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Small Business and Environmental Compliance Requirements

Even for a small business operation, owner(s)/operator(s) of a business or facility, need to comply with all federal, state and local environmental regulations and requirements. The level and type of environmental compliance required would depend largely on the type of business that you operate. Generally, businesses that have more industrial related operations will have more environmental requirements than, say, an office operation. A good place to start would be to evaluate your environmental issues and impacts and then determine your compliance requirements.

Remember, even though the operation is a small business, the courts do not recognize ignorance of environmental laws and regulations as a valid legal defense. Listed below is some limited guidance and resources to help get you on the path to environmental compliance. This guidance is not intended to be legal or technical advice. To be certain, you should seek legal and technical advice from your own qualified environmental professionals.

Air Quality

Even small businesses have air emissions/equipment that may need permits. Hoods in laboratories, paint booths, and generators are just a few examples of potentially regulated air emission sources. Maricopa County Department of Air Quality is the agency responsible for air quality compliance and permits within Maricopa County. They do have an Air Quality Small Business Resource Program that can help you with your air quality compliance questions. They can be contacted at 602- 506-5102 or visit the Web site at


Depending upon the type of waste you generate, it may or may not be regulated. For example, a solid waste such as office paper is not regulated. An example of some wastes that are regulated could be mercury containing lights and various chemical-containing wastes. Many businesses are retrofitting to more efficient lighting.  For information on managing / disposal of old or broken lamps go to

The most regulated category of waste would be if the waste were considered “hazardous." Depending upon how much and what type of hazardous waste you generate will determine the level of compliance you will need to follow. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is a key resource and regulatory agency for many waste related questions/issues. They can be contacted at 602-771-2300 or visit the Web site at CLICK HERE for a helpful ADEQ document, "Managing Hazardous Waste, A Handbook for Small Business."

Water Discharges

At many facilities, water is discharged to various sources like sanitary sewers and storm drains. In the city of Glendale, depending upon what is discharged to the city sanitary sewer, you may need to obtain a permit from the City of Glendale Pretreatment Division. Discharges into the storm sewer(s) are also regulated and may need to be permitted. For more information on sanitary sewer discharges, contact the city of Glendale Pretreatment Program at 623-930-4779. For questions about storm water or pretreatment contact Lee Robinson at 623-930-4779 or email

Pollution Prevention/ Environmental Risk Reduction

One of the easiest and most cost efficient ways to minimize your environmental impacts, permits and liabilities etc. is to evaluate your business practices and see if you can eliminate discharges, hazardous wastes etc. An example that was done by many businesses occurred when they switched from using paints that contained chemicals deemed “hazardous” to non-hazardous chemical containing paints. This effort resulted in not only preventing hazardous waste pollution, but also a cost and risk reduction. Note, however, that prior to changing a process you should ensure the change does not affect the quality of your process/product(s). The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has detailed information on pollution prevention opportunities. For more information, contact the ADEQ Pollution Prevention Division by phone at 602-771-2300 or visit them online at

Any Other Small Business Environmental Compliance Questions?

If you have any other questions/comments, please contact Lee Robinson (city of Glendale) by phone at 623-930-4779 or email .




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