The City of Prescott is a participant in the federally mandated National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II, which is intended to help prevent storm water pollution from entering the storm drain system and protect the quality of our creeks and lakes. This program is implemented through the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Permit Number AZ2002-002.
The City of Prescott is considered a MUNICIPAL SEPARATE STORM SEWER SYSTEM or (MS4). Our system consists of municipally owned streets with drainage systems comprised of a combination of, catch basins, curbs, gutters, ditches, manmade channels, and storm drains. As a designated MS4, the City of Prescott falls under section 208 of the Clean Water act (CWA) which discharges to waters of the United States.
The City of Prescott is working with other organizations on the Granite Creek Watershed Improvement Council. Click here to go to their website.
- Illicit Discharge
928-777-1140 (business hours, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)
928-445-5357 (non-business hours)
- Environmental Coordinator
430 North Virginia Street, Prescott, AZ 86301
National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
Arizona Pollution Discharge Elimination System (AZDPES)
It is estimated that nationwide over half the pollutants in our creeks and lakes are transported by storm water runoff from impervious surfaces (parking lots, roads, etc) through storm drain systems and into our lakes and creeks. These "non-point" source pollutants include gasoline by-products, oil, grease and heavy metals deposited by automobiles as well as industrial and chemical wastes. Fertilizers running off lawns and into storm drain systems are also a primary concern. These non-point source pollutants threaten the quality and usability of our surface water resources and control efforts are needed to reduce pollution sources and improve the quality of water discharged from storm drain systems. This is the purpose of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). NPDES Phase I Permits were issued in the early 1990s to large municipalities (>100, 000 population).
The Phase II Permits were issued in 2003 to smaller jurisdictions designated as urbanizing areas in order to fill in the gaps left by the Phase I Program and ensure the development of an effective statewide storm water management effort. Recently, the state of Arizona has received primacy for the federal NPDES program and is charged with implementing the program, now called AZPDES. The program requires Phase II municipalities to develop a Storm Water Management Program/Plan (SWMP).
The overall objective of the Phase II Storm Water Management Plan is to reduce the discharge of storm water pollutants into our waterways. It is much easier to prevent the pollutants from entering our waterways than it is to restore the impacted waterway to a non-polluted state. The City of Prescott will focus on preventing pollutants entering our waterways through the fulfillment of these six (6) management strategies.
- Public Education and Outreach
- Public Involvement and Participation
- Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
- Construction Site Runoff Control
- Post Construction Site Controls
- Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping
- Notice of Intent (pdf, 226.1 kb)
Notice of Intent for Coverage form.
- Prescott's Discharge Permit (pdf, 158.2 kb)
Prescott's Discharge Permit designated as AZ2002-002.
- Prescott's Storm Water Management Plan (pdf, 677.0 kb)
Why Does Prescott Have a Storm Water Management Plan?
Runoff from storm events is part of the natural hydrologic process. Rainwater that does not infiltrate into the ground, evaporate, or that is not used by plants will flow into lakes, creeks, and ditches. As runoff moves downhill, natural vegetated depressions and other features slow the flow of water and remove some pollutants and sediments. However, in Prescott, existing vegetation and topography often have been altered, graded, or paved and storm water is diverted into our lakes through creeks, ditches, scuppers, drainpipes, concrete slides and other diversionary features. When the drainage pattern of our watershed is so altered, flows increase in volume and velocity, resulting in an increase of suspended sediments and pollutants being carried from the land. Storm water that flows through Prescott to receiving waters is called “urban runoff”.
Urban runoff may carry a wide range of pollutants including nutrients, trash and debris, sediments, heavy metals, bacteria, petroleum products, and synthetic chemicals, such as pesticides. Because urban runoff does not originate from a distinct “point source” (e.g. a manufacturing plant), it is also often referred to as “non-point source” pollution. These contaminants in urban runoff have the potential to pollute water bodies within the City of Prescott. Urban runoff can degrade the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of our creeks and lakes.
