Environmental Standards

Wattle deters erosion on slopes
Frances Short Pond Bioretention Swale (LID)

Objective 8:  Improve Compliance with Environmental Standards & Protections

Relevant Standards

  • Meet requirements of the Clean Water Act, anticipate future legal/regulatory requirements
  • Operate and maintain facilities to minimize impacts on the environment
  • Swift response to pollutant/contaminant spills and illegal discharges
  • Support watershed health, and a proactive approach to habitat protection and enhancements


Stormwater management and protecting the environment are related. However, this Strategic Objective focuses less on flood management and more on pollution. The City and the Division participate in a variety of activities that address environmental protection, many arising from standards in the Clean Water Act, including monitoring and ensuring compliance related to:

  • Wastewater treatment plant discharges
  • Restricting development in rural flood plains
  • Run-off and discharges from construction sites and industrial facilities
  • Managing flood plains and addressing sources of contaminants in these flood plains

The Low Impact Development (LID) program requires collecting and treating stormwater from impervious development sites. Flagstaff has one of the most effective LID programs in Arizona. In addition, the Division participates in mitigation and restoration of wildlife and natural habitats


Despite the City’s and Division’s successes with respect to environmental protection, there is a need for continued improvement, including the following:

  • The standards and capabilities for responding to illegal discharges are not fully developed
  • Some flood channels are filled with contaminating debris, e.g. tires and old automobiles
  • A better overall assessment of environmental issues in Flagstaff’s watersheds is needed
  • Maintaining NPDES permits related to wastewater discharges

Timing Concerns

This is an ongoing effort, but improved response to illegal discharges should happen immediately.


Water Services Strategic Plan 2025
Objective 8: Improve Compliance with Environmental Standards and ProtectionsReporting Period:                January-June 2020Reporting Period:   July-December 2020
 Specific ResponsesChampion & TEAMAccomplishmentsAccomplishments Next Steps
Update the Low Impact Development (LID) Code, addressing errors, emissions, and clarityStormwater Manager
Funding and staffing does not support at this time. Stormwater Design Manual to be revised.
Continue to improve the standards and response related to illegal dischargesRegulatory Compliance, Stomrwater ManagerCreated an outline-flow charts to guide staff in response procedure and identified responsibilities.
1.  Met with outreach staff and Flagstaff PIO to deliver outreach to prevent illegal discharges.
 2.  Developing training for delivery in April 2021.
Train impacted staff on responses to illicit discharges, focusing on new flow chart.
Develop a better assessment of wildfire issues and recommend corrective actionsStormwater Manager, Management Analyst, Flagstaff Fire 1.  Continued operation of Upper Dry Lake gauges.
2. Coordinated monitoring of Forest Thinning Projects near Mormon Mountain.
 3.   Continued monitoring for Museum Fire.

1.  Continue coordination with COF Wildland Fire Section.
 2.  Ongoing coordination with Water Resources Section.
Assess the resources required to produce the Watershed and Flood Plain Management PlansStormwater Manager, Floodplain Manager1.  Continued coordination with Friends of the Rio and Southwest Decision Resources to produce Watershed Management Plan.
Continue coordination with Friends of the Rio and Southwest Decision Resources to produce Watershed Management Plan.
Develop schedule for completing the Watershed and Flood Plain Management PlansStormwater Manager, Floodplain ManagerSame as aboveStaffing does not support at this time.
Increase water-use efficiency through active and passive rainwater captureStormwater Manager, Water Resource Manager, Management Analyst1. Standard procedures established, Rain barrel program continued
 2. Proposed edits to Stormwater Credit Manual.
Proposed edits to Stormwater Credit Manual sent to Legal.1. Credit manual updates.
Evaluate the overall environmental impact of Water Services on our natural resourcesWater Resource Manager, Regulatory Compliance Manager, Stormwater Manager, Management AnalystSW is assisting Water Resources with aquifer recharge study.SW continues to assist Water Resources with aquifer recharge study.This study is ongoing.