Florida Senate - 2019 SB 286 By Senator Albritton 26-00655-19 2019286__ 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.; providing definitions; providing 5 legislative findings; establishing the Blue Star 6 Collection System Assessment and Maintenance Program 7 and providing its purpose; requiring the Department of 8 Environmental Protection to adopt rules and review and 9 approve program applications for certification; 10 specifying the documentation utilities must submit to 11 qualify for certification; providing for certification 12 expiration and renewal; requiring the department to 13 publish an annual list of certified blue star 14 utilities; requiring the department to allow public 15 and private, nonprofit utilities to participate in the 16 Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program under certain 17 conditions; authorizing the department to reduce 18 penalties for sanitary sewer overflows at certified 19 utilities and for investments in certain assessment 20 and maintenance activities; amending s. 403.067, F.S.; 21 creating a presumption of compliance for certain water 22 quality standards for certified utilities; amending s. 23 403.087, F.S.; requiring the department to issue 24 extended operating permits to certified utilities 25 under certain conditions; amending s. 403.161, F.S.; 26 authorizing the department to reduce penalties based 27 on certain system investments for permitted 28 facilities; amending s. 403.1838, F.S.; authorizing 29 additional recipients and uses of Small Community 30 Sewer Construction Assistance Act grants; providing an 31 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) “Domestic wastewater” has the same meaning as in s. 41 367.021. 42 (b) “Domestic wastewater collection system” has the same 43 meaning as in s. 403.866. 44 (c) “Program” means the Blue Star Collection System 45 Assessment and Maintenance Program. 46 (d) “Sanitary sewer overflow” means the unauthorized 47 overflow, spill, release, discharge, or diversion of untreated 48 or partially treated domestic wastewater. 49 (2) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.—The Legislature finds that: 50 (a) The implementation of domestic wastewater collection 51 system assessment and maintenance practices has been shown to 52 effectively limit sanitary sewer overflows and the unauthorized 53 discharge of pathogens. 54 (b) The voluntary implementation of domestic wastewater 55 collection system assessment and maintenance practices beyond 56 those required by law has the potential to further limit 57 sanitary sewer overflows. 58 (c) The unique geography, community, growth, size, and age 59 of domestic wastewater collection systems across the state 60 require diverse responses, using the best professional judgment 61 of local utility operators, to ensure that programs designed to 62 limit sanitary sewer overflows are effective. 63 (3) ESTABLISHMENT AND PURPOSE.—There is established in the 64 department a Blue Star Collection System Assessment and 65 Maintenance Program. The purpose of this voluntary incentive 66 program is to assist public and private utilities in limiting 67 sanitary sewer overflows and the unauthorized discharge of 68 pathogens. 69 (4) APPROVAL AND STANDARDS.— 70 (a) The department shall adopt rules to administer the 71 program, including the certification standards for the program 72 in paragraph (b), and shall review and approve public and 73 private domestic wastewater utilities that apply for 74 certification or renewal under the program and that demonstrate 75 maintenance of program certification pursuant to paragraph (c) 76 based upon the certification standards. 77 (b) A utility must provide reasonable documentation of the 78 following certification standards in order to be certified under 79 the program: 80 1. The implementation of periodic collection system and 81 pump station structural condition assessments and the 82 performance of as-needed maintenance and replacements. 83 2. The rate of reinvestment determined necessary by the 84 utility for its collection system and pump station structural 85 condition assessment and maintenance and replacement program. 86 3. The implementation of a program designed to limit the 87 presence of fats, roots, oils, and grease in the collection 88 system. 89 4. If the applicant is a public utility, a local law or 90 building code requiring the private pump stations and lateral 91 lines connecting to the public system to be free of: 92 a. Cracks, holes, missing parts, or similar defects; and 93 b. Direct stormwater connections that allow the direct 94 inflow of stormwater into the private system and the public 95 domestic wastewater collection system. 96 5. A power outage contingency plan that addresses 97 mitigation of the impacts of power outages on the utility’s 98 collection system and pump stations. 99 (c) Program certifications shall expire after 5 years. A 100 utility shall document its implementation of the program on an 101 annual basis with the department and must demonstrate that the 102 utility meets all program standards in order to maintain its 103 program certification. The approval of an application for 104 renewal certification must be based on the utility demonstrating 105 maintenance of program standards. A utility applying for renewal 106 certification must demonstrate maintenance of program standards 107 and progress in implementing the program. 108 (5) PUBLICATION.—The department shall annually publish on 109 its website a list of certified blue star utilities beginning on 110 January 1, 2021. 111 (6) FEDERAL PROGRAM PARTICIPATION.—The department shall 112 allow public and private, nonprofit utilities to participate in 113 the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program for any purpose of 114 the program that is consistent with federal requirements for 115 participating in the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program. 116 (7) REDUCED PENALTIES.—In the calculation of penalties 117 pursuant to s. 403.161 for a sanitary sewer overflow, the 118 department may reduce the penalty based on a utility’s status as 119 a certified blue star utility in accordance with this section. 120 The department may also reduce a penalty based on a certified 121 blue star utility’s investment in assessment and maintenance 122 activities to identify and address conditions that may cause 123 sanitary sewer overflows or interruption of service to customers 124 due to a physical condition or defect in the system. 