In addition to the pollutants picked up by runoff before it enters a storm drain, some storm water includes wastes and wastewater from non-storm water sources. These non-storm water sources are referred to as “illicit discharges”. These discharges are “illicit” because law usually prohibits such releases; Prescott’s municipal storm drainage systems are not designed to treat wastewater. Illicit discharges can include effluent from septic systems; car washes, carpet cleaners, laundry, and other industrial waste waters; improper disposal of automotive and household wastes, such as used motor oil, fertilizers and pesticides, and plant clippings; construction site wastes, such as cement, oil and fuel, and clean-up water; and spills from roadways. The result is contaminated storm water that may contribute pollutants, including heavy metals, toxins, oil and grease, solvents, nutrients, viruses, and bacteria into area washes, creeks, and lakes. These same sources of pollution also may move downward (infiltrate) into ground water.
To find out more information on storm water management in Arizona we recommend you visit the following websites:
- Yavapai County
- Master Watershed program
- Arizona Department Environmental Quality
- Arizona Department of Transportation
- Environmental Protection Agency Region 9
- Environmental Protection Agency
- US Army Corps of Engineers Southwest District Office
Waterways of Prescott
Prescott is a hillside community averaging 5400-foot elevation with many seasonal creeks and two lakes. Water that passes through Prescott may enter the Verde or Aqua Fria Rivers.
Aspen Creek, Bannon Creek , Butte Creek, Granite Creek , Manzanita Creek , Miller Creek, and Willow Creek.
Watson Lake and Willow Lake.
What is Storm Water Runoff?
Water that falls from the sky as rain or snowmelt is considered storm water. The water that is not absorbed into the ground flows off paved surfaces, dirt surfaces, landscaped surfaces, houses and buildings, and drains into one of many waterways. Storm water can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants as it flows through our community. With your help we can keep our storm water clean to provide proper habitat for fish, plants, animals, and swimmers and boaters.
Prescott’s Storm Water System
Storm water that falls into the public right of way enters our creeks and lakes through ditches, scuppers, concrete slides, inlets, pipes, and box structures. Storm water is also introduced into our creeks from private properties that adjoin the creeks. Prescott does not maintain creeks that adjoin private property; these waterways are the responsibility of the adjacent property owners.
How can you help keep our creeks and lakes clean?
Like it or not, just about every one of us contributes to storm water pollution. If not by knowingly discarding items onto the right of way, we unknowingly place or position materials that are removed by storm water and introduced into our waterways. Daily activities that you may not have considered harmful have been shown to add to poor water quality. How you perform these activities will affect our storm water quality. Take a look at the Best Management Practices (BMPs) below to find ways you can help reduce pollutants entering our creeks and lakes.
Best Management Practices
- Autos and Trucks
- Car Wash
- Food Service
- Lawn Maintenance & Landscaping
- Pets and Livestock
How does owning a vehicle impact Storm Water?
Cars and trucks have a great potential for polluting our storm water. If a vehicle is not properly maintained it could leak fluids that may be carried away with storm water. Even if you do not drive your vehicle on dirt or paved streets, these fluids can easily wash from your property. Consider using a professional care facility that is trained in the proper replacement, hauling, and disposal of vehicle waste. Do not rinse fluids from driveway surfaces or drain onto the ground. One quart of oil can pollute 250,000 gallons of water, and antifreeze can cause severe burns to throats and stomachs of animals when ingested.
Drain old oil, grease, transmission fluid, brake fluid, antifreeze, and other fluids into a container large enough to hold all fluid. Allow enough room to move container without spilling fluid. Drain filters into a container and dispose of properly. Do not mix oil with other substances. Place all removed fluids into a separate spill proof container and take to an approved disposal site. Use cat-litter or similar material to absorb spilled fluid and dispose of properly.
When washing your vehicle consider using a car wash or self-service wash station. These facilities reuse their water and the detergents, grease and oil are removed. If you choose to wash your vehicle be sure to keep water and soap from entering the street or drains. Wash and rinse water may contain soap and detergent, gasoline and other petroleum products, and brake pad residue. Wash your vehicle over grass or gravel to allow the water to be absorbed. Conserve water by using a hose spray nozzle that automatically shuts off. Use cleaning products as described on their labels and dispose of properly. Empty buckets into the sanitary sewer system (clean-out, sink, or toilet).
