planning issues are addressed.
    • Regulatory Compliance Documentation – Reviewed as specified by the regulations or as stipulated by a compliance order, settlement agreement or other legal instrument.

    Design Documentation Submittals

    • Engineering Design Report, Calculations and Design Data – Reviewed to validate the design basis, verify regulatory compliance, assess system and operational impacts and establish the scope of the project.
    • Engineering Calculations and Design Data - Reviewed to verify equipment sizes and process design parameters.
    • Design Drawings – Reviewed for issues related to public health or safety, compliance with the rules and regulations, proper operations and maintenance, code requirements and good engineering practice.
    • Technical Specifications – Reviewed in conjunction with the Engineering Design Report and the Design Drawings to verify design adequacy.
    • Equipment Manufacturer's Literature - Used as reference information to validate equipment sizing and performance.

    Testing/Validation Plan Documentation Submittals

    • Pilot Testing Plan – Reviewed to assure that the treatment process or equipment is properly tested and validated by the proposed plan.
    • Blending Plan – Reviewed to validate the method and the procedures used for blending.
    • Start-up Testing and Validation Plan – Reviewed to ensure that the start-up procedures are comprehensive and that the validation plan will adequately test the performance of the treatment process or system.

    Post Construction/Pre-Startup Documentation Submittals

    • Engineer's Certificate of Completion - Reviewed to validate that the project has been properly supervised by a Professional Engineer registered in the State of Arizona and is certified as complete.
    • Installation Test Report(s) – Reviewed to validate that an installation has been properly constructed and tested and is ready for start-up. Typical installation test reports are piping pressure tests, electrical wiring and motor tests, instrument calibration and loop tests, piping and equipment pre-commissioning disinfection test reports. These tests are usually performed by the contractor during construction.
    • Copies of other Agencies' Permits – Reviewed to validate that all permitting requirements have been satisfied.
    • Copies of Operator's ADEQ Certificates – The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Operator Certificates for all operations personnel assigned to or in responsible charge of a treatment plant and/or distribution or collection system are validated and verified to be in compliance with the rules and regulations.
    • Operations & Maintenance Manual – Reviewed to validate operations and maintenance procedures for the treatment facility or system for all normal and emergency operational states.

    Post Commissioning/Operations Documentation Submittals

    • Pilot Testing Report – Reviewed to validate the proposed process or operational methodology.
    • Initial Testing, Validation and Commissioning Report – Reviewed to validate the performance of a treatment process or system. Operational logs and laboratory analyses may be required.
    • Operations & Maintenance / Process Monitoring Report – Reviewed to validate compliance with the regulations to ensure that the plant is being operated and maintained efficiently


    The cover page of the design drawings is signed by the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program staff for projects which involve the construction of or modification to a facility or system and require an Interim Approval To Construct, Approval To Construct or Approval To Decommission.

    An approval area for the MCESD should be provided on the cover page with space reserved for the following information:

    • Approval By: (Signature)
    • Approval Date:
    • Project Number:


  • Operating permits for the following types of facilities and systems are issued by Water and Wastewater Treatment Program:

    • Water Treatment Plants - includes surface water, and ground water treatment facilities. Point-of-use treatment systems are not individually permitted but are permitted as a component of their respective Public Water System.
    • Wastewater Treatment Plants - includes facilities treating domestic sewage but excludes non-pretreatment industrial wastewater treatment facilities and non-hazardous liquid waste facilities.
    • Treatment/Disposal Wetlands - includes wetlands treating domestic wastewater but excludes wetlands treating or disposing of reclaimed water.
    • Reuse Water Systems - including irrigation and disposal systems, lakes and impoundments, water features, booster pump stations, pressure reducing valve stations and flow control or monitoring stations.

    Operating permits are not required for the following types of facilities and systems:

    • Reclaimed Water Facilities - including recharge basins, injection/recovery wells, storage reservoirs and booster pump stations.
    • Sanitary Sewer System Odor Control Treatment Facilities.

    Projects to construct and/or modify any of the above facilities or systems require review and approval by the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program prior to undertaking the work even if the facility or system does not require an operating permit. Additional information about the approval process may be found on the Approvals Page.


    Permits for water and wastewater facilities are renewed on an annual basis by the Department’s Business Office. The permit holder will receive a renewal notice in the mail approximately 30 days prior to the expiration date of the permit.

    The annual renewal fee for water treatment facilities is based on the population served as follows:

    Population Served Annual Fee
    1,001 - 10,000 $1000.00
    10,001 - 100,000 $1200.00
    > 100,000 $1400.00

    The annual renewal fee for wastewater treatment facilities and treatment/disposal wetlands is $2100.00.


