Legislative Affairs

Arizona State Capitol and House of Representatives

2019 Arizona State Legislative Session Summary

This summary highlights 2019 bills and budget items that will most impact ADEQ, our customers and the larger stakeholder community. It was another successful year in advancing our efforts to protect and enhance public health and the environment, while striving to provide technical and operational excellence and radical simplicity for our customers and staff.

HB 2452 | Vehicle Emissions Program: Remote Inspections

ADEQ implements the Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) in areas not meeting air quality standards for ozone and other pollutants. This bill allows ADEQ to conduct a pilot project to evaluate emerging technologies that will allow vehicle emissions test data collection and transmittal without the need for motorists to visit a VEI station. If the pilot is successful, ADEQ will expand it over time to full deployment.  Along with other minor program enhancements, we believe this amendment will allow ADEQ to provide faster and less expensive service over time to our customers in and near Phoenix and Tucson.

Small Drinking Water System Fund

The budget provides the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority with $500,000 for small water system emergencies and infrastructure upgrades. ADEQ is aware of nine systems that are serving water above a standard, and that have exhausted all other funding options. This funding is essential to ensuring that necessary upgrades can occur, resulting in restoration of a clean and safe water supply.

HB 2405 | Regulated Water Company: Violations; Enforcement

Authorizes ADEQ to make a written request to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to take necessary corrective actions at an ACC-regulated wastewater treatment facility/system or public water system under certain conditions. Although ADEQ has informally worked with the ACC to address issues when necessary, this bill provides a discretionary formal framework for referrals.

WQARF Funding

The budget provides another year of “gap funding” totaling approximately $15 million from other funds within the department. Although this funding will allow ADEQ to continue the important work of this program through fiscal year 2020, this solution is not viable next year and a permanent solution must be enacted during the 2020 legislative session.

HB 2704 | Underground Storage Tanks: Process 

This bill makes clarifying and enhancing amendments to the comprehensive Underground Storage Tank program restructuring that occurred in 2015, including:  

  • Costs incurred at sites that performed corrective actions between when the 2015 legislation became effective and ADEQ implemented the Preapproval Program are now eligible for reimbursement under certain circumstances.
  • ADEQ is required to develop an expedited preapproval process by Dec. 31, 2019, to address corrective action costs incurred for newly discovered contamination and costs necessary to avoid risk to public health and the environment. This provision is designed to expedite cleanup and reduce costs.
  • The maximum reimbursement for non-corrective actions is tripled to $300,000 for total work conducted, which includes actions necessary to ensure the UST or parts of the UST comply with standards for new installations, permanent closure or replacement of tanks, confirmation of suspected release, and baseline assessment. Only costs incurred after ADEQ approval are eligible for reimbursement.
  • ADEQ can enter into lien settlements for the estimated increase in the market value of the property for properties where ADEQ has conducted the cleanup and the property owners are not the responsible parties.