Waste Oil Disposal Site
City of Prescott Transfer Station, 2800 Sundog Ranch Road, will accept up to 5 gallons per month. For more information call 928-777-1116.
How does my business impact Storm Water?
Commercial and Industrial sites have many building and landscape activities that, if improperly handled, could result in storm water pollution. Activities that include painting, chemical washes, plant and lawn clippings can be washed or blown into our storm water system. You would never pour fertilizers, paints, or cleaners into our lakes and creeks so why would you let them enter our storm system?
Bag or collect grass clippings, leaves, branches and other vegetation. Dispose them at a landfill or use for compost.
Use drip irrigation whenever possible. Have sprinkler systems inspected frequently for leaks, overspray, and runoff. Adjust automatic timers to spray more frequently but with less duration. Irrigate between the hours of 8:00 PM and 8:00 AM.
When using herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers always follow application and disposal directions listed on the product’s label. Do not apply during windy conditions or if rain is expected within 24 hours. Do not apply pesticides and herbicides within 100 feet of waterways.
Try to work fertilizers into the soil. Sweep up any fertilizer cast onto parking lots and sidewalks, and place back in container.
Do not wash surfaces into storm drains. Pickup sediments and sweepings, and contain wash/rinse waters and remove with vacuum. Contact Wastewater Treatment at 928-777-5847 for proper disposal information of all liquids.
Sweep up dry spills and use towels, absorbent or similar materials to remove wet spills. Dispose of properly.
Use a damp mop or broom to clean floors.
Use drop cloths to collect paint scrapings and sandblasting wastes and dispose of them in the trash. Use a tub or large container to mix paint and clean rollers, brushes and hoses. Properly dispose of waste liquids
Keep dumpsters covered and keep the area around them clean. Do not overfill dumpsters and report leaking dumpsters to your waste hauler for replacement.
Any toxic substance or liquid waste that is dumped on the ground or pavement must be properly cleaned and material disposed of properly.
How does washing my car impact Storm Water?
When you wash your vehicle, or wash vehicles for a fundraiser, wash and rinse water containing soap and detergent, gasoline and other petroleum products, and brake pad residue runs from the wash area and into the storm system. Consider using a car wash or self-service wash station. These facilities reuse their water and the detergents, grease and oil are removed. Try to wash vehicles over grass or gravel to allow the water to be absorbed. Insure the area will not drain into the street or storm system. Use cleaning products as described on their labels and dispose of properly. Even biodegradable products impact our storm system.
Before you start
Remove all trash and debris from the wash area. Select a location where wash water can soak into a lawn or gravel surface, or be directed to landscaping.
If your site will drain into the street try to divert to an area where the water can evaporate or can pool for removal when finished. Be sure to block off storm drains with sandbags or cover them to keep water from entering.
Use cleaners labeled as “non-toxic,” “biodegradable,” or “phosphate free.” Consider using vegetable or citrus-based products. These products are environmentally friendly. Do not use acid based engine and wheel cleaners.
Vacuum or shake floor mats into a trash can. Use containers for soapy rags and sponges. Wring rags and sponges into bucket, not on the ground. Use hoses with automatic shut-off nozzles. Empty buckets into the sanitary sewer system (clean-out, toilet, or sink).
If you have had a fundraiser, walk around the area and pick up trash and debris and dispose of it.
How do concrete and concrete products impact Storm Water?
Excess concrete and other products (mortar) can not be discharged or cleaned into a storm sewer system. Concrete contains lime and other agents that can be detrimental to our creeks and lakes. Washing of equipment is to be done in an area that cannot be blown or washed into the storm system and should be contained so water may evaporate allowing the remaining material to be disposed of in the trash.
Planning the job
Try to schedule work during dry weather. Store supplies in a covered area to limit damage to your materials and minimize impact to surrounding properties and the storm drain system by wind and runoff. Order only the materials you need to minimize waste. Block off storm drain inlets that are nearby.
