Florida Senate - 2012                       CS for CS for SB 820
       By the Committees on Health Regulation; and Environmental
       Preservation and Conservation; and Senator Dean
       588-02712A-12                                          2012820c2
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to onsite sewage treatment and
    3         disposal systems; amending s. 381.0065, F.S.; deleting
    4         legislative intent; defining the term “bedroom”;
    5         conforming cross-references; providing for any permit
    6         issued and approved by the Department of Health for
    7         the installation, modification, or repair of an onsite
    8         sewage treatment and disposal system to transfer with
    9         the title of the property; providing circumstances in
   10         which an onsite sewage treatment and disposal system
   11         is not considered abandoned; providing for the
   12         validity of an onsite sewage treatment and disposal
   13         system permit if rules change before final approval of
   14         the constructed system, under certain conditions;
   15         providing that a system modification, replacement, or
   16         upgrade is not required unless a bedroom is added to a
   17         single-family home; deleting provisions requiring the
   18         department to administer an evaluation and assessment
   19         program of onsite sewage treatment and disposal
   20         systems and requiring property owners to have such
   21         systems evaluated at least once every 5 years;
   22         deleting obsolete provisions; creating s. 381.00651,
   23         F.S.; requiring a county or municipality containing a
   24         first magnitude spring to adopt by ordinance, under
   25         certain circumstances, the program for the periodic
   26         evaluation and assessment of onsite sewage treatment
   27         and disposal systems; requiring the county or
   28         municipality to notify the Secretary of State of the
   29         ordinance; authorizing a county or municipality, in
   30         specified circumstances, to opt out by a majority plus
   31         one vote of certain requirements by a specified date;
   32         authorizing a county or municipality to adopt or
   33         repeal, after a specified date, an ordinance creating
   34         an evaluation and assessment program, subject to
   35         notification of the Secretary of State; providing
   36         criteria for evaluations, qualified contractors, and
   37         repair of systems; providing for certain procedures
   38         and exemptions in special circumstances; defining the
   39         term “system failure”; requiring that certain
   40         procedures be used for conducting tank and drainfield
   41         evaluations; providing for certain procedures in
   42         special circumstances; providing for contractor
   43         immunity from liability under certain conditions;
   44         providing for assessment procedures; providing
   45         requirements for county health departments; requiring
   46         the Department of Health to allow county health
   47         departments and qualified contractors to access the
   48         state database to track data and evaluation reports;
   49         requiring counties and municipalities to notify the
   50         Secretary of Environmental Protection and the
   51         Department of Health when an evaluation program
   52         ordinance is adopted; requiring the Department of
   53         Environmental Protection to notify those counties or
   54         municipalities of the use of, and access to, certain
   55         state and federal program funds and to provide certain
   56         guidance and technical assistance upon request;
   57         prohibiting the adoption of certain rules by the
   58         Department of Health; providing for applicability;
   59         repealing s. 381.00656, F.S., relating to a grant
   60         program for the repair of onsite sewage treatment and
   61         disposal systems; amending s. 381.0066, F.S.; lowering
   62         the fees imposed by the department for certain
   63         permits; conforming cross-references; providing an
   64         effective date.
   66  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   68         Section 1. Subsections (1), (5), (6), and (7) of section
   69  381.0065, Florida Statues, are amended, paragraphs (b) through
   70  (p) of subsection (2) of that section are redesignated as
   71  paragraphs (c) through (q), respectively, a new paragraph (b) is
   72  added to that subsection, paragraph (j) of subsection (3) and
   73  paragraph (n) of subsection (4) of that section are amended, and
   74  paragraphs (w) through (z) are added to subsection (4) of that
   75  section, to read:
   76         381.0065 Onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems;
   77  regulation.—
   78         (1) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.—
   79         (a) It is the intent of the Legislature that proper
   80  management of onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems is
   81  paramount to the health, safety, and welfare of the public. It
   82  is further the intent of the Legislature that the department
   83  shall administer an evaluation program to ensure the operational
   84  condition of the system and identify any failure with the
   85  system.
   86         (b) It is the intent of the Legislature that where a
   87  publicly owned or investor-owned sewerage system is not
   88  available, the department shall issue permits for the
   89  construction, installation, modification, abandonment, or repair
   90  of onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems under conditions
   91  as described in this section and rules adopted under this
   92  section. It is further the intent of the Legislature that the
   93  installation and use of onsite sewage treatment and disposal
   94  systems not adversely affect the public health or significantly
   95  degrade the groundwater or surface water.
