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Frequently Asked Questions


  • General

    • Contact information for Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program is on the Location & Hours page.

  • Projects

    • The following types of projects are reviewed and approved by the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program:

      • Water distribution system pipelines located in the public right-of-way, pressure reducing valve stations, ground water wells, storage tanks, booster pump stations and facilities that include only disinfection treatment.
      • Wastewater collection and force main pipelines located in the public right-of-way, sewage pump and lift stations, air/vacuum relief stations and sewer flow control or diversion structures.
      • Reclaimed water distribution system pipelines and booster pump stations located in the public right-of-way.

      The Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program does not review or approve water and wastewater treatment facilities, reclaimed water recharge facilities, reuse systems and treatment/disposal wetlands. These projects are reviewed and approved by the MCESD’s Water and Wastewater Treatment Program.

      The Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program also reviews and approves projects that do not necessarily involve the construction of or physical modification to a facility or system. These types of projects include:

      • Subdivision sanitary/water system approvals
      • Condominium conversion sanitary/water system approvals
      • Mobile Home Parks sanitary/water system approvals
      • Soils/geological reports for subdivisions served by septic systems
      • Master plans

    • Projects requiring approval are submitted by sending a transmittal letter, an application form, a check for the review fee and the relevant documentation for the project to the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program.

      Multiple projects cannot be submitted on a single application. However, a project may have multiple components bundled into a single project. For example, a drinking water project may include a well, storage tank and booster pump station components.

      Application and instruction forms for submission of projects can be found on the Forms/Applications page.

    • Contact the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program regarding any questions you may have about submitting a project.

      Specific information concerning project applications, fees and submittal documentation requirements is contained in the application instruction forms. Application and instruction forms can be obtained from the Forms/Applications page.

    • The Public Water System (PWS) name/identification information should be available from the owner of the water treatment facility or system if the project is an extension to an existing water system. The identification number usually takes the form of 04-07-### for Public Water Systems, where ### is the specific identification number for a particular facility or system.

      If the project is for a new facility or system, please contact the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program for this information.

    • The township, range and section site location information can be obtained from the Maricopa County Assessor and from some commercially available maps such as the Phoenix Metropolitan Street Atlas. If the parcel number or address of the property is known, the information may be obtained by doing a Parcel Search at the Maricopa County Assessor's website. Otherwise, the information may be obtained from the GIS Maps by doing an Interactive Maps search at the Maricopa County Assessor's website.

    • The type of documentation submitted to the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program for review and approval of a project typically includes an Engineering Design Report, Engineering Calculations and Design Data, and Design Drawings.

      Please contact the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program if you have any questions concerning what documentation is required to be submitted for a particular project.

    • The fee amount charged for the review depends on the type of project and number of project components. Chapter 1, Regulation 5 of the Maricopa County Environmental Health Code (MCEHC) itemizes the fees. The submittal package instructions for each of the application forms on the Forms/Applications page also list the fees charged for the different types of project components and contain directions on how to compute the fee for a project.

    • A meeting prior to submitting your project is not required. However, if your particular project is very large or complex, is time constrained, or involves prototype or novel equipment, it is strongly recommended that you meet with staff from the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program prior to submitting your project to ensure that the review and approval process proceeds smoothly.

    • When your project is submitted to the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program it will be logged into our database and assigned a project number. When the review of the project is started, a Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program staff member will contact you.

    • The length of time it takes to obtain an approval depends on the following factors:

      • The degree of difficulty of the project. Complex projects take longer to review.
      • The quality of the engineering design and the level of detail contained within the submitted documentation for a particular project. If the engineering design is complete and all regulatory, operational and maintenance concerns have been addressed, the review and approval process will be relatively quick.
      • The current workload of the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program staff. If a number of projects are already queued for review, your project will not be reviewed immediately.

      The Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program cannot guarantee how long it will take to review and approve a particular project. However, experience has shown that the quality of the project submittals usually determines the duration of the review and approval process.

      Please contact the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program prior to submitting your project to discuss this issue.

    • The review and approval of a project may be expedited by paying an expedited review fee. An expedited review doubles the fee amount for the project.

      The review will be expedited, with the project being reviewed ahead of non-expedited projects. However, no guarantees can be made regarding the length of time the review cycle will take to complete because the review cycle time is dependent on the quality of the engineering design, the level of detail contained within the submitted project documentation, and the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program's current workload.

