Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Environmental Guide for Local Governments

Local governments often own and have primary responsibility for wastewater and storm water systems, drinking water systems, and solid waste disposal services and systems, among other areas of environmental concern. Through planning and zoning actions, operational ordinances, and inspections, local governments also directly influence business development in their boundaries.

Local governments share a mutual responsibility toward sustainable development and protection of air, land, and water. Local governments can implement rules, regulations, or ordinances, but cannot enact regulations and ordinances that are inconsistent with state or federal rules, statutes, regulations, or permits. For this reason, it is advisable for local officials to be aware of state and federal rules, statutes, and regulations.

The Idaho Environmental Guide is a resource for local government officials to assist in managing a community's environmental responsibilities. The purpose of the guide is informational; it is not an all-encompassing summary of state and federal rules and regulations. It should be consulted before approving projects to understand the impacts to air, water, and/or land that could affect the health, welfare, and sustainability of the community.

Note: Planning and zoning is a local authority. DEQ plays a complementary role, but does not make land use decisions. Note that DEQ's approvals of activities under its regulatory authority are still subject to local planning and zoning restrictions, which may be more or less limiting. When projects overlap local boundaries or affect areas outside of a community's jurisdiction, coordination with the corresponding local government is encouraged. The Idaho Local Land Use Planning Act (I.C. § 67-6537), outlines requirements for local governing boards to collaborate and cooperate on projects.

Air Quality

Air pollution is any substance in the air that can cause harm to human health or welfare or the environment. Pollutants may be natural or humanmade and may take the form of solid particles, liquid droplets, or gases. Natural sources of air pollution include smoke from wildfires, dust, and even volcanic ash. Humanmade sources of air pollution include emissions from vehicles and factories; dust from unpaved roads, agriculture, or construction sites; and smoke from human-caused fires. Learn more.

Water Quality

Water is one of Idaho’s most important resources. Our rivers, lakes, and streams provide natural beauty and supply the water necessary for drinking, recreation, industry, agriculture, and aquatic life. Ground water is particularly important to Idahoans; 95% of our drinking water comes from ground water. Protecting Idaho’s water from contamination is vital to sustaining our quality of life. Learn more.

Waste Management and Remediation

DEQ monitors and controls the generation, treatment, storage, and disposal of wastes in Idaho. DEQ focuses on ensuring that wastes generated in or entering Idaho are managed and disposed in a manner protective of human health and the environment. On the remediation side, program resources are directed to responding to releases of hazardous substances to surface waters, ground water, or soils. Learn more.

Special Environmental Concerns

Certain activities may impact the environment and be cause for concern. Learn more about these issues and what to do in an emergency situation here.


Online resources provide access to information to help local governments create sustainable communities and protect Idaho's environment. Learn more.

Staff Contacts

Pollution Prevention and Continuous Improvement Lead
Ben Jarvis
DEQ State Office
Director's Office
1410 N. Hilton
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 373-0146

DEQ Regional Offices

DEQ Boise Regional Office
1445 N. Orchard St.
Boise, ID 83706
ph: (208) 373-0550
fx: (208) 373-0287
toll-free: (888) 800-3480

DEQ Coeur d'Alene Regional Office
2110 Ironwood Parkway
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
ph: (208) 769-1422
fx: (208) 769-1404
toll-free: (877) 370-0017

DEQ Idaho Falls Regional Office
900 N. Skyline Drive, Suite B
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
ph: (208) 528-2650
fx: (208) 528-2695
toll-free: (800) 232-4635

DEQ Lewiston Regional Office
1118 "F" St.
Lewiston, ID 83501
ph: (208) 799-4370
fx: (208) 799-3451
toll-free: (877) 541-3304

DEQ Pocatello Regional Office
444 Hospital Way, #300
Pocatello, ID 83201
ph: (208) 236-6160
fx: (208) 236-6168
toll-free: (888) 655-6160

DEQ Twin Falls Regional Office
650 Addison Avenue West, Suite 110
Twin Falls, ID 83301
ph: (208) 736-2190
fx: (208) 736-2194
toll-free: (800) 270-1663