MAG 208 Certification

What is the MAG 208 Planning Process?


The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) 208 planning process is an area wide water quality management plan for pollution control. As such, it directly impacts and is integral to the approval process for wastewater treatment facilities.

The process is explained in the October 2002 MAG 208 Water Quality Management Plan (PDF) on Page ES-1 in detail as follows.

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, 1977, and 1987 (Clean Water Act) require, under Section 208, that states develop and implement area wide water quality management plans for pollution control. Plans prepared to meet the requirements of Section 208 must:
  • Establish a regulatory program to implement the plan
  • Identify an implementation plan;
  • Identify mine-related sources of pollution, construction activity-related sources of pollution, and salt water intrusion into fresh waters;
  • Identify non-point sources of pollution;
  • Identify a process to control disposal of pollutants on land or in subsurface excavations.
  • Identify a process to control residual waste disposal; and
  • Identify the treatment works needed to meet anticipated municipal and industrial waste treatment needs of the area over a 20-year period, including construction priorities and schedules;
The '208 planning process' provides an opportunity for a designated area to identify its specific area wide waste treatment and water quality management problems and set forth a management program to alleviate those problems. The MAG has been designated as the area wide water quality management planning agency for the Maricopa County area.

The MAG 208 Water Quality Management Plan lists 2 methods for the incorporation of a wastewater treatment facility into the plan:
  • The MAG 208 Amendment Process
  • The MAG 208 Small Plant Review Process
These 2 plan modification processes are detailed in the MAG 208 Water Quality Management Plan (PDF).

Why is a MAG 208 Certification Required?


MAG 208 certification is designed to address 2 key issues related to wastewater treatment plants:
  • Wastewater treatment plants are point sources of pollution impacting the local environment
  • Wastewater treatment plants are regional infrastructure components
In regards to being a point source of pollution, the MAG 208 Water Quality Management Plan (PDF). states: The major effort of this 208 Plan Revision was in the Point Source Plan. Point source planning is primarily directed at compiling the preferred wastewater collection and treatment system for the Maricopa County area through the year 2020. Toward this end, the Point Source Plan examines population and wastewater flow projections, treatment methods, effluent disposal, reclaimed water reuse, and sludge management.

In regards to the regional infrastructure issue, the MAG 208 Water Quality Management Plan. states: By requiring proposed plants in the area to obtain approval using this formal process, an uncontrolled proliferation of small plants that could cause problems in the future should be prevented. The communities adopted a small plant process goal of allowing the cities and towns the maximum level of control in the approval of small plants. The County must consider the comments of the nearby city or town concerning proposed small plant facilities within 3 miles of their borders.

The MAG 208 Water Quality Management Plan (PDF). addresses these issues and other planning issues in detail.

When is a MAG 208 Certification Required?


MAG 208 certification is designed to address 2 key issues related to wastewater treatment plants. The MAG 208 Water Quality Management Plan (PDF) identifies the following types of wastewater treatment plants as requiring approval:
  • Plants greater than 2.0 million gallons per day and those with a discharge requiring an NPDES permit or AZPDES permit which are not specifically identified in the MAG 208 Plan would be required to go through a formal 208 analysis or amendment.
  • A small plant is a reclamation plant with an ultimate capacity of 2.0 million gallons per day (mgd) or less with no discharge requiring an NPDES or AZPDES permit.
Additional information about the review and approval process can be found in the MAG 208 Water Quality Management Plan (PDF).

Who Sponsors MAG 208 Plan Amendments?


MAG 208 plan amendments are sponsored by the city or town in whose planning area the wastewater treatment plant is located. If the plant is located in an unincorporated area of the County, then the plan amendment is sponsored by Maricopa County.