    A permit can be closed when a water or wastewater treatment facility is decommissioned. Additional information about the decommissioning approval process may be found on the Permits Page.



  • A number of standards and references are used by the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program for the review of engineering designs and as regulatory tools. A list of commonly used standards and references is:



    Water Treatment Processes

    • Sedimentation
    • Coagulation/Flocculation
    • Filtration
    • Membranes (electrodialysis reversal, micro, ultra, nano, reverse osmosis)
    • Dissolved Air Floatation
    • Clarification
    • Ground Water Treatment (Arsenic, Nitrate, Fluoride, TDS, etc. removal) – Absorption, Ion Exchange, Coagulation & Filtration, Membranes, etc.
    • Special Treatment – pH Correction, Polishing, Desalination, Brine Concentration, Evaporation, Distillation, Vapor Recompression, etc.
    • Disinfection – Chlorine, UV, Ozone, Chlorine Dioxide, etc.
    • Solids Handling – Thickeners, Presses, Centrifuges, Drying Beds, etc.

    Wastewater Treatment and Water Reclamation Processes

    • Sedimentation
    • Activated Sludge/Extended Aeration
    • Oxidation Ditches
    • Sequencing Batch Reactors (SBRs)
    • Clarification (Primary and Secondary)
    • Coagulation/Flocculation
    • Filtration
    • Membranes (micro, ultra, nano, reverse osmosis)
    • Dissolved Air Floatation
    • Special Treatment – pH Correction, Polishing, Desalination, Brine Concentration, Evaporation, Distillation, etc.
    • Disinfection – Chlorine, UV, Ozone, etc.
    • Solids Handling – Aerobic/Anaerobic Digesters, Thickeners, Presses, Centrifuges, Drying Beds, Cyclones, etc.
    • Effluent Disposal – Reuse, Recharge, Discharge
    • Odor Control – Chemical Injection Systems, Dry and Wet Scrubbers, Biofilters, etc.


    The following information should be included in the blending plan submittal package:

    • A brief narrative describing the dilution and contaminant sources and the methodology used to achieve proper blending. The narrative should detail how proper blending is to be maintained using manual or automatic controls, safety interlocks, online analyzers and operational procedures.
    • An analysis of possible failure modes which might affect the blending system and identification of any special conditions such as emergency or seasonal operation of the blending system.
    • If construction work is associated with the blending plan then design drawings are required as part of the blending plan submittal. Otherwise, a sketch showing the existing configuration of the blending system, including major system components connected to the blending system such as wells, reservoirs and booster pumps should be included in the blending plan submittal package.
    • Identification of the Point-of-Entry downstream from the blending point.
    • Laboratory analyses and reports documenting the contaminant concentrations of all dilution and contaminant sources. If sufficient historical water quality data are available a 90th percentile value should be calculated for various sources' contaminant concentrations.
    • The nominal flow rate and contaminant concentrations for each of the dilution sources.
    • The nominal flow rate and contaminant concentrations for each of the contaminant sources.
    • If a dilution or contaminant source is a well then the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) well identification number and the physical address of the well should be provided.
    • The physical address of the blending point. If a physical address is not available then the cross streets or GPS coordinates of the blending point should be submitted.
    • Identification of the point downstream of the blending point which will provide proper mixing of the blended stream (i.e. a static mixer or storage reservoir) prior to the blended stream being discharged into the water distribution system.


    The separation distance for potable water and sewer pipelines located in the public right-of-way is governed by Arizona Administrative Code (AAC) R-18-5-502.C. The separation distance for reclaimed water pipelines located in the public right-of-way is governed by AAC R-18-9-602.F. The Maricopa Association of Government’s "Uniform Standard Details for Public Works Construction" standards 404-1 and 404-2 detail the separation distance and protection requirements for the installation of potable water, reclaimed water and sewer pipelines for MAG participants.

    The separation distance between potable water and sewer pipelines from other pipelines such as non-potable ground, surface, irrigation, storm, industrial, etc., pipelines located in the public right-of-way is not defined by the regulations or MAG standards. The MCESD recommends that these non-potable pipelines:

    • Be separated from potable water pipelines as specified by AAC R-18-5-502.C.
    • Be located no closer than two feet vertically nor six feet horizontally from all other pipelines unless the non-potable pipeline is encased in at least six inches of concrete or using mechanical joint ductile iron pipe or other materials of equivalent or greater tensile and compressive strength at least 10 feet beyond any point on the pipeline conveyance within the specified minimum separation distance.

    The MCESD will determine the separation distance requirements for these pipelines and pipelines not located in the public right-of-way on a case-by-case basis.


