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PRESS RELEASE: 2021 Year in Review – ADEQ works to protect Arizona’s environment and public health for all Arizonans| 2021 Year in Review | ADEQ works to protect the environment, public health of all Arizonans
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PRESS RELEASE: 2021 Year in Review – ADEQ works to protect Arizona’s environment and public health for all Arizonans| 2021 Year in Review | ADEQ works to protect the environment, public health of all Arizonans

PRESS RELEASE | 2021 Year in Review | ADEQ works to protect the environment, public health of all Arizonans

PHOENIX (Dec. 31, 20,21) The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality took key steps to protect the environment as well as the health of all Arizonans this year.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has met unprecedented challenges this year. We are protecting public health and Arizona’s unique natural resources better than ever before, stated Misael Cabrera (P.E. ADEQ Director). Our culture of continuous improvement fosters innovation, which has allowed us to achieve positive mission outcomes and record-setting results for Arizonans as well as our environment.

Taking Actions and Responding to an Ongoing Pandemic

  • ADEQ completed the transition to remote work in 2021. Combining the 2021 office consolidating with the 2015 prepandemic office consolidating has saved Arizona $1.5 Million in annual rent expenses each year. It has also reduced the agency’s footprint to 90,000 square footage.
  • ADEQ’s hybrid workforce has proven its ability to continue effective and efficient regulatory oversight and inspections at permitted facilities. ADEQ completed 2021 the highest number ever of facility inspections in its history.ADEQ had completed 4,478 inspections as of December 28, 2021.
  • In 2021, more than 900 environmental complaints were addressed by ADEQ compliance officers or inspectors 18% increase over 2020.

Protecting Arizonans & Our Environment Key Accomplishments

  • Forecasting of Air QualityExtended hourly air quality forecasts available for communities in Douglas (Flagstaff), Hayden, Miami (Prescott), Rillito and Hayden. Every area with concerns about air quality receives hourly and daily forecasts to help them make wise decisions about their own health.
  • Issued 52 Wildfire Smoke ForecastsFor communities in the Tussock and Tiger Wildfires close to Crown King, the Mescal and Telegraph Wildfires nearby Miami/Globe and the Backbone Wildfire near Pine/Strawberry and the Rafael Wildfire southeast from Williams.
  • Voluntary Vehicle Repair Program(VVRP). VVRP modifications increased the number of eligible vehicles for the program. Record numbers of motorists take advantage of the program for cleaner, fresher air..
  • Brownfields12 communities were awarded $528,000 for 16 projects to revive and transform blighted property into vibrant, usable space. The projects also reduced environmental hazards. More than 80 acres were returned to productive use.
  • RecyclingTo continue building and supporting partnerships in Arizona with cities, counties and environmental groups, private companies, non-profits, and other interested individuals to address recycling issues and expand educational outreach through this program. The Biggest Reducer video Series.
  • The Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund(WQARF-Program) Groundwater was treated for 11.6 billion gallons. 12,254 pounds of volatile organic compound and about 640 tonnes of metals and hazardous materials were removed.ADEQ advanced all listed sites from the Remedial Investigation phase to the Feasibility Study stage for the first-ever time in WQARF’s history.
  • Implemented Arizona Surface Water Protection ProgramIts Protected Surface Waters List, which lists all waters that are protected by the Clean Water Act, and the new State Surface Water Protection Program 883 rivers streams and lakes that are critical for drinking, recreation, and fish consumption. Signed by Governor Ducey May 5, 2021 House Bill 2691This legislation, which is Arizona’s first water quality protection legislation, was enacted in 1991 by the Aquifer Protect Program.
  • On ADEQs recommendation, the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority awarded more than $928,000 from its Small Water Systems Fund to eight small-sized public water systems. These systems serve almost 2,000 people in rural Arizona and used the funding for public health issues.
  • In cases of imminent danger to public health or safety, activated the Arizona Water Emergency Team to assist in 26 water emergencies.

Continued expansion of online services for customers – Customer service & experience

The award-winning myDEQ reporting and permitting portal has helped ADEQ reduce permitting times by more than 95 percent. It has also helped facilities return to compliance faster than 50 percent. This has a net economic benefit of more $190 million each year. ADEQ now offers online access to 50 percent of its eligible services through myDEQ. The Underground Storage Tank and open burn permits are two of the most important services that were launched in 2021.

ADEQ made significant efforts to address the threat of emerging per and polyfluorinated (PFAS), contaminants in groundwater. They also worked to prevent PFAS contamination, and kept the public informed.

  • Conducted an accelerated study, designed and constructed a pilot remedy to stop a PFAS cloud from reaching Tucson’s central waterfield.CTPP). Construction was completed in December 2021. The system is now operational.
  • Continued screening of high-risk public drinking waters systems in the state and advising relevant industries about adverse effects on public health and the environment.
  • Collaborated with the Governors Office to grant $2 million for Tucson WaterSo they could restart the Tucson Area Remediation Project treatment facility.
  • Struck an Environmental Services AgreementFor an initial $1.7million in U.S. Air Force funding, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center will be providing funding for the CTPP.

2021 National Awards

Visit: for more information on ADEQs performance metrics, and results.



ADEQ Public Information Officer
602-540-8072 | Email

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