125 Section 2. Paragraph (c) of subsection (7) of section 126 403.067, Florida Statutes, is amended to read: 127 403.067 Establishment and implementation of total maximum 128 daily loads.— 129 (7) DEVELOPMENT OF BASIN MANAGEMENT PLANS AND 130 IMPLEMENTATION OF TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOADS.— 131 (c) Best management practices.— 132 1. The department, in cooperation with the water management 133 districts and other interested parties, as appropriate, may 134 develop suitable interim measures, best management practices, or 135 other measures necessary to achieve the level of pollution 136 reduction established by the department for nonagricultural 137 nonpoint pollutant sources in allocations developed pursuant to 138 subsection (6) and this subsection. These practices and measures 139 may be adopted by rule by the department and the water 140 management districts and, where adopted by rule, shall be 141 implemented by those parties responsible for nonagricultural 142 nonpoint source pollution. 143 2. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may 144 develop and adopt by rule pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 145 suitable interim measures, best management practices, or other 146 measures necessary to achieve the level of pollution reduction 147 established by the department for agricultural pollutant sources 148 in allocations developed pursuant to subsection (6) and this 149 subsection or for programs implemented pursuant to paragraph 150 (12)(b). These practices and measures may be implemented by 151 those parties responsible for agricultural pollutant sources and 152 the department, the water management districts, and the 153 Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall assist 154 with implementation. In the process of developing and adopting 155 rules for interim measures, best management practices, or other 156 measures, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services 157 shall consult with the department, the Department of Health, the 158 water management districts, representatives from affected 159 farming groups, and environmental group representatives. Such 160 rules must also incorporate provisions for a notice of intent to 161 implement the practices and a system to assure the 162 implementation of the practices, including site inspection and 163 recordkeeping requirements. 164 3. Where interim measures, best management practices, or 165 other measures are adopted by rule, the effectiveness of such 166 practices in achieving the levels of pollution reduction 167 established in allocations developed by the department pursuant 168 to subsection (6) and this subsection or in programs implemented 169 pursuant to paragraph (12)(b) must be verified at representative 170 sites by the department. The department shall use best 171 professional judgment in making the initial verification that 172 the best management practices are reasonably expected to be 173 effective and, where applicable, must notify the appropriate 174 water management district or the Department of Agriculture and 175 Consumer Services of its initial verification before the 176 adoption of a rule proposed pursuant to this paragraph. 177 Implementation, in accordance with rules adopted under this 178 paragraph, of practices that have been initially verified to be 179 effective, or verified to be effective by monitoring at 180 representative sites, by the department, shall provide a 181 presumption of compliance with state water quality standards and 182 release from the provisions of s. 376.307(5) for those 183 pollutants addressed by the practices, and the department is not 184 authorized to institute proceedings against the owner of the 185 source of pollution to recover costs or damages associated with 186 the contamination of surface water or groundwater caused by 187 those pollutants. Research projects funded by the department, a 188 water management district, or the Department of Agriculture and 189 Consumer Services to develop or demonstrate interim measures or 190 best management practices shall be granted a presumption of 191 compliance with state water quality standards and a release from 192 the provisions of s. 376.307(5). The presumption of compliance 193 and release is limited to the research site and only for those 194 pollutants addressed by the interim measures or best management 195 practices. Eligibility for the presumption of compliance and 196 release is limited to research projects on sites where the owner 197 or operator of the research site and the department, a water 198 management district, or the Department of Agriculture and 199 Consumer Services have entered into a contract or other 200 agreement that, at a minimum, specifies the research objectives, 201 the cost-share responsibilities of the parties, and a schedule 202 that details the beginning and ending dates of the project. 203 4. When
wherewater quality problems are demonstrated, 204 despite the appropriate implementation, operation, and 205 maintenance of best management practices and other measures 206 required by rules adopted under this paragraph, the department, 207 a water management district, or the Department of Agriculture 208 and Consumer Services, in consultation with the department, 209 shall institute a reevaluation of the best management practice 210 or other measure. Should the reevaluation determine that the 211 best management practice or other measure requires modification, 212 the department, a water management district, or the Department 213 of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as appropriate, shall 214 revise the rule to require implementation of the modified 215 practice within a reasonable time period as specified in the 216 rule. 217 5. Agricultural records relating to processes or methods of 218 production, costs of production, profits, or other financial 219 information held by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer 220 Services pursuant to subparagraphs 3. and 4. or pursuant to any 221 rule adopted pursuant to subparagraph 2. are confidential and 222 exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State 223 Constitution. Upon request, records made confidential and exempt 224 pursuant to this subparagraph shall be released to the 225 department or any water management district provided that the 226 confidentiality specified by this subparagraph for such records 227 is maintained. 