    The basic design requirements are as follows:

    • Appropriate backflow prevention devices (for example vacuum breakers) must be installed at all hose bibs.
    • Signage must be installed at all hose bibbs. Signs for non-potable water hose bibbs should state "Caution: Non-potable Water, Do Not Drink" and display the international 'do not drink' symbol. Signs for reclaimed water hose bibbs should state "Caution: Reclaimed Water, Do Not Drink" and display the international 'do not drink' symbol.
    • Hoses and hose racks must be installed at all hose bibbs. This requirement may be waived for unmanned facilities which do not routinely require clean-up or maintenance using hoses.



    Yes in most cases. The requirement is specified in the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's (ADEQ) Engineering Bulletin No. 10, "Guidelines for the Construction of Water Systems" in Chapter 4, Section A.4.

    The only exception would be for:

    • A plant that is 100 percent redundant to another potable water source (e.g. a surface water treatment plant or a groundwater well field) that is capable of meeting the peak day demand for the water distribution area being served and the plant and the redundant potable water source are on separate electrical grids or power supplies.
    • A plant that is 100 percent redundant to another potable water source (e.g. a surface water treatment plant or a groundwater well field) that is capable of meeting the peak day demand for the water distribution area being served and the redundant potable water source has redundant feeds from two different electrical grids or an emergency power supply.
    • A plant which serves a water distribution area that has sufficient system storage capacity to meet the peak day demand and it can be demonstrated that the plant can be restored to normal operation within 24 hours after the interruption of service.

    Requests for an exception will be reviewed and approved by the MCESD on a case-by-case basis.


    Groundwater production facilities (typically a groundwater well, reservoir and booster pump station that do not treat the groundwater) usually do not require emergency power. However, emergency power may be required to meet the regulatory requirements for the distribution system as noted in next question below.


    The requirement for back-up power for distribution system facilities is driven by three Arizona Administrative Code (AAC) requirements as follows:

    • R18-5-502.B - A potable water distribution system shall be designed to maintain and shall maintain a pressure of at least 20 pounds per square inch at ground level at all points in the distribution system under all conditions of flow.
    • R18-5-503.A - The minimum storage capacity for a CWS [community water system] or a non-community water system that serves a residential population or a school shall be equal to the average daily demand during the peak month of the year. Storage capacity may be based on existing consumption and phased as the water system expands.
    • R18-5-503.B - The minimum storage capacity for a multiple-well system for a CWS [community water system] or a non-community water system that serves a residential population or a school may be reduced by the amount of the total daily production capacity minus the production from the largest producing well.

    Conformance with item 1 is usually implemented by the construction of one or more reservoirs to provide storage capacity for a distribution system service area. Properly designed reservoirs located at the high water elevation of a service area can provide hydraulic head to maintain a nominal system pressure of 20 psi. In some cases, isolated service areas may be fed by redundant supply sources instead of using reservoirs to maintain system pressure.

    Conformance with items 2 and 3 is implemented by sizing the reservoirs to provide sufficient capacity to meet the required capacity for peak and fire flow demands in combination with redundant supply sources feeding a distribution system service area such as surface water treatment plants, groundwater wells, booster pump stations and pressure reducing valve stations.

    Emergency power may be required for groundwater wells, booster pump stations and pressure reducing valve stations acting as a source of supply to isolated service areas. For example, a service area with insufficient storage capacity fed by two other service areas via booster pump stations that are on the same electrical grid would not conform to the AAC requirements as loss of power would result in a loss of pressure in the distribution system.

    An engineering analysis of the distribution system should be performed when adding new or modifying existing groundwater wells, booster pump stations and pressure reducing valve stations to determine if emergency power is required at these facilities. The analysis should calculate the required minimum storage capacity for peak demand and fire flows and address the impact of system wide interruptions due to loss of power, major transmission pipeline ruptures and equipment failure.


    The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's (ADEQ) Engineering Bulletin No. 10, "Guidelines for the Construction of Water Systems", Chapter 4, Section A.4 states:

    "Unless the treatment plant can be taken out of service for a period of time for maintenance and repair work, two or more of all essential treatment units or items shall be provided. With one unit or item out of service, the remaining units or items shall meet the design capacity of the plant. When deciding whether or not to install more than one unit, the consequences of failure of that unit should be considered."

    An engineering analysis should be performed when designing a new or modifying an existing water treatment plant to determine what process units and types of equipment require redundancy and increased reliability. The analysis should address the impact and the criticality of process interruptions and equipment failure and assess the length of time the process or system would be out of service.


    The rated capacity of a water treatment plant is based upon the ‘firm capacity’ of the facility. Firm capacity refers to the available capacity of a system or process with the largest unit out of service. Thus, the reliability and redundancy of a water treatment plant's equipment and process units are integral to the plant's firm capacity.

