Florida Senate - 2017 SB 1476 By Senator Brandes 24-01133A-17 20171476__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to domestic wastewater collection 3 system assessment and maintenance; creating s. 4 403.1839, F.S.; defining the terms “commission” and 5 “program”; providing legislative findings; 6 establishing the blue star collection system 7 assessment and maintenance program and providing its 8 purpose; requiring the Department of Environmental 9 Protection to review and approve program applications 10 for certification; requiring the Environmental 11 Regulation Commission to adopt certification standards 12 for the program; specifying the documentation a 13 utility must submit to qualify; authorizing the 14 department to waive certain requirements for utilities 15 for certain smaller populations; providing for 16 certification expiration and renewal; requiring the 17 department to publish an annual list of certified blue 18 star utilities; requiring the department to allow 19 public and not-for-profit utilities to participate in 20 the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program; allowing 21 for the reduction of penalties and reinvestment of 22 penalties for sewer overflow for certified utilities; 23 amending section s. 403.067, F.S.; creating a 24 presumption of compliance for certain total maximum 25 daily load requirements for certified utilities; 26 amending section s. 403.087, F.S.; requiring the 27 department to provide extended operating permits when 28 a certified utility applies for permit renewal; 29 amending s. 403.1838, F.S.; allowing for additional 30 recipients and uses of Small Community Sewer 31 Construction grants; providing an effective date. 32 33 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 34 35 Section 1. Section 403.1839, Florida Statutes, is created 36 to read: 37 403.1839 Blue star collection system assessment and 38 maintenance program.— 39 (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term: 40 (a) “Commission” means the Environmental Regulation 41 Commission. 42 (b) “Program” means the blue star collection system 43 assessment and maintenance program. 44 (2) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.—The Legislature finds that the 45 implementation of sewer collection system assessment and 46 maintenance practices has been shown to effectively limit the 47 unauthorized releases or spills of treated or untreated domestic 48 wastewater, generally referred to as sanitary sewer overflows, 49 and the unauthorized discharge of pathogens. The disparate 50 nature of inputs into a collection system, third-party 51 activities, severe storm events, and other factors beyond the 52 reasonable control of the utility operator make it infeasible to 53 completely eliminate sewer overflows. However, the voluntary 54 implementation of advanced sewer collection system assessment 55 and maintenance practices beyond those required by law has the 56 potential to further limit sanitary sewer overflows. The unique 57 geography, community, growth, and size and age of sewer 58 collection systems across the state require diverse responses, 59 using the best professional judgment of local utility operators, 60 to ensure that programs designed to limit sanitary sewer 61 overflows are effective. 62 (3) ESTABLISHMENT AND PURPOSE.—There is established in the 63 department a blue star collection system assessment and 64 maintenance program. The purpose of this voluntary incentive 65 program is to assist public and private utilities in limiting 66 sanitary sewer overflows and the unauthorized discharge of 67 pathogens. 68 (4) APPROVAL AND STANDARDS.— 69 (a) The department shall review and approve public and 70 private sewer utilities applying for certification under the 71 program based upon the certification standards adopted by the 72 commission. 73 (b) The commission shall adopt certification standards for 74 the program. A utility must provide reasonable documentation of 75 the following in order to be certified under the program: 76 1. The rate of reinvestment determined necessary by the 77 utility for its collection system and pump station structural 78 condition assessment and maintenance and replacement program. 79 2. A periodic collection system and pump station structural 80 condition assessment program and the performance of as-needed 81 maintenance and replacements. 82 3. A program designed to limit the presence of fats, roots, 83 oils, and grease in the collection system. 84 4. If the applicant is a public utility, a local law or 85 building code requiring the private pump stations and lateral 86 lines connecting to the public system to be free of: 87 a. Cracks, holes, missing parts, or similar defects; and 88 b. Direct stormwater connections that allow the direct 89 inflow of stormwater into the private system and the public 90 domestic wastewater collection system. 91 92 The department may waive one or more of these requirements for a 93 utility that regularly serves a population of 10,000 or less if 94 the utility adequately demonstrates to the department that its 95 assessment and maintenance activities achieve the goals of the 96 blue star collection system assessment and maintenance program. 97 The utility may cite assessment projects funded pursuant to a 98 grant under s. 403.1838 as evidence of such achievement. 99 (5) EXPIRATION AND RENEWAL.—Program certifications shall 100 expire after 10 years. A utility applying for renewal must meet 101 all program criteria existing at the time of its application for 102 renewal in order to maintain its program certification. 103 (6) PUBLICATION.—The department shall annually publish on 104 its website a list of certified blue star utilities beginning on 105 January 1, 2018. 106 (7) FEDERAL PROGRAM PARTICIPATION.