    • The review and approval of a project may be phased by paying a phased review fee. A phased review doubles the fee amount for the project. If an expedited phased review is requested, it would result in a quadrupling of the fee amount for the project.

      A phased review may be performed for a very large project or a fast track project. A phased review allows the engineering design and construction of a project to be broken up into packages. For example, multiple separate components can be reviewed independently of one another during the engineering design process as the detailed design work is completed.

      A phased review requires the submission and approval of the final Engineering Design Report prior to any Design Drawings, Technical Specifications or Plans being approved for any phase.

  • Approvals

    • An approval must be obtained for a water, wastewater or reclaimed water facility or system when:

      • A new facility or system is to be constructed.
      • An existing facility or system is to be modified and the modification affects the capacity, quality, flow, location or operational performance of the facility or system.
      • A new or revised plan for a facility or system is being proposed.
      • A new subdivision requires an approval of sanitary facilities.
      • A new mobile home and/or recreational vehicle park is to be constructed or an existing mobile home park is to be modified and the modification affects the capacity of the park’s sewer or water system.

    • The following types of approvals are issued by the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program:

      • Approval To Construct
      • Approval Of Construction
      • Approval Of Sanitary Facilities for a Subdivision
      • Approval Of Sanitary Facilities for a Mobile Home Park
      • Approval Of A312G Alternative Features

    • Construction may commence once an Approval To Construct certificate has been issued.

    • Construction must commence within one year after the date of issue of an Approval To Construct certificate or else the certificate expires.

    • Construction of a water project must be completed within three years after the date of issue of an Approval To Construct certificate or else the certificate expires. Construction of a sewer or reclaimed water project must be completed within two years after the date of issue of an Approval To Construct certificate or else the certificate expires.

    • An Approval To Construct certificate expires if construction of a project has been halted for more than one year.

    • An expired Approval To Construct certificate can be renewed once within an 180 day period from its date of expiration provided that the original design is unchanged.

      An Application for Approval to Construct (ATC) and/or Provisional Verification of General Permit Conformance for Water/Wastewater Facilities must be submitted with a check for the renewal fee. The renewal fee is equal to one-half the fee amount originally charged for the project. The renewal grants a one year extension from the date the certificate is renewed.

      If an Approval To Construct certificate has expired and cannot be renewed because it was previously renewed or the design of the project has been changed, then a new project approval must be obtained.

    • Start-up and full operation of the facility or system may commence immediately once an Approval Of Construction certificate has been issued.

  • Documentation

    • The type of documentation submitted to the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program for review and approval of a project will vary depending on the characteristics of a particular project and the type of approval that is required. Typical documentation that may be required to be submitted for project approval includes:

      • Planning Documentation - For example, a master plan or capacity study.
      • Test Plans or Reports - For example, a soils test plan or a geologic report.
      • Engineering Design Report
      • Engineering Calculations and Design Data
      • Design Drawings
      • Technical Specifications
      • Equipment Manufacturer's Literature
      • Installation Testing Result(s) - For example, piping pressure test results.
      • Bacteriological (Disinfection) Analysis Result(s)
      • Engineer’s Certificate Of Completion

      When a project is initially submitted to the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program for review and approval, only a subset of the above documentation is required. Additional documentation may be required as work progresses on the project.

      The initial submittal package for a typical Approval To Construct/Approval Of Construction project will include:

      • Engineering Design Report
      • Engineering Calculations and Design Data
      • Design Drawings

      Other types of approvals will require different documentation to be included in the initial submittal package for the project.

      Please contact the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program if you have any questions concerning what documentation is required to be submitted for a particular project.

    • At the present time electronic documentation submittals are not accepted by the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program. This is due to the requirements of public records archiving, as established by the State of Arizona.

    • When a project is 100 percent complete (i.e. a final approval certificate has been issued) all of the project documentation submitted to the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program becomes part of the public record and is available to the general public. The final documentation set for a completed project typically includes, but is not limited to, an application for Approval Of Construct and as-built Design Drawings.