    As noted in Question before, reliability and redundancy requirements are based on installed redundant equipment and process units. Using analytical or statistical methods such as ‘predicted downtime', ‘mean time between failure’ or other types of failure mode analysis to justify the reliability of systems or processes within a water treatment plant is not an acceptable means of determining the rated capacity of the plant. A water treatment plant's rated capacity is solely based on its firm capacity.

    The rated capacity of a water treatment plant is critical in determining when an expansion of a plant is required. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's (ADEQ) Engineering Bulletin No. 10, "Guidelines for the Construction of Water Systems", Chapter 4, Section A.6 states:

    "Expansion of the plant is indicated when the maximum daily demands of the system approach the rated capacity of the existing plant. As a general rule, steps to provide additional treatment capacity should be taken at least 5 years before present capacity is reached to allow sufficient time for engineering investigations, design, financing and construction"


    A number of key issues need to be addressed when converting an groundwater production facility to a water treatment plant:

    • Physical Space Limitations - A typical groundwater production facility consists of a well, reservoir and booster pump station. The addition of treatment process equipment may exceed the physical size of the existing site.
    • Access and Visibility - Access to an existing site may be constrained or limited. Sites in residential areas may have to be accessed only during daylight hours and may require architectural features to provide a level of aesthetics compatible with the neighborhood.
    • Noise and Lighting - Noise associated with new treatment equipment may be an issue if the site is located in a residential neighborhood or has neighbors in close proximity. Lighting may have to be muted as compared to what is typical for a water treatment plant.
    • Special Use Permit - For facilities located in unincorporated areas of the County a special use permit is required to be obtained from the Maricopa County Planning and Development Department. Similar types of permits may be required for facilities located in incorporated areas of the County by the city or town which has jurisdiction.
    • Waste Streams - Treatment processes typically generate solid and/or liquid waste streams. Storage and the disposal of these streams can be problematic. Storage basins may have to be covered to provide vector control.
    • Emergency Power - Emergency power is required for water treatment plants. See the very first question on top for additional details.
    • Reliability - Reliability may have to be increased when converting a groundwater production facility to a water treatment plant.
    • Operator Certification - Groundwater production facilities are operated by Water Distribution certified operators. Water treatment plants must be operated by Water Treatment certified operators.


    The requirements are specified in the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's (ADEQ) Engineering Bulletin No. 10, "Guidelines for the Construction of Water Systems", Chapter 6, Section E.9.

    In addition to the installation of inverted 'U' type vents, MCESD also allows the use of recent designs such as 'chair' or cross-flow vents provided these vents have an air flow direction change of 90 degrees in the horizontal plane prior to air entering/leaving the containment vessel.

    In all cases, vents shall have a 16-mesh corrosion resistant screen installed to prevent the ingress of birds and insects.


    The requirements are specified in the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's (ADEQ) Engineering Bulletin No. 10, "Guidelines for the Construction of Water Systems", Chapter 6, Section E.6.

    In addition to the installation of overflow piping with a 16-mesh corrosion resistant screen, MCESD also allows the use of alternative designs such as the use of counterweighted flapper valves or self-sealing valves that will open and close automatically when an overflow occurs.

    In all cases, overflows shall have a 16-mesh corrosion resistant screen installed or provide a mechanical means of sealing the overflow opening to prevent the ingress of birds and insects.

    If the overflow from a storage vessel is not connected to a sewer or storm water system a suitable means on onsite containment must be included in the design. Onsite retention basins with riprap line channels and sides are typically used to contain an overflow and prevent erosion. Care should be taken in the design to insure that underground vaults and access points are not located in close proximity to overflow channels or retention basins.


    The requirements are specified in the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's (ADEQ) Engineering Bulletin No. 10, "Guidelines for the Construction of Water Systems", Chapter 6, Section E.8.

    Entry hatches shall be constructed with seals to prevent the entry of unsafe water, birds and insects into the containment vessel. Typical entry hatch designs include frames with integral curbs and frame overlapping covers with rubber or plastic seals.


    Pump seal water shall only be discharged to a wet well if the seal water is free of contaminants and of equal water quality to the water contained in the wet well. A finished water pump utilizing plant service water for the pump seal water source cannot discharge the seal water into the wet well as this installation would be a cross connection between potable and non-potable water systems.



