Noncompliance Reporting: 24-Hour Notification Required

24-Hour Reporting Methods:

Permittees are required to report any instances of noncompliance that may endanger human health or the environment to ADEQ’s Water Quality Enforcement. Notification must be made within 24 hours of becoming aware of the circumstances, and in most cases, an additional 5-Day Written Report is required for the following occurrences:

  • Any Unanticipated Bypass of part or all of the treatment system, whether or not the effluent will still meet permitted limitations
  • Any Upset of the treatment system
  • Any Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO), no matter how small
  • Any Unpermitted Discharge from either a collection or treatment system, regardless of whether it reaches waters of the state

A bypass is an intentional diversion of waste streams from any portion of a treatment facility. The permittee may allow a bypass to occur if it does not cause effluent limitations to be exceeded, but only if it is for essential maintenance to assure efficient operation or is unavoidable to prevent loss of life, personal injury, or severe property damage.

  • An Anticipated Bypass

    If the need for a bypass is known in advance, the permittee must notify the Enforcement Branch no less than ten (10) calendar days prior to the event. Anticipated bypasses are subject to ADEQ approval. If the bypass results in no exceedances of permitted limits, no further reporting of the bypass is required.

    (Note: The bypass must still discharge from the permitted facility outfall; a bypass from any other location would be considered an unpermitted discharge, and must be reported as such.) If permit limits are exceeded, a 24-hour report must be made to ADEQ (see Reporting Methods above) and a 5-day written follow-up report may be required.

  • Unanticipated Bypass

    An unanticipated bypass of the treatment system, whether or not the effluent meets permitted limitations, must be reported within 24 hours of becoming aware of the incident, followed by a 5-day written report.

  1. Facility/Permittee name
  2. Permit number
  3. Location of bypass
  4. Date(s) the bypass occurred
  5. Estimated volume of water that was bypassed
  6. Level of treatment the water received before being bypassed
  7. Circumstances necessitating the bypass
  8. Any analysis of the water bypassed and any impact on or analysis of the receiving waters
  9. Contact name and phone number

An upset is a disruption in the treatment process that is beyond the plant’s control, such as when someone dumps a large quantity of cooking grease or motor oil into a manhole.

The permittee will usually have to prove the cause of the upset to ADEQ in order to avoid possible enforcement action. 24-hour report and 5-day follow-up required.

  1. Facility/Permittee name
  2. Permit number
  3. Location of upset
  4. Date(s) of upset: anticipated time the upset is expected to continue, or if it has been corrected, the duration of the upset condition
  5. Description of the noncomplying discharge, including its impact on the receiving waters
  6. Cause of upset
  7. Steps taken or planned to reduce, eliminate, and prevent future upsets
  8. Contact name and phone number

The discharge of sewage from a sanitary sewer system at any point upstream of a sewage treatment plant is prohibited. Of the various causes of sewage spills – such as pipe blockage or break, power failure, and insufficient system capacity, to name a few – the number one cause of an SSO is pipe blockage from grease buildup in the sewer systems. SSOs can cause raw sewage to overflow out of manholes and into areas of potential human contact and into streams before it has been properly treated.

Therefore, when an SSO is detected – no matter how small – it must be reported within 24 hours of its discovery followed by a 5-day written report.

  1. Facility/ Permittee name
  2. Permit number
  3. Location of SSO (be as precise as possible: address or intersection, manhole # if numbered)
  4. Receiving water (if applicable)
  5. Total duration of overflow (exact dates and times)
  6. Total estimated volume
  7. Cause of SSO
  8. Steps taken or planned to reduce, eliminate, and prevent future SSOs
  9. Contact name and phone number

A discharge is considered to be “unpermitted” if it comes from either a collection system or a treatment system but does not pass through the outfall(s) listed in the permit, regardless of whether that discharge reaches waters of the state.

24-hour report and 5-day follow-up required.

  1. Facility/Permittee name
  2. Permit number
  3. Location of unpermitted discharge
  4. Receiving water (if applicable)
  5. Total duration of discharge
  6. Total estimated volume
  7. Cause of unpermitted discharge
  8. Steps taken or planned to reduce, eliminate, and prevent future unpermitted discharges
  9. Contact name and phone number