    • For water projects with a construction value greater than $12,500, the following documentation, as a minimum, must be signed and stamped by a Professional Engineer registered in the State of Arizona:

      • Engineering Design Report – Cover, Table of Contents or First Page.
      • Engineering Calculations and Design Data – As required by the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program or by the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration’s rules and regulations.
      • Design Drawings – Each Individual Design Drawing Sheet.
      • Technical Specifications – Cover, Table of Contents or First Page.
      • Reports and Other Documentation – As required by the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program or by the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration’s rules and regulations.
      • Operations and Maintenance Manual – Cover, Table of Contents or First Page.
      • Engineer’s Certificate Of Completion – As required on the certificate form.

      The engineering firm and the engineer must be registered with the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration.

      It is recommended that engineers submitting documentation to the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program contact the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration if they have any questions about the rules and regulations related to sealing documentation.

    • ANSI ‘D’ size (24”H x 36”W standard size) drawings must be submitted for the review and approval. Normally only one copy of the documentation is required.

    • The cover page of the design drawings is signed by the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program staff for projects which involve the construction of or modification to a facility or system and require an Approval To Construct.

      An approval area for the MCESD should be provided on the cover page with space reserved for the following information:

      • Approval By: (Signature)
      • Approval Date:
      • Project Number:

  • Engineering Design

  • General
    • See the Rules and Regulations page for the rules and regulations that apply to water, wastewater and reclaimed water facilities and systems located within the public right-of-way, subdivisions and Mobile Home parks.

    • The separation distance for potable water and sewer pipelines located in the public right-of-way is governed by Arizona Administrative Code (AAC) R-18-5-502.C. The separation distance for reclaimed water pipelines located in the public right-of-way is governed by AAC R-18-9-602.F. The Maricopa Association of Government’s "Uniform Standard Details for Public Works Construction" standards 404-1, 404-2 and 404-3 detail the separation distance and protection requirements for the installation of potable water, reclaimed water and sewer pipelines for MAG participants.

      The separation distance between potable water and sewer pipelines from other pipelines such as non-potable ground, surface, irrigation, storm, industrial, etc., pipelines located in the public right-of-way is not defined by the regulations or MAG standards. The MCESD recommends that these non-potable pipelines:

      • Be separated from potable water pipelines as specified by AAC R-18-5-502.C.
      • Be located no closer than two feet vertically nor six feet horizontally from all other pipelines unless the non-potable pipeline is encased in at least six inches of concrete or using mechanical joint ductile iron pipe at least 10 feet beyond any point on the pipeline.

      For projects requiring an approval by the MCESD that involve pipelines located on or crossing private property, the Department will determine the separation distance requirements for these pipelines on a case-by-case basis.

  • Water Facilities and Systems
    • Groundwater production facilities (typically a groundwater well, reservoir and booster pump station that do not treat the groundwater) usually do not require emergency power. However, emergency power may be required to meet the regulatory requirements for the distribution system as noted in the question below.

    • The requirement for back-up power for distribution system facilities is driven by three Arizona Administrative Code (AAC) requirements as follows:

      1. R18-5-502.B - A potable water distribution system shall be designed to maintain and shall maintain a pressure of at least 20 pounds per square inch at ground level at all points in the distribution system under all conditions of flow.
      2. R18-5-503.A - The minimum storage capacity for a CWS [community water system] or a non-community water system that serves a residential population or a school shall be equal to the average daily demand during the peak month of the year. Storage capacity may be based on existing consumption and phased as the water system expands.
      3. R18-5-503.B - The minimum storage capacity for a multiple-well system for a CWS [community water system] or a non-community water system that serves a residential population or a school may be reduced by the amount of the total daily production capacity minus the production from the largest producing well.

      Conformance with item 1 is usually implemented by the construction of one or more reservoirs to provide storage capacity for a distribution system service area. Properly designed reservoirs located at the high water elevation of a service area can provide hydraulic head to maintain a nominal system pressure of 20 psi. In some cases, isolated service areas may be fed by redundant supply sources instead of using reservoirs to maintain system pressure.

      Conformance with items 2 and 3 is implemented by calculating the size of the reservoirs to provide sufficient capacity to meet the required capacity for peak and fire flow demands in combination with redundant supply sources feeding a distribution system service area such as surface water treatment plants, groundwater wells, booster pump stations and pressure reducing valve stations.

