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.

Specific Responses  January to June 2020

Step Champion Action Items Next Steps
1. Update the Low Impact Development (LID) Code, addressing errors, emissions, and clarity Stormwater Manager ________________________
Stormwater Design Manual to be revised.
2. Continue to improve the standards and response  related to illegal discharges Regulatory Compliance, Stomrwater Manager "Created an outline-flow charts to guide staff in response procedure and identified responsibilities. " Train impacted staff on responses to illicit discharges, focusing on new flow chart.
3. Develop a better assessment of wildfire issues and  recommend corrective actions Stormwater 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.
4. Assess the resources required to produce the           Watershed and Flood Plain Management Plans Stormwater Manager, Floodplain Manager 1.  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.
5. Develop schedule for completing the Watershed            and Flood Plain Management Plans Stormwater Manager, Floodplain Manager same as above N/A
6. Increase water-use efficiency through active and passive rainwater capture Stormwater Manager, Water Resource Manager, Management Analyst 1. Standard procedures established, Rain barrel program continued
​2.   Proposed edits to Stormwater Credit Manual.
1. Credit manual updates.
7. Evaluate the overall environmental impact of  Water Services on our natural resources Water Resource Manager, Regulatory Compliance Manager, Stormwater Manager, Management Analyst SW is assisting Water Resources with aquifer recharge study. This study is ongoing.