—The department shall 107 allow public and not-for-profit private utilities to participate 108 in the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program for any purpose 109 consistent with federal law, including to plan and implement 110 sanitary sewer assessment programs to identify conditions that 111 may cause unauthorized releases or spills of treated or 112 untreated domestic wastewater, pipe leakage, or interruption of 113 service to customers due to a physical condition or defect in 114 the system, as well as any assessment, maintenance, or 115 construction activities associated with becoming certified or 116 maintaining status as a certified blue star utility in 117 accordance with this section. 118 (8) REDUCED PENALTIES.—In the calculation of penalties 119 pursuant to s. 403.161 for a sanitary sewer overflow, the 120 department is authorized to reduce the penalty based on a 121 utility’s status as a certified blue star utility in accordance 122 with this section. The department is authorized to allow any 123 certified blue star utility to apply the amount of a penalty 124 toward investment in assessment and maintenance activities to 125 identify and address conditions that may cause unauthorized 126 releases or spills of treated or untreated domestic wastewater, 127 pipe leakage, or interruption of service to customers due to a 128 physical condition defect in the system. 129 Section 2. Paragraph (c) of subsection (7) of section 130 403.067, Florida Statutes, is amended to read: 131 403.067 Establishment and implementation of total maximum 132 daily loads.— 133 (7) DEVELOPMENT OF BASIN MANAGEMENT PLANS AND 134 IMPLEMENTATION OF TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOADS.— 135 (c) Best management practices.— 136 1. The department, in cooperation with the water management 137 districts and other interested parties, as appropriate, may 138 develop suitable interim measures, best management practices, or 139 other measures necessary to achieve the level of pollution 140 reduction established by the department for nonagricultural 141 nonpoint pollutant sources in allocations developed pursuant to 142 subsection (6) and this subsection. These practices and measures 143 may be adopted by rule by the department and the water 144 management districts and, where adopted by rule, shall be 145 implemented by those parties responsible for nonagricultural 146 nonpoint source pollution. 147 2. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may 148 develop and adopt by rule pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 149 suitable interim measures, best management practices, or other 150 measures necessary to achieve the level of pollution reduction 151 established by the department for agricultural pollutant sources 152 in allocations developed pursuant to subsection (6) and this 153 subsection or for programs implemented pursuant to paragraph 154 (12)(b). These practices and measures may be implemented by 155 those parties responsible for agricultural pollutant sources and 156 the department, the water management districts, and the 157 Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall assist 158 with implementation. In the process of developing and adopting 159 rules for interim measures, best management practices, or other 160 measures, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services 161 shall consult with the department, the Department of Health, the 162 water management districts, representatives from affected 163 farming groups, and environmental group representatives. Such 164 rules must also incorporate provisions for a notice of intent to 165 implement the practices and a system to assure the 166 implementation of the practices, including site inspection and 167 recordkeeping requirements. 168 3. Where interim measures, best management practices, or 169 other measures are adopted by rule, the effectiveness of such 170 practices in achieving the levels of pollution reduction 171 established in allocations developed by the department pursuant 172 to subsection (6) and this subsection or in programs implemented 173 pursuant to paragraph (12)(b) must be verified at representative 174 sites by the department. The department shall use best 175 professional judgment in making the initial verification that 176 the best management practices are reasonably expected to be 177 effective and, where applicable, must notify the appropriate 178 water management district or the Department of Agriculture and 179 Consumer Services of its initial verification before the 180 adoption of a rule proposed pursuant to this paragraph. 181 Implementation, in accordance with rules adopted under this 182 paragraph, of practices that have been initially verified to be 183 effective, or verified to be effective by monitoring at 184 representative sites, by the department, shall provide a 185 presumption of compliance with state water quality standards and 186 release from the provisions of s. 376.307(5) for those 187 pollutants addressed by the practices, and the department is not 188 authorized to institute proceedings against the owner of the 189 source of pollution to recover costs or damages associated with 190 the contamination of surface water or groundwater caused by 191 those pollutants. Research projects funded by the department, a 192 water management district, or the Department of Agriculture and 193 Consumer Services to develop or demonstrate interim measures or 194 best management practices shall be granted a presumption of 195 compliance with state water quality standards and a release from 196 the provisions of s. 376.307(5). The presumption of compliance 197 and release is limited to the research site and only for those 198 pollutants addressed by the interim measures or best management 199 practices. Eligibility for the presumption of compliance and 200 release is limited to research projects on sites where the owner 201 or operator of the research site and the department, a water 202 management district, or the Department of Agriculture and 203 Consumer Services have entered into a contract or other 204 agreement that, at a minimum, specifies the research objectives, 205 the cost-share responsibilities of the parties, and a schedule 206 that details the beginning and ending dates of the project. 