   96         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in ss. 381.0065-381.0067, the
   97  term:
   98         (b)1. “Bedroom” means a room that can be used for sleeping
   99  and that:
  100         a. For site-built dwellings, has a minimum of 70 square
  101  feet of conditioned space;
  102         b. For manufactured homes, is constructed according to
  103  standards of the United States Department of Housing and Urban
  104  Development and has a minimum of 50 square feet of floor area;
  105         c. Is located along an exterior wall;
  106         d. Has a closet and a door or an entrance where a door
  107  could be reasonably installed; and
  108         e. Has an emergency means of escape and rescue opening to
  109  the outside.
  110         2. A room may not be considered a bedroom if it is used to
  111  access another room except a bathroom or closet.
  112         3. “Bedroom” does not include a hallway, bathroom, kitchen,
  113  living room, family room, dining room, den, breakfast nook,
  114  pantry, laundry room, sunroom, recreation room, media/video
  115  room, or exercise room.
  117  department shall:
  118         (j) Supervise research on, demonstration of, and training
  119  on the performance, environmental impact, and public health
  120  impact of onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems within
  121  this state. Research fees collected under s. 381.0066(2)(k)
  122  381.0066(2)(l) must be used to develop and fund hands-on
  123  training centers designed to provide practical information about
  124  onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems to septic tank
  125  contractors, master septic tank contractors, contractors,
  126  inspectors, engineers, and the public and must also be used to
  127  fund research projects which focus on improvements of onsite
  128  sewage treatment and disposal systems, including use of
  129  performance-based standards and reduction of environmental
  130  impact. Research projects shall be initially approved by the
  131  technical review and advisory panel and shall be applicable to
  132  and reflect the soil conditions specific to Florida. Such
  133  projects shall be awarded through competitive negotiation, using
  134  the procedures provided in s. 287.055, to public or private
  135  entities that have experience in onsite sewage treatment and
  136  disposal systems in Florida and that are principally located in
  137  Florida. Research projects shall not be awarded to firms or
  138  entities that employ or are associated with persons who serve on
  139  either the technical review and advisory panel or the research
  140  review and advisory committee.
  141         (4) PERMITS; INSTALLATION; AND CONDITIONS.—A person may not
  142  construct, repair, modify, abandon, or operate an onsite sewage
  143  treatment and disposal system without first obtaining a permit
  144  approved by the department. The department may issue permits to
  145  carry out this section, but shall not make the issuance of such
  146  permits contingent upon prior approval by the Department of
  147  Environmental Protection, except that the issuance of a permit
  148  for work seaward of the coastal construction control line
  149  established under s. 161.053 shall be contingent upon receipt of
  150  any required coastal construction control line permit from the
  151  Department of Environmental Protection. A construction permit is
  152  valid for 18 months from the issuance date and may be extended
  153  by the department for one 90-day period under rules adopted by
  154  the department. A repair permit is valid for 90 days from the
  155  date of issuance. An operating permit must be obtained prior to
  156  the use of any aerobic treatment unit or if the establishment
  157  generates commercial waste. Buildings or establishments that use
  158  an aerobic treatment unit or generate commercial waste shall be
  159  inspected by the department at least annually to assure
  160  compliance with the terms of the operating permit. The operating
  161  permit for a commercial wastewater system is valid for 1 year
  162  from the date of issuance and must be renewed annually. The
  163  operating permit for an aerobic treatment unit is valid for 2
  164  years from the date of issuance and must be renewed every 2
  165  years. If all information pertaining to the siting, location,
  166  and installation conditions or repair of an onsite sewage
  167  treatment and disposal system remains the same, a construction
  168  or repair permit for the onsite sewage treatment and disposal
  169  system may be transferred to another person, if the transferee
  170  files, within 60 days after the transfer of ownership, an
  171  amended application providing all corrected information and
  172  proof of ownership of the property. There is no fee associated
  173  with the processing of this supplemental information. A person
  174  may not contract to construct, modify, alter, repair, service,
  175  abandon, or maintain any portion of an onsite sewage treatment
  176  and disposal system without being registered under part III of
  177  chapter 489. A property owner who personally performs
  178  construction, maintenance, or repairs to a system serving his or
  179  her own owner-occupied single-family residence is exempt from
  180  registration requirements for performing such construction,
  181  maintenance, or repairs on that residence, but is subject to all
  182  permitting requirements. A municipality or political subdivision
  183  of the state may not issue a building or plumbing permit for any
  184  building that requires the use of an onsite sewage treatment and
  185  disposal system unless the owner or builder has received a
  186  construction permit for such system from the department. A
  187  building or structure may not be occupied and a municipality,
  188  political subdivision, or any state or federal agency may not
  189  authorize occupancy until the department approves the final
  190  installation of the onsite sewage treatment and disposal system.