    Yes in most cases. Maricopa County Environmental Health Code (MCEHC) Chapter I, Section 2, Regulation 5 states:

    "For systems that treat, or which are designed to treat greater than 10,000 gallons/day, a standby power source shall be provided at all sewage treatment systems and/or pump stations where a temporary power failure may allow a discharge of raw or partially treated sewage. Standby power may be via a standby generator, separate feeders from separate substations, a loop feeder on separate transformers from a common substation, or a high-level alarm with portable generators. Standby power also shall be provided to any sewage treatment systems and/or pump stations, regardless of size, if a temporary power failure may allow a discharge into surface waters classified as 'Unique Waters', by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality."


    No. However, the MCESD may require emergency power be installed on an odor control station if a loss of power would result in nuisance odors being generated. The requirement for emergency power will be determined by the MCESD as part of the review and approval process.


    The requirements for equipment and process reliability and redundancy are defined within the various chapters of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's (ADEQ) Engineering Bulletin No. 11, "Minimum Requirements for Design, Submission of Plans and Specifications of Sewage Works". The bulletin essentially requires that two or more of all essential treatment units or items shall be provided. With one unit or item out of service, the remaining units or items shall meet the design capacity of the plant.

    Reliability and redundancy requirements can usually be met by using redundant treatment process trains or designing a single treatment process with parallel piping and equipment which provides full redundancy (i.e. main and standby process unit(s) or equipment).

    An engineering analysis should be performed when designing a new or modifying an existing wastewater treatment plant to determine what process units and types of equipment require redundancy and increased reliability. The analysis should address the impact and the criticality of process interruptions and equipment failure and assess the length of time the process or system would be out of service.


    The rated capacity of a wastewater treatment plant is based upon the ‘firm capacity’ of the facility. Firm capacity refers to the available capacity of a system or process with the largest unit out of service. Thus, the reliability and redundancy of a water treatment plant's equipment and process units are integral to the plant's firm capacity.

    As noted in previous question, reliability and redundancy requirements are based on installed redundant equipment and process units. Using analytical or statistical methods such as ‘predicted downtime', ‘mean time between failure’ or other types of failure mode analysis to justify the reliability of systems or processes within a wastewater treatment plant is not an acceptable means of determining the rated capacity of the plant. A wastewater treatment plant's rated capacity is solely based on its firm capacity.

    The rated capacity of a wastewater treatment plant is critical in determining when an expansion of a plant is required. Two stipulations that are normally included in a wastewater treatment plant's operating permit are based on the rated capacity of the plant. Those stipulations are:

    • "By the time the average day maximum month flow to the Facility reaches eighty percent (80%) of the Facility's rated capacity, the Owner shall have initiated planning and design of the next expansion of the Facility."
    • "By the time the average day maximum month flow to the Facility reaches ninety percent (90%) of the Facility's rated capacity, the Owner shall have initiated construction of the next expansion of the Facility."

    Besides being used in determining when an expansion of a facility is required the rated capacity is also used as a basis of design for determining peaking factors. Since short term (instantaneous) influent flows may exceed the rated capacity of the facility, peaking factors are used during the design process to determine if flow equalization or additional equipment is required to handle the peak flows to the plant.


    Arizona Administrative Code (AAC) R18-9-B201.I specifies the minimum setback requirements for a wastewater treatment plant from the nearest adjacent property line. The specific setback distance requirements depend on no or full noise, odor, and aesthetic controls. Full noise odor and aesthetic controls by the AAC as:

    Full noise, odor, and aesthetic controls means that all treatment components are fully enclosed, odor scrubbers are installed on all vents, and fencing aesthetically matched to that in the area surrounding the facility

    Noise control is further defined in the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's (ADEQ) Engineering Bulletin No. 11, "Minimum Requirements for Design, Submission of Plans and Specifications of Sewage Works", Chapter 6, Section B as:

    Noise control is defined as a sound level at the nearest existing property line not to exceed 50 dB on the A network of a sound level meter.


    All wet wells, dry wells, basins, tanks and reservoirs require venting. Wet and dry wells require forced ventilation and basins, tanks and reservoirs require normal ventilation.

    Wet wells require 12 continuous air changes per hour or 60 intermittent air changes per hour based on the volume of the head space above the minimum sewage level. Dry wells require six continuous air changes per hour or 30 intermittent air changes per hour based on the volume of the dry well.

    Wet wells and dry wells are usually vented by force draft fans or blowers in combination with odor control devices located on the ventilation discharge from the wet or dry well. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Section 820 specifies that all continuous ventilation systems should be fitted with flow detection devices connected to an alarm system to indicate ventilation system failure.

    Basins, tanks and reservoirs are usually vented using inverted 'U' type, 'chair' or cross-flow vents using normal air currents.

    In all cases, vents shall have a 16-mesh corrosion resistant screen installed to prevent the ingress of birds and insects.