207 4. Where water quality problems are demonstrated, despite 208 the appropriate implementation, operation, and maintenance of 209 best management practices and other measures required by rules 210 adopted under this paragraph, the department, a water management 211 district, or the Department of Agriculture and Consumer 212 Services, in consultation with the department, shall institute a 213 reevaluation of the best management practice or other measure. 214 Should the reevaluation determine that the best management 215 practice or other measure requires modification, the department, 216 a water management district, or the Department of Agriculture 217 and Consumer Services, as appropriate, shall revise the rule to 218 require implementation of the modified practice within a 219 reasonable time period as specified in the rule. 220 5. Agricultural records relating to processes or methods of 221 production, costs of production, profits, or other financial 222 information held by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer 223 Services pursuant to subparagraphs 3. and 4. or pursuant to any 224 rule adopted pursuant to subparagraph 2. are confidential and 225 exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State 226 Constitution. Upon request, records made confidential and exempt 227 pursuant to this subparagraph shall be released to the 228 department or any water management district provided that the 229 confidentiality specified by this subparagraph for such records 230 is maintained. 231 6. The provisions of subparagraphs 1. and 2. do not 232 preclude the department or water management district from 233 requiring compliance with water quality standards or with 234 current best management practice requirements set forth in any 235 applicable regulatory program authorized by law for the purpose 236 of protecting water quality. Additionally, subparagraphs 1. and 237 2. are applicable only to the extent that they do not conflict 238 with any rules adopted by the department that are necessary to 239 maintain a federally delegated or approved program. 240 7. The department must provide a domestic wastewater 241 utility with a presumption of compliance with state water 242 quality standards for pathogens when the utility demonstrates a 243 history of compliance with wastewater disinfection requirements 244 incorporated in the utility’s operating permit for any discharge 245 into the impaired surface water and is a certified blue star 246 utility in accordance with s. 403.1839. 247 Section 3. Subsection (11) is added to section 403.087, 248 Florida Statutes, to read: 249 403.087 Permits; general issuance; denial; revocation; 250 prohibition; penalty.— 251 (4) A blue star utility certified pursuant to s. 403.1839 252 shall be issued a 10-year permit upon approval of its 253 application for renewal by the department in accordance with 254 this section. 255 Section 4. Subsection (3) of section 403.1838, Florida 256 Statutes, is amended to read: 257 403.1838 Small Community Sewer Construction Assistance 258 Act.— 259 (3)(a) In accordance with rules adopted by the 260 Environmental Regulation Commission under this section, the 261 department may provide grants, from funds specifically 262 appropriated for this purpose, to financially disadvantaged 263 small communities and to private, not-for-profit utilities 264 serving financially disadvantaged small communities for up to 265 100 percent of the costs of planning, assessing, designing, 266 constructing, upgrading, or replacing wastewater collection, 267 transmission, treatment, disposal, and reuse facilities, 268 including necessary legal and administrative expenses. Grants 269 issued pursuant to this section may also be used for planning 270 and implementing sanitary sewer assessment programs to identify 271 conditions that may cause unauthorized releases or spills of 272 treated or untreated domestic wastewater, pipe leakage, or 273 interruption of service to customers due to a physical condition 274 or defect in the system. 275 (b) The rules of the Environmental Regulation Commission 276 must: 277 1. Require that projects to plan, assess, design, 278 construct, upgrade, or replace wastewater collection, 279 transmission, treatment, disposal, and reuse facilities be cost 280 effective, environmentally sound, permittable, and 281 implementable. 282 2. Require appropriate user charges, connection fees, and 283 other charges sufficient to ensure the long-term operation, 284 maintenance, and replacement of the facilities constructed under 285 each grant. 286 3. Require grant applications to be submitted on 287 appropriate forms with appropriate supporting documentation, and 288 require records to be maintained. 289 4. Establish a system to determine eligibility of grant 290 applications. 291 5. Establish a system to determine the relative priority of 292 grant applications. The system must consider public health 293 protection and water pollution abatement. 294 6. Establish requirements for competitive procurement of 295 engineering and construction services, materials, and equipment. 296 7. Provide for termination of grants when program 297 requirements are not met. 298 Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.