      Emergency power may be required for groundwater wells, booster pump stations and pressure reducing valve stations acting as a source of supply to isolated service areas. For example, a service area with insufficient storage capacity fed by two other service areas via booster pump stations that are on the same electrical grid would not conform to the AAC requirements as loss of power would result in a loss of pressure in the distribution system.

      An engineering analysis should be performed whenever a water distribution system is being modified or expanded to determine if emergency power is required for new or existing groundwater wells, reservoirs, booster pump stations and pressure reducing valve stations. The analysis should calculate the required minimum storage capacity for peak demand and fire flows and address the impact of system wide interruptions due to loss of power, major transmission pipeline ruptures and equipment failure.

    • The requirements are specified in the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's (ADEQ) Engineering Bulletin No. 10, "Guidelines for the Construction of Water Systems", Chapter 6, Section E.9.

      In addition to the installation of inverted 'U' type vents, MCESD also allows the use of recent designs such as 'chair' or cross-flow vents provided that these vents have an air flow direction change of 90 degrees in the horizontal plane prior to air entering/leaving the containment vessel.

      In all cases, vents shall have a 16-mesh corrosion resistant screen installed to prevent the ingress of birds and insects.

    • The requirements are specified in the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's (ADEQ) Engineering Bulletin No. 10, "Guidelines for the Construction of Water Systems" , Chapter 6, Section E.6.

      In addition to the installation of overflow piping with a 16-mesh corrosion resistant screen, MCESD also allows the use of alternative designs such as the use of counterweighted flapper valves or self-sealing valves that will open and close automatically when an overflow occurs.

      In all cases, overflows shall have a 16-mesh corrosion resistant screen installed or provide a mechanical means of sealing the overflow opening to prevent the ingress of birds and insects.

      If the overflow from a storage vessel is not connected to a sewer or storm water system, a suitable means of onsite containment must be included in the design. Onsite retention basins with riprap line channels and sides are typically used to contain an overflow and prevent erosion. Care should be taken in the design to insure that underground vaults and access points are not located in close proximity to overflow channels or retention basins.

    • The requirements are specified in the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's (ADEQ) Engineering Bulletin No. 10, "Guidelines for the Construction of Water Systems" , Chapter 6, Section E.8.

      Entry hatches shall be constructed with seals to prevent the entry of unsafe water, birds and insects into the containment vessel. Typical entry hatch designs include frames with integral curbs and frame overlapping covers with rubber or plastic seals.

    • Pump seal water shall only be discharged to a drinking water booster pump station wet well if the seal water is free of contaminants and of equal water quality to the water contained in the wet well. A drinking water pump utilizing plant service water for the pump seal water source cannot discharge the seal water into the wet well as this installation would be a cross connection between potable and non-potable water systems.

    • Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Bulletin No. 8, "Disinfection of Water Systems", specifies the methodology and requirements for the disinfection of new piping and equipment. Bulletin No. 8 also discusses disinfection using chlorination as well as safety measures and emergency disinfection procedures.

      In addition to the disinfection procedures specified in ADEQ Bulletin No. 8, the following American Water Works Association (AWWA) standards may be used:


      To verify effective disinfection, bacteriologic samples must be collected from the same locations at the time intervals and frequency specified by the above standards. The samples must be analyzed by a laboratory within 24 hours of collection of the sample. Samples should be maintained at or near 4°C until they are sent to the testing laboratory for testing.

      When the laboratory provides written confirmation of the absence of total coliform bacteria in all samples, the piping or equipment is considered to be disinfected. If any of the samples fail, the disinfection process shall be repeated per the above standards until the samples pass.

      Water shall not be sent to the distribution system until:

      • The piping or equipment has been disinfected.
      • Certified copies of the laboratory analysis reports have been submitted to the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program.
      • Written authorization (signed Approval Of Construction) approving the release of water to the distribution system has been received from the Subdivision, Infrastructure and Planning Program.