    Overflows of wastewater must be contained and not allowed to spill onto the ground. If the overflow from a storage vessel is not connected to a sewer or the head works of the plant a suitable means of onsite containment must be included in the design. Typically, lined onsite emergency retention basins are used to contain an overflow.

    Counterweighted flapper valves or self-sealing valves which open and close automatically when an overflow occurs must be installed on the end of the overflow discharge pipe to control odors and prevent the ingress of birds and insects.



    Arizona Administrative Code (AAC) R18-11-301 through 309 classifies reclaimed water into five class types A+, A, B+, B and C based on water quality standards for fecal coliforms. All reclaimed water classes except for Class C are required to be disinfected. Class C reclaimed water may be required to be disinfected if the water quality standards for fecal coliforms defined in AAC R18-11-307.B.2a or b cannot be met.


    A reclaimed water storage lake or reservoir is not required to be covered provided it is after the Point-of-Compliance (POC) defined by the Aquifer Protection Permit for the wastewater facility producing the reclaimed water. Typically the POC is on the discharge of a wastewater treatment plant. If the POC for a wastewater treatment plant is located downstream from the plant's onsite reclaimed water storage reservoir then the reservoir would have to be covered.

    Reclaimed water lakes or storage reservoirs located within the distribution system or at reuse sites such as golf courses typically do not have to be covered as they usually are located downstream of the POC.


    The minimum identification requirements are defined by Arizona Administrative Code (AAC) R18-9-601 through 603 for pipeline or open conveyance of reclaimed water.

    The color purple shall be used for identifying all valves and other equipment used for conveying reclaimed water. For pipelines the pipe must be marked on opposite sides with “CAUTION: RECLAIMED WATER LINE” labeling in intervals of three feet or less.

    Aboveground reclaimed water piping must be labeled per the preceding paragraph and colored purple or wrapped with durable purple tape. Underground piping must be identified with one of the following alternatives:

    • The pipe must be labeled per the preceding paragraph and colored purple or wrapped with durable purple tape.
    • Identification sleeving (pipe socks) made from an inert polyethylene plastic, 4 mils thick, purple in color with the words “CAUTION: RECLAIMED WATER LINE” or similar wording printed in 1-1/2" high black lettering continuously along the entire length may be installed on the pipe.
    • Identification tape made from inert polyethylene plastic, 4.0 mils thick and no less than 3" wide with the words “CAUTION: RECLAIMED WATER LINE” or similar wording printed in 1-1/2" high black lettering continuously along the entire length may be installed parallel to the centerline and on top of the pipe. The identification tape must be installed continuously for the entire length of the pipe and be securely fastened with plastic adhesive tape banded around both the pipe and the identification tape at no more than 4-foot intervals.

    MAG participants should reference Section 616 in the Maricopa Association of Government’s "Uniform Standard Specifications for Public Works Construction" for additional guidelines for installing reclaimed water piping and equipment.


    The signage requirements are defined by Arizona Administrative Code (AAC) R18-9-704.H for reclaimed water reuse sites. Signage requirements vary depending on the Class of reclaimed water in use at a site. Classes A+ and A may be used at open access sites where access to reclaimed water by the general public is uncontrolled. Classes B+, B and C may be used at restricted access sites where access of the general public to areas served by reclaimed water is controlled.

    All impoundments with open access including lakes, ponds, ornamental fountains, waterfalls, and other water features must be posted with signs regardless of the class of reclaimed water. The signage and notification requirements for other types reuse sites are identified in Table 1 of AAC R18-9-704.H. Signs must read “Caution: Reclaimed Water, Do Not Drink” and display the international “do not drink” symbol.


    Backwash water from a filter system is considered to be wastewater and must be properly disposed. Proper disposal methods include sending the backwash water to a sewer system or using the backwash water for surface irrigation at the reuse site. A permit issued by the sewer utility company may be required to discharge the backwash water to the sewer system.

    Backwash water may not be discharged to a drywell (for example, a storm water retention basin drywell) unless an Aquifer Protection Permit has been obtained from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality permitting such disposal. Other backwash water disposal alternatives will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


    Reclaimed water shall not be discharged to a drywell (for example, a storm water retention basin drywell) unless an Aquifer Protection Permit has been obtained from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality permitting such disposal.


    Reclaimed water, including reclaimed water mixed with surface water, ground water or rain water may not be discharged to the waters of the United States unless an AZPDES permit approving such a discharge has been obtained from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.


    The minimum thickness for a reclaimed water storage lake liner is 60 mils for a High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) liner. Other liner thicknesses and material of construction may be considered if it can be demonstrated that the proposed liner will meet the best available demonstrated control technology (BADCT) requirements for Aquifer Protection Permits.

