Frequently Asked Questions

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General QuestionsAir Quality QuestionsWaste Management
Water Quality Questions

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What does PDEQ do?

Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) is a regulatory agency whose job is to enforce state and federal laws regarding Pima County's water, waste and air quality. In addition, PDEQ operates and maintains Pima County's solid waste landfills and transfer stations. PDEQ increases public awareness of environmental issues through its public education and outreach programs.

What is the difference between PDEQ and the EPA?

Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) administers state laws and regulations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers federal laws and regulations, but delegates much of its enforcement authority in Arizona to PDEQ and Arizona Department or Environmental Quality (ADEQ).

How does PDEQ work with business and industry?

The Business Assistance Program offers assistance to businesses in complying with local, state and federal hazardous materials, waste and air quality regulations. We offer assistance in these areas:

• Permitting Services 
• Compliance Assistance
• Regulatory Support

The Small Business Waste Assistance Program, part of the Tucson/Pima County Household Hazardous Waste Program, provides an environmentally safe alternative for some businesses to dispose of small amounts of commercial hazardous waste.

How can I report someone who I think is illegally polluting? 

To file a complaint either call (520) 724-7400 and ask to speak to a Complaint Coordinator, or fill out our online complaint form.

How can I find out the status of a project that's in the review process?

Because each project is unique, the timeline for completion varies. To get the status of your particular project contact the Business Assistance Program at (520) 724-7400.


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  Air Quality

What is the largest contributor to air pollution?

Approximately 60% of Pima County's air pollution is caused by motor vehicle usage. 

How can I improve the air quality in my community?

There are many ways to improve air quality. Instead of driving alone, try carpooling, walking, riding your bike and taking the bus. See 26 Ways to Healthy Air for more tips.

How do I manage asbestos in my house or apartment building?

Even if asbestos is in your home, this is usually NOT a serious problem. The mere presence of asbestos in a home or a building is not hazardous. The danger is that asbestos materials may become damaged over time. Damaged asbestos may release asbestos fibers and become a health hazard.

THE BEST THING TO DO WITH ASBESTOS MATERIAL IN GOOD CONDITION IS TO LEAVE IT ALONE! Disturbing it may create a health hazard where none existed before. Read the Asbestos in the Home before you have any asbestos material inspected, removed, or repaired.

How can find current air pollution information?

Local up-to-the-hour air pollution levels are available for eastern Pima County at (520) 882-4AIR and for use by the public to reduce their exposure when levels are elevated.

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  Waste Management

What are the hours and locations of landfills and transfer stations located in Pima County?

Call Tucson Recycling and Waste Services at (520) 623-7300 or visit

What does Pima County DEQ do to reduce illegal dumping?

Staff investigate all complaints regarding illegal dumping (wildcat dumping). Staff performs routine surveillance of private and public lands throughout Pima County that are frequent dump sites. Staff will obtain evidence, issue citations to responsible parties, and ensure proper disposal of the solid wastes. Once a month, staff supervises Adult Probation Workers during the cleaning of public land of "wildcat" solid waste. Staff also coordinates neighborhood clean-ups with community leaders and neighborhood groups.

How can I report illegal dumping?

• Report illegal dumps by calling 622-5800 (available 24 hours a day)
• Report illegal dumps from this site by going to the COMPLAINTS page and submitting a complaint
NEVER approach an illegal dumper
• If you see illegal dumping activity, REPORT IT immediately - call 622-5800. (Try to get a license number, vehicle description, or other identifying information.)

What are hazardous wastes?

A waste is any solid, liquid, or contained gaseous material that is discarded by being disposed of, burned or incinerated, or recycled. (There are some exceptions for recycled materials.) It can be the by-product of a manufacturing process or simply a commercial product that you use in your business-- such as a cleaning fluid or battery acid-- that is being disposed. Even materials that are recyclable or can be reused in some way-- such as burning used oil for fuel-- may be considered waste. 

How do I know if waste is hazardous or just garbage?

Read the label. In many cases, a hazardous material will be indicated by a Caution, Warning, or Danger heading. (For example, a pesticide might say Warning: Poison.)

How do I know if my small business is generating hazardous waste?

A waste is hazardous if it demonstrates one or more of the following characteristics:

• Ignitable. Ignitable wastes can create fires under certain conditions. Examples are paints and certain degreasers and solvents.
• Corrosive. Corrosive wastes are those that corrode metals or have a very low pH. Examples are rust removers, acid or alkaline cleaning fluids, and battery acid.
• Reactive. Reactive wastes are unstable under normal conditions. They can create explosions and/or toxic fumes, gases, and vapors when mixed with water or under other conditions, such as heat or pressure. Examples are certain cyanides or sulfide-bearing wastes.
• Toxic. Toxic wastes are harmful or fatal when ingested or absorbed; or they leach toxic chemicals into the soil or ground water when disposed of on land. Examples are wastes that contain high concentrations of heavy metals, such as cadmium, lead, or mercury. Additionally, a mixture of hazardous waste with solid waste (e.g., motor oil, trash, debris) may become a hazardous waste.

What are the hours of operation and materials accepted by Household Hazardous Waste Program? Where are they located?

The main site is open every Friday & Saturday  8 AM TO 12 noon  
Address:  2440 West Sweetwater Drive.
Directions:   I -10 to Prince Rd., west to Business Center Dr., north to River Park Dr. and turn left, then right on Commerce Dr., left on Access Dr. and right on Sweetwater Dr. or once at Business Center Dr., follow the white and teal signs.

For a list of the materials accepted, look at the HHW page.


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Water Quality

Where do I report someone who I think is illegally dumping into our streams?

To file a complaint either call (520) 724-7400 and ask to speak to a Complaint Coordinator, or fill out our online complaint form.

Who do I contact if I need to drill a well?

Arizona Department of Water Resources has authority for well drilling in Pima County. Before you drill, contact them at 400 W. Congress Suite 518 or phone (520) 770-3800 for more information.
















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