Air and water quality

We oversee environmental programs and permitting for Northern Arizona University.

Read through the university’s 2009 Water Damage Restoration Guideline or learn more about the Storm Water Management Program below.

Storm Water Management Program (SWMP)

The purpose of the Storm Water Management Program (SWMP) is to comply with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) general permit (AZG2202-002) for the discharge of storm water from the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) of the Northern Arizona University Flagstaff campus.


In December 1999, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule that requires certain small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) to participate in the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program and obtain a storm water permit. The intent of this rule is to reduce pollutants in storm water runoff through actions implemented by the operators of MS4s , such as the system operated by Northern Arizona University. Northern Arizona University is one of a number of Arizona non-municipal entities required to obtain a permit.

Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II requirements

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is the permitting authority for the State of Arizona through the Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). The ADEQ has created a General Permit that requires regulated communities to comply with six required Minimum Control Measures (MCMs):

  • public education and outreach
  • public involvement/participation
  • illicit discharge detection and elimination
  • construction site runoff control
  • post-construction site runoff control
  • pollution prevention/good housekeeping

Each MCM has mandatory components that Northern Arizona University must address and that will be satisfied by implementing a number of Best Management Practices (BMPs).

Storm water discharges associated with construction sites

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires all construction sites over five acres in size to secure a storm water discharge permit.

The permit also requires that a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) be complete and ready to implement at the time the work is to begin at the site. The EPA provides more information about NPDES storm water permits on the Office of Wastewater Management site.

Storm water permits for construction sites

The EPA regulates storm water discharges from construction sites, including clearing, grading, and excavation activities. Construction activities may include:

  • road building
  • construction of residential houses
  • office buildings
  • industrial buildings
  • demolition activity

If a construction activity is undertaken at an industrial facility that already holds a permit for industrial storm water discharges, a separate permit must be obtained for the construction activity. The EPA general permit for storm water discharges from construction activities requires the submittal of a Notice of Intent (NOI) at least two days before the start of construction.

The EPA allows the construction site operator(s) to file a Notice of Termination (NOT) which certifies that specific activities in the SWPPP have ended and that one of the following conditions is true:

  • Final stabilization is complete, and temporary erosion and sediment controls have been removed.
  • All discharges from the construction area have been eliminated.
  • The operator has changed, and the new operator is responsible for compliance. (The new operator is responsible for submitting an NOT if activities continue.)

The EPA provides more information about NPDES storm water permits on their Office of Wastewater Management site.

Storm water pollution prevention plans for construction sites

A Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) must be developed for each construction site covered by an NPDES storm water discharge permit. The SWPPP shall include, at a minimum, the following items:

  • site description of appropriate pollution prevention controls
  • maintenance schedule
  • inspections

The SWPPP should be retained on site by the discharger. Federal, state, and local regulatory agencies have the authority to review the SWPPP at any time.

What can I do?

Simple things can be done at home, as well as while you are on campus, to participate in pollution prevention.

Dispose of hazardous waste properly

Be careful how you dispose of items in your home. Many things like batteries, cleaners, solvents, and many things you might not think of are hazardous and should be disposed of properly to avoid contaminating our water systems.

Conserve water

This is always important and means more than just conservation. Flowing water picks up an array of contaminants from your streets, sidewalks, and driveways. When watering your yard, make sure that you apply just enough water without allowing excess water to flow down the driveway or into the street.

Limit pesticide and herbicide use

If you must use household and garden chemicals, do so sparingly, and carefully follow the manufacturer’s directions, especially concerning the correct amounts for application.

Properly dispose of pet waste

Excessive bacteria can cause blooms of harmful algae. Cleaning up after your pet reduces the introduction of harmful bacteria into the water system.

Report illegal dumping

If you see someone improperly disposing of hazardous materials, or an illegal dumpsite, report it to us, the Office of Regulatory Compliance.