Performing the job
If mixing on site, set up equipment on tarps, heavy drop cloths or within an area that is protected by an earthen berm. Do not mix more concrete or mortar than can be used. Remove broken concrete and dispose of properly.
If the material is being delivered by cement truck or trailer, insure vehicle is in an area that will hold any spilled material and that the rinse water does not leave the site and enter the roadway or storm drain system. Try to reuse rinse water from subsequent batches.
When using a wet or dry saw blade to cut concrete or asphalt, sweep or vacuum up dust and slurry and dispose of in the trash. Do not rinse the material into the street or down the storm drain.
Completing the job
Dispose of small amounts of dry mortar, concrete or grout in the trash. Sweep or vacuum exposed aggregate treatments, never wash into the street or storm drain.
Wash equipment and mixers in a designated area or “washout facility”. These areas will insure water will stay on site and not enter street or storm drain. After water has been removed, place all dry material in the trash.
All spilled material should be removed, with contaminated soil, and placed in the trash.
How do developers and contractors impact Storm Water?
The overwhelming pollutant flowing into our creeks and lakes is sediment. As Prescott grows, construction of roadways, shopping centers, and residential and commercial properties continue. Once land is disturbed, the opportunity for dirt and sediment to enter our storm drain system increases significantly. There are two types of controls that need to be considered during construction, one is erosion control and the other is sediment control. Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been identified and should be incorporated into any design where soil is disturbed. The type and placement of these BMPs will be included in the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).
Erosion control is the process of installing BMPs that will protect the soil surface so that water and wind will not carry the soil from the construction site. Some examples of BMPs that would help control erosion are preserving existing vegetation, scheduling, slope treatments, mulch, hydroseeding, soil binders, geotextiles, plastic covers, erosion control blankets/mats, drainage swales, and storm structure protection.
Sediment control is the process of installing BMPs that will intercept and slow the flow of storm water. This enables the sediment to settle out and be kept on site. Some examples of BMPs that would help control sediment loss are sediment control berm, silt fence, sediment trap, check dams, sediment wattles and logs, sand bag barriers, storm drain structure protection, stabilized construction entrance/exit, and street sweeping.
Storm Water Pollution Protection Plan (SWPPP)
A SWPPP is a plan that has been submitted by an engineer or erosion pollution control coordinator and is required for projects 1 acre or more in size. It is submitted prior to construction and controls must be installed before an area is disturbed. The SWPPP looks at the site to be disturbed and describes in detail the BMPs that will be used to minimize erosion and sediment loss. The plan will identify the coordinator of the SWPPP and indicate the maintenance requirements, the frequency of inspection, and the temporary and permanent controls for the site. A successful SWPPP will result in minimal erosion, which will keep sediment out of our creeks and lakes.
How does my restaurant impact Storm Water?
Storm drains carry storm water from our city streets and should not carry detergents, grease, trash or other materials. Sanitary sewers can fill with grease and oils and cause sewers to back up causing untreated sewage to enter our homes, city streets, and creeks.
Never hose off a spill into the street, gutter or storm drain. Sweep or vacuum dry spills and dispose of in the trash. On wet spills, try and pickup the spill with an absorbent material or towels and dispose of in trash.
Do not hose off floor mats. Remove grease and food wastes with towels or scrape them into the trash. Clean mats and similar items in an area that will drain into the sanitary sewer.
Do not overfill the dumpster. Keep the area around the dumpster clear of trash and debris. Keep your dumpster covered to control wind scatter, insects, animals, and rainfall absorption.
Wet spills should be removed upon discovery with towels or absorbent material and disposed of in trash. Never rinse the area around your dumpster, use a broom or vacuum.
Collect hot waste oil and grease in metal containers with lids. Use covered plastic containers if oil will be at room temperature. Do not pour any oil or grease into your drain. Recycle waste if possible, or use absorbent material and when it becomes a solid dispose of in trash.
Before washing, dry wipe cookware, dishware, and utensils to remove visible grease and dispose of towels in the trash. Use screens in sinks and dispose of collected materials in the trash.