    Liners are only required for lakes storing Class A, B and C reclaimed water. However, liners are usually installed on all storage lakes to minimize loss of reclaimed water from the lake due to percolation.


  • Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Bulletin No. 8, "Disinfection of Water Systems", specifies the methodology and requirements for the disinfection of new piping and equipment. Bulletin No. 8 also discusses disinfection using chlorination as well as safety measures and emergency disinfection procedures.

    In addition to the disinfection procedures specified in ADEQ Bulletin No. 8, the following American Water Works Association (AWWA) standards may be used:

    • AWWA Standard C651-05 - "Disinfecting Water Mains"
    • AWWA Standard C651-05 - "Disinfecting Water Mains"
    • AWWA Standard C653-03 - "Disinfection of Water Treatment Plants"
    • AWWA Standard C654-03 - "Disinfection of Wells"

    To verify effective disinfection, bacteriologic samples must be collected from the same locations at the time intervals and frequency specified by the above standards. The samples must be analyzed by a laboratory within 24 hours of collection of the sample. Samples should be maintained at or near 4oC until they are sent to the testing laboratory for testing.

    When the laboratory provides written confirmation of the absence of total coliform bacteria in all samples the piping or equipment is considered to be disinfected. If any of the samples fail then the disinfection process shall be repeated per the above standards until the samples pass.

    Water shall not be sent to the distribution system until:

    • The piping or equipment has been disinfected.
    • Certified copies of the laboratory analysis reports have been submitted to the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program.
    • Written authorization approving the release of water to the distribution system has been received from the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program.


    A new or modified treatment facility or system utilizing a complex or novel treatment process or very large facilities such as surface water treatment plants require the submission of a Start-up Plan for review and approval by the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program. A Start-up Plan may not be required for a simple treatment process or for a small facility as the start-up requirements may be specified on the Approval To Construct certificate. Start-up requirements will be determined on a project-by-project basis by the Water and Wastewater Treatment program.

    Prior to start-up the following action items must be completed:

    • Submission of an Approval Of Construction Application
    • Submission of an Engineer's Certificate Of Completion Form
    • An approved Start-up Plan (if required)
    • A draft O&M manual (minimum content is startup, shutdown and emergency procedures)
    • Certified bacteriologic lab reports
    • Construction test documentation (pressure or leak tests, etc.)
    • Instrument calibration sheets for instruments to be used during Initial Testing
    • A final construction inspection of the treatment facility or system by Water and Wastewater Treatment Program staff

    Additional items may be required by the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program prior to start-up. When the action items are complete an Approval To Commence Operations certificate is issued by the Water and Wastewater Treatment Program to allow Initial Testing of the treatment facility or system to proceed.

    Initial Testing consists of two distinct testing phases: Validation Testing and Commissioning Testing. Validation Testing commences immediately upon start-up of the system. Validating Testing is conducted per the methods and procedures described in the approved Start-up Plan or as stipulated on the Approval To Commence Operations certificate. Validation Testing provides verification that the treatment process is working as designed. During Validation Testing finished water from the facility or system must be properly disposed and cannot be released to the water distribution system.

    When Validation Testing is successfully completed, the testing results are submitted to the Department by the certified operator under a signed cover letter stating that the operator personally witnessed the testing and that the results are accurate to the best of his/her knowledge. After reviewing and approving the results, the Department authorizes the treatment facility or system to immediately go into the Commissioning Testing phase. At this point finished water may be released from the facility or system into the distribution system.

    Commissioning Testing commences immediately after Validation Testing. Commissioning Testing is conducted per the methods and procedures described in the approved Start-up Plan or as stipulated on the Approval To Commence Operations certificate. Commissioning Testing verifies the performance of the treatment process in normal operation.

    When Commissioning Testing is successfully complete, the testing results are submitted to the Department by the certified operator under a signed cover letter stating that the operator personally witnessed the testing and that the results are accurate to the best of his/her knowledge.

    Upon successful completion of Validation and Commissioning Testing, the following documentation must be submitted to the Department:

    • An Engineer’s Certificate Of Completion
    • Performance testing data, laboratory analyses and evaluation reports as required per the previously approved Start-up Plan or as stipulated on the Approval To Commence Operations certificate
    • A full set of sealed, engineered as-built design drawings

    The Water and Wastewater Treatment Program will review and approve the submitted material and issue an Approval of Construction certificate.


    For wastewater treatment facilities monthly operations and maintenance (O&M) reports are submitted on a monthly basis for the life of the facility. The format and content of the report is determined when a new or modified facility is initially commissioned. The format and content of the report may be changed at the Department's discretion if the physical configuration of the plant or the treatment process is modified. The monthly O&M report is reviewed by Water and Wastewater Treatment Program staff to ensure that the wastewater treatment facility is being operated and maintained in a safe and efficient manner and is in compliance with the rules and regulations.

