The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is now accepting Water Quality Improvement Grant applications as the first step in a process to allocate $1.8 million for projects to improve water quality throughout Arizona.

Each year, ADEQ allocates funding to public and private entities in Arizona through its Water Quality Improvement Grant Program to implement an “on-the-ground” project to improve and protect water quality in Arizona by addressing a non-point source of water pollution.

Non-point source pollution is the nation’s largest source of water quality problems and occurs when rainfall or runoff picks up pollutants and deposits them in rivers, lakes, or other groundwater sources, ADEQ said.

“The Water Quality Improvement Grants provide much-needed funding at the local level to implement creative approaches to protect and improve watersheds,” ADEQ Director Steve Owens said. “These funds help us keep Arizona's precious water resources clean and safe.”

The Water Quality Improvement Grants are provided by ADEQ using federal funds received by the department under the federal Clean Water Act.

For more information, call ADEQ at (602) 771-4635. Application forms are available online at www.azdeq.gov/environ/water/watershed/fin.html.