Post “No Grease” signs near all sinks and cook areas. Train your employees to handle grease properly and minimize the amount of grease entering the sanitary sewer.
Use the tips above to reduce the amount of solids entering the grease trap. Inspect and have a licensed contractor clean them frequently to keep them working properly. Keep maintenance records on site for review and reference.
How does my household impact Storm Water?
Households produce waste that, if introduced into our storm system, can have a detrimental impact on our creeks and lakes. Most household hazardous waste (HHW) is leftover products that are found in your kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, and garage and are discarded. Placing these items in the trash, down the drain, into the storm system, or on the ground is not allowed. Take all HHW to an approved waste disposal site.
Hazardous Household Waste (HHW)
HHW are items that contain toxic, flammable, corrosive, or reactive ingredients. Always follow the product’s label for disposal. Remember that these wastes can harm your family, pets, and the environment. When ever possible, substitute your present products with non-hazardous or less hazardous products.
Common Interior Household Hazardous Wastes
Batteries, drain openers, cleaning and polishing products, grease and rust removers, fluorescent lamps, mercury, pesticides, and TV/monitor tubes.
Common Exterior Household Hazardous Wastes
Paints, adhesives, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, fungicides, wood preservatives, grease and rust removers, and pool and spa chemicals.
Suggestions for Handling Hazardous Household Wastes
Never dispose of HHW in the street. Keep them in labeled, sealed containers and store in a covered area.
Use the entire contents or allow family and friends finish the product to eliminate waste, and when empty, dispose of containers in trash.
In case of an emergency contact 911.
Waste Disposal Locations
Motor oil (up to 5 gallons a month) and dried paint, take to Prescott Transfer Station, 2800 Sundog Ranch Road. 777-1116.
Batteries take to Budget Battery, 324 S Montezuma. 445-2449.
How do lawn maintenance and landscaping impact Storm Water?
We all enjoy a well-maintained yard. However, the process of establishing and maintaining your landscape can introduce pollutants into our city storm system. Soil, rocks, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and plant clippings, can be washed or blown into our creeks and lakes. When maintaining your property remove all materials and dispose of them in the trash or compost pile.
Establishing your landscape
Minimize materials leaving your property and entering the street and drains. Use tarps or protective sheeting to cover stockpiles or disturbed areas from rain and wind displacement.
Never stockpile materials in the street. At the end of the day sweep up any materials on sidewalks, driveways and in the street. Do not wash off with water form your hose. Reuse or dispose of this material in the trash.
Only disturb the area that you are able to address on any given day.
Use landscape mat or fabric that allows water to pass through to the soil.
Use erosion control matting on cut slopes and plant fast growing ground covers to minimize loss of soil.
Plant native vegetation to reduce water and chemical use.
Maintaining your landscape
Do not over water. Consider using drip, micro spray, or soaker hose systems. If you choose to a use a traditional sprinkler system, adjust to minimize water spraying on sidewalks, driveways, and into the street. If water is running down the street you are over watering or you may have a leak. Periodically check your system for leaks and broken or misdirected sprinklers. Irrigation is more effective if applied between the hours of 8:00 PM and 8:00 AM.
Collect all clippings and leaves and dispose of them in the trash or compost pile. Do not rake, blow or wash debris into the street or storm system.
Use pesticides and fertilizers as directed. Read their labels and remove spills immediately. Use organic pest control and organic or slow release fertilizers when possible.
Rinse empty containers and reuse the rinse water as the original product. Dispose of empty, rinsed containers in the trash.
How do pesticides impact our Storm Water?
When we apply products to control pests we may be introducing pollutants into our creeks and lakes. Only apply control measures that will address the area of concern. Use the proper safety and application equipment. Remember that pesticides can harm humans, animals, beneficial insects, and our water. Consider hiring a licensed professional.
Identify the pest and choose the best method of control. Look for the help in your gardening books or at your neighborhood nursery. Some pests can be controlled through natural practices and others require chemicals.