228 6. The provisions ofSubparagraphs 1. and 2. do not 229 preclude the department or water management district from 230 requiring compliance with water quality standards or with 231 current best management practice requirements set forth in any 232 applicable regulatory program authorized by law for the purpose 233 of protecting water quality. Additionally, subparagraphs 1. and 234 2. are applicable only to the extent that they do not conflict 235 with any rules adopted by the department that are necessary to 236 maintain a federally delegated or approved program. 237 7. The department must provide a domestic wastewater 238 utility with a presumption of compliance with state water 239 quality standards for pathogens when the utility demonstrates a 240 history of compliance with wastewater disinfection requirements 241 incorporated in the utility’s operating permit for any discharge 242 into the impaired surface water, and the utility implements and 243 maintains a program as a certified blue star utility in 244 accordance with s. 403.1839. 245 Section 3. Subsection (11) is added to section 403.087, 246 Florida Statutes, to read: 247 403.087 Permits; general issuance; denial; revocation; 248 prohibition; penalty.— 249 (11) Subject to the permit duration limits for a utility 250 permitted pursuant to s. 403.0885, a blue star utility certified 251 pursuant to s. 403.1839 shall be issued a 10-year permit for the 252 same fee and under the same conditions as a 5-year permit upon 253 approval of its application for permit renewal by the department 254 if the certified blue star utility demonstrates that it: 255 (a) Is in compliance with any consent order or an 256 accompanying administrative order to its permit; 257 (b) Does not have any pending enforcement action against it 258 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the 259 department, or a local program; and 260 (c) If applicable, has submitted annual program 261 implementation reports demonstrating progress in the 262 implementation of the program. 263 Section 4. Present subsection (6) of section 403.161, 264 Florida Statutes, is renumbered as subsection (7), and a new 265 subsection (6) is added to that section, to read: 266 403.161 Prohibitions, violation, penalty, intent.— 267 (6) Notwithstanding any other law, the department may 268 reduce the amount of a penalty based on the person’s investment 269 in the assessment, maintenance, rehabilitation, or expansion of 270 the permitted facility. 271 Section 5. Subsection (2) and paragraphs (a) and (b) of 272 subsection (3) of section 403.1838, Florida Statutes, are 273 amended to read: 274 403.1838 Small Community Sewer Construction Assistance 275 Act.— 276 (2) The department shall use funds specifically 277 appropriated to award grants under this section to assist 278 financially disadvantaged small communities with their needs for 279 adequate sewer facilities. The department may use funds 280 specifically appropriated to award grants under this section to 281 assist private, nonprofit utilities providing wastewater 282 services to financially disadvantaged small communities. For 283 purposes of this section, the term “financially disadvantaged 284 small community” means a county, municipality, or special 285 district that has a population of 10,000 or fewer, according to 286 the latest decennial census, and a per capita annual income less 287 than the state per capita annual income as determined by the 288 United States Department of Commerce. For purposes of this 289 subsection, the term “special district” has the same meaning as 290 provided in s. 189.012 and includes only those special districts 291 whose public purpose includes water and sewer services, utility 292 systems and services, or wastewater systems and services. The 293 department may waive the population requirement for an 294 independent special district that serves fewer than 10,000 295 wastewater customers, is located within a watershed with an 296 adopted total maximum daily load or basin management action plan 297 for pollutants associated with domestic wastewater pursuant to 298 s. 403.067, and is wholly located within a rural area of 299 opportunity as defined in s. 288.0656. 300 (3)(a) In accordance with rules adopted by the 301 Environmental Regulation Commission under this section, the 302 department may provide grants, from funds specifically 303 appropriated for this purpose, to financially disadvantaged 304 small communities and to private, nonprofit utilities serving 305 financially disadvantaged small communities for up to 100 306 percent of the costs of planning, assessing, designing, 307 constructing, upgrading, or replacing wastewater collection, 308 transmission, treatment, disposal, and reuse facilities, 309 including necessary legal and administrative expenses. Grants 310 issued pursuant to this section may also be used for planning 311 and implementing domestic wastewater collection system 312 assessment and maintenance programs to identify conditions that 313 may cause sanitary sewer overflows or interruption of service to 314 customers due to a physical condition or defect in the system. 315 (b) The rules of the Environmental Regulation Commission 316 must: 317 1. Require that projects to plan, assess, design, 318 construct, upgrade, or replace wastewater collection, 319 transmission, treatment, disposal, and reuse facilities be cost 320 effective, environmentally sound, permittable, and 321 implementable. 322 2. Require appropriate user charges, connection fees, and 323 other charges sufficient to ensure the long-term operation, 324 maintenance, and replacement of the facilities constructed under 325 each grant. 326 3. Require grant applications to be submitted on 327 appropriate forms with appropriate supporting documentation, and 328 require records to be maintained. 329 4. Establish a system to determine eligibility of grant 330 applications. 331 5. Establish a system to determine the relative priority of 332 grant applications. The system must consider public health 333 protection and water pollution abatement. 334 6. Establish requirements for competitive procurement of 335 engineering and construction services, materials, and equipment. 336 7. Provide for termination of grants when program 337 requirements are not met. 338 Section 6. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.