    For water treatment facilities the reporting requirements and review criteria are defined by the Safe Drinking Water Act and any special requirements established by MCESD's Drinking Water Program. The reporting requirements and the format and content of any reports are determined when a new facility is initially commissioned. The reporting requirements and the format and content of the report may be changed at the Department's discretion if the physical configuration of the plant or the treatment process is modified. All reports are reviewed by Drinking Water Program staff to ensure that the water treatment facility is being operated and maintained in a safe and efficient manner and is in compliance with the rules and regulations.


    Wastewater or reclaimed water spills shall be immediately reported to the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department by the operator of the wastewater treatment or reclaimed water facility or system. The Maricopa County Environmental Health Code (MCEHC) does not allow incidental releases of wastewater that may be allowed by Capacity, Management, Operation and Maintenance (CMOM) Permits. All releases of wastewater or reclaimed water are considered to be spills per Chapter 2, Section I, Regulation 2, Subsection B of the MCEHC.

    Refer to the Wastewater and Reclaimed Water Spills Page for additional information concerning reporting and remediation requirements for spills.


  • The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) 208 planning process is an area wide water quality management plan for pollution control. As such, it directly impacts and is integral to the approval process for wastewater treatment facilities.

    The process is explained in the October 2002 MAG 208 Water Quality Management Plan on Page ES-1 in detail as follows:

    The Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, 1977, and 1987 (Clean Water Act) require, under Section 208, that states develop and implement area wide water quality management plans for pollution control. Plans prepared to meet the requirements of Section 208 must:

    • identify the treatment works needed to meet anticipated municipal and industrial waste treatment needs of the area over a 20-year period, including construction priorities and schedules;
    • establish a regulatory program to implement the plan
    • identify an implementation plan;
    • identify non-point sources of pollution;
    • identify mine-related sources of pollution, construction activity-related sources of pollution, and salt water intrusion into fresh waters;
    • identify a process to control residual waste disposal; and
    • identify a process to control disposal of pollutants on land or in subsurface excavations.

    The '208 planning process' provides an opportunity for a designated area to identify its specific area wide waste treatment and water quality management problems and set forth a management program to alleviate those problems. The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) has been designated as the area wide water quality management planning agency for the Maricopa County area.

    The MAG 208 Water Quality Management Plan lists two methods for the incorporation of a wastewater treatment facility into the plan:

    • The MAG 208 Amendment Process
    • The MAG 208 Small Plant Review Process

    These two plan modification processes are detailed in the MAG 208 Water Quality Management Plan.


    MAG 208 certification is designed to address two key issues related to wastewater treatment plants:

    • Wastewater treatment plants are point sources of pollution impacting the local environment
    • Wastewater treatment plants are regional infrastructure components

    In regards to being a point source of pollution, the MAG 208 Water Quality Management Plan. states:

    The major effort of this 208 Plan Revision was in the Point Source Plan. Point source planning is primarily directed at compiling the preferred wastewater collection and treatment system for the Maricopa County area through the year 2020. Toward this end, the Point Source Plan examines population and wastewater flow projections, treatment methods, effluent disposal, reclaimed water reuse, and sludge management.

    In regards to the regional infrastructure issue, the MAG 208 Water Quality Management Plan. states:

    By requiring proposed plants in the area to obtain approval using this formal process, an uncontrolled proliferation of small plants that could cause problems in the future should be prevented. The communities adopted a small plant process goal of allowing the cities and towns the maximum level of control in the approval of small plants. The County must consider the comments of the nearby city or town concerning proposed small plant facilities within three miles of their borders.

    The MAG 208 Water Quality Management Plan. addresses these issues and other planning issues in detail.


    MAG 208 certification is designed to address two key issues related to wastewater treatment plants:

    The MAG 208 Water Quality Management Plan identifies the following types of wastewater treatment plants as requiring approval:

    • Plants greater than 2.0 million gallons per day and those with a discharge requiring an NPDES permit or AZPDES permit which are not specifically identified in the MAG 208 Plan would be required to go through a formal 208 analysis or amendment.
    • A small plant is a reclamation plant with an ultimate capacity of 2.0 million gallons per day (mgd) or less with no discharge requiring an NPDES or AZPDES permit.

    Additional information about the review and approval process can be found in the MAG 208 Water Quality Management Plan.


    MAG 208 plan amendments are sponsored by the city or town in whose planning area the wastewater treatment plant is located. If the plant is located in an unincorporated area of the County, then the plan amendment is sponsored by Maricopa County.