Find your pest on the product’s label. Mix and apply at rates listed. Pesticides loose potency, so only buy what you will use. Apply only to the impacted area and do not apply if rain is expected within the next 24 hours.
Apply with the correct equipment and wear protective clothing. These will be listed on the product’s label. Be prepared for spills and know how to clean them. Do not mix chemicals on concrete, paved areas, or in areas where spills may be washed into the storm system. Mix chemicals over grass or dirt and only mix what you plan to use. Turn off irrigation system for 24 hours.
Read the product label and apply only to areas that are listed. Do not apply pesticides on or near ditches, storm drains, creeks, or lakes unless the product is approved for application near these areas. Apply only enough product to address the pest, do not over apply.
Do not apply pesticides during windy conditions. Limit application to concrete and other paved areas when spraying around the perimeter of your home.
When finished, do not dump remaining product in to the storm system. If product requires multiple applications, save unused product for future use. Triple-rinse the applicator and pour rinse water over the treated area. Do not place hose or faucet into sprayers, keep an air-gap at all times.
If you choose to not use pesticides consider spraying them with water or prune and dispose of infected branches. Use biological controls, which may include insects, bacteria, and plant extracts. Eliminate their habitat. Remember that spraying pesticides can kill beneficial insects.
How do pets and livestock impact Storm Water?
Animal waste represents a significant source of bacterial contamination in urban watersheds. Genetic studies by Alderiso et al. (1996) and trial et al. (1993) both concluded that 95 percent of fecal coliform found in urban storm water were of non human origin. Animal care products may also end up in our watershed if precautions are not taken to limit their use and disposal.
We are unable to control the waste from the many wild animals that live around the Prescott area, but we can control the waste and care products from our pets and livestock.
Besides being a nuisance, pet waste can lead to water pollution. During rainfall, pet waste left outdoors can wash into storm drains. This waste flows directly into our creeks and lakes where it can harm human health and the ecology of our creeks and lakes.
As it decomposes, pet waste demands a high level of oxygen from water. This decomposition can contribute to killing water life by reducing the amount of dissolved oxygen available to them.
We encourage you to have fun with your pets, but please be a responsible pet owner by taking care of them and the environment. Take a bag with you and pick up after your pets when taking walks or hikes. Dispose of your pet’s waste in an appropriate container or in a toilet.
Never let any pet care products or rinse water run off your yard and into the street, ditch or storm drains. Try to wash your pets indoors. Use less-toxic shampoos and flea products or have your pet groomed by a professional groomer. Follow instructions on the product’s label and clean up any spills. Even biodegradable soaps and shampoos can be harmful to humans and our creek and lake environments.
Besides being a nuisance, livestock waste can lead to water pollution. Holding areas should be swept or shoveled at least once per day. Livestock waste can be floated to a storm drain or creek during heavy monsoon events. Hose down these areas only after waste has been physically removed! Conserve water by using a spray nozzle that can be shut off when not in use. During sustained heavy rainfall, consider indoor feeding, this should limit manure runoff by keeping it under a roof.
Store animal waste in a sturdy, seepage-free unit that is enclosed or under cover. Remove manure weekly and dispose of properly or use in compost. See http://compostingcouncil.org/ for more information.
Use less-toxic alternatives for grooming. Even biodegradable products can be harmful to humans and our creek and lake environments. Follow instructions on the product label and clean up any spills. When washing livestock, wash in area that will empty into a sanitary sewer or into an area where water will seep into the ground. Do not let wash and rinse waters enter the storm drain or any body of water.
How does my pool impact Storm Water?
Pools require maintenance and are occasionally drained. Pool water can introduce chemicals that can pollute our creeks and lakes.
When cleaning your pool, filter the water. Remove debris and dispose of it in the trash. Never rinse filters into the street or storm drain.
When draining your pool try draining onto grass or gravel areas.
When using acids or other chemical cleaners, do not drain the rinse water in the gutter or in the storm drains.
Do not wash or pour paint into the gutter or storm drain.
Rinse all concrete and mortar equipment in an area that will capture the rinse water. Let the water evaporate and dispose the remaining solids in the trash.