  • Wastewater Facilities and Systems
    • Yes in most cases. Maricopa County Environmental Health Code (MCEHC) Chapter I, Section 2, Regulation 5 states:

      • "For systems that treat, or which are designed to treat greater than 10,000 gallons/day, a standby power source shall be provided at all sewage treatment systems and/or pump stations where a temporary power failure may allow a discharge of raw or partially treated sewage. Standby power may be via a standby generator, separate feeders from separate substations, a loop feeder on separate transformers from a common substation, or a high-level alarm with portable generators. Standby power also shall be provided to any sewage treatment systems and/or pump stations, regardless of size, if a temporary power failure may allow a discharge into surface waters classified as 'Unique Waters', by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality."
      • This is also a requirement for obtaining a Type 4 General Aquifer Protection Permit for a sewer collection system as described in Arizona Administrative Code R18-9-E301.D.5f.

    • All wet wells, dry wells, basins, tanks and reservoirs require venting. Wet and dry wells require forced ventilation and basins, tanks and reservoirs require normal ventilation.

      Wet wells require 12 continuous air changes per hour or 60 intermittent air changes per hour based on the volume of the head space above the minimum sewage level. Dry wells require six continuous air changes per hour or 30 intermittent air changes per hour based on the volume of the dry well.

      Wet wells and dry wells are usually vented by force draft fans or blowers in combination with odor control devices located on the ventilation discharge from the wet or dry well. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Section 820 specifies that all continuous ventilation systems should be fitted with flow detection devices connected to an alarm system to indicate ventilation system failure.

      Basins, tanks and reservoirs are usually vented using inverted 'U' type, 'chair' or cross-flow vents using normal air currents.

      In all cases, vents shall have a 16-mesh corrosion resistant screen installed to prevent the ingress of birds and insects.

    • Overflows of wastewater must be contained and not allowed to spill onto the ground. A suitable means of onsite containment must be included in the design.

      Counterweighted flapper valves or self-sealing valves which open and close automatically when an overflow occurs must be installed on the end of the overflow discharge pipe to control odors and prevent the ingress of birds and insects.

  • Reclaimed Water Facilities and Systems
    • The minimum identification requirements are defined by Arizona Administrative Code (AAC) R18-9-601 through 603 for pipeline or open conveyance of reclaimed water.

      The color purple shall be used for identifying all valves and other equipment used for conveying reclaimed water. For pipelines the pipe must be marked on opposite sides with “CAUTION: RECLAIMED WATER LINE” labeling in intervals of three feet or less.

      Aboveground reclaimed water piping must be labeled per the preceding paragraph and colored purple or wrapped with durable purple tape. Underground piping must be identified with one of the following alternatives:

      • The pipe must be labeled per the preceding paragraph and colored purple or wrapped with durable purple tape.
      • Identification sleeving (pipe socks) made from an inert polyethylene plastic, 4 mils thick, purple in color with the words “CAUTION: RECLAIMED WATER LINE” or similar wording printed in 1-1/2" high black lettering continuously along the entire length may be installed on the pipe.
      • Identification tape made from inert polyethylene plastic, 4.0 mils thick and no less than 3" wide with the words “CAUTION: RECLAIMED WATER LINE” or similar wording printed in 1-1/2" high black lettering continuously along the entire length may be installed parallel to the centerline and on top of the pipe. The identification tape must be installed continuously for the entire length of the pipe and be securely fastened with plastic adhesive tape banded around both the pipe and the identification tape at no more than 4-foot intervals.

      MAG participants should reference Section 616 in the Maricopa Association of Government’s "Uniform Standard Specifications for Public Works Construction" for additional guidelines for installing reclaimed water piping and equipment.

    • Overflows of reclaimed water must be contained and not allowed to spill onto the ground. A suitable means of onsite containment must be included in the design.

      Counterweighted flapper valves or self-sealing valves which open and close automatically when an overflow occurs must be installed on the end of the overflow discharge pipe to prevent the ingress of birds and insects.

    • Reclaimed water shall not be discharged to a drywell (for example, a storm water retention basin drywell) unless an Aquifer Protection Permit has been obtained from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality permitting such disposal.

    • Reclaimed water can be discharged to a storm water retention basin, provided that the basin has vegetation. During a rain event reclaimed water cannot be discharged to the storm water retention basin if the basin discharges to the waters of the United States, unless an AZPDES permit approving such a discharge has been obtained from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

    • Reclaimed water, including reclaimed water mixed with surface water, ground water or rain water may not be discharged to the waters of the United States unless an AZPDES permit approving such a discharge has been obtained from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.