  191  A municipality or political subdivision of the state may not
  192  approve any change in occupancy or tenancy of a building that
  193  uses an onsite sewage treatment and disposal system until the
  194  department has reviewed the use of the system with the proposed
  195  change, approved the change, and amended the operating permit.
  196         (n) Evaluations for determining the seasonal high-water
  197  table elevations or the suitability of soils for the use of a
  198  new onsite sewage treatment and disposal system shall be
  199  performed by department personnel, professional engineers
  200  registered in the state, or such other persons with expertise,
  201  as defined by rule, in making such evaluations. Evaluations for
  202  determining mean annual flood lines shall be performed by those
  203  persons identified in paragraph (2)(j) (2)(i). The department
  204  shall accept evaluations submitted by professional engineers and
  205  such other persons as meet the expertise established by this
  206  section or by rule unless the department has a reasonable
  207  scientific basis for questioning the accuracy or completeness of
  208  the evaluation.
  209         (w) Any permit issued and approved by the department for
  210  the installation, modification, or repair of an onsite sewage
  211  treatment and disposal system shall transfer with the title to
  212  the property in a real estate transaction. A title may not be
  213  encumbered at the time of transfer by new permit requirements by
  214  a governmental entity for an onsite sewage treatment and
  215  disposal system which differ from the permitting requirements in
  216  effect at the time the system was permitted, modified, or
  217  repaired. No inspection of a system shall be mandated by any
  218  governmental entity at the point of sale in a real estate
  219  transaction.
  220         (x)1. An onsite sewage treatment and disposal system is not
  221  considered abandoned if the system is disconnected from a
  222  structure that was made unusable or destroyed following a
  223  disaster and was properly functioning at the time of
  224  disconnection and not adversely affected by the disaster. The
  225  onsite sewage treatment and disposal system may be reconnected
  226  to a rebuilt structure if:
  227         a. The reconnection of the system is to the same type of
  228  structure which contains the same number of bedrooms or less,
  229  provided the square footage of the structure is less than or
  230  equal to 110 percent of the original square footage of the
  231  structure that existed prior to the disaster;
  232         b. The system is not a sanitary nuisance; and
  233         c. The system has not been altered without prior
  234  authorization.
  235         2. An onsite sewage treatment and disposal system that
  236  serves a property that is foreclosed upon is not considered
  237  abandoned.
  238         (y) If an onsite sewage treatment and disposal system
  239  permittee receives, relies upon, and undertakes construction of
  240  a system based upon a validly issued construction permit under
  241  rules applicable at the time of construction but a change to a
  242  rule occurs within 5 years after the approval of the system for
  243  construction but before the final approval of the system, the
  244  rules applicable and in effect at the time of construction
  245  approval apply at the time of final approval if fundamental site
  246  conditions have not changed between the time of construction
  247  approval and final approval.
  248         (z) A modification, replacement, or upgrade of an onsite
  249  sewage treatment and disposal system is not required for a
  250  remodeling addition to a single-family home if a bedroom is not
  251  added.
  253         (a) Beginning July 1, 2011, the department shall administer
  254  an onsite sewage treatment and disposal system evaluation
  255  program for the purpose of assessing the fundamental operational
  256  condition of systems and identifying any failures within the
  257  systems. The department shall adopt rules implementing the
  258  program standards, procedures, and requirements, including, but
  259  not limited to, a schedule for a 5-year evaluation cycle,
  260  requirements for the pump-out of a system or repair of a failing
  261  system, enforcement procedures for failure of a system owner to
  262  obtain an evaluation of the system, and failure of a contractor
  263  to timely submit evaluation results to the department and the
  264  system owner. The department shall ensure statewide
  265  implementation of the evaluation and assessment program by
  266  January 1, 2016.
  267         (b) Owners of an onsite sewage treatment and disposal
  268  system, excluding a system that is required to obtain an
  269  operating permit, shall have the system evaluated at least once
  270  every 5 years to assess the fundamental operational condition of
  271  the system, and identify any failure within the system.
  272         (c) All evaluation procedures must be documented and
  273  nothing in this subsection limits the amount of detail an
  274  evaluator may provide at his or her professional discretion. The
  275  evaluation must include a tank and drainfield evaluation, a
  276  written assessment of the condition of the system, and, if
  277  necessary, a disclosure statement pursuant to the department’s
  278  procedure.
  279         (d)1. Systems being evaluated that were installed prior to
  280  January 1, 1983, shall meet a minimum 6-inch separation from the
  281  bottom of the drainfield to the wettest season water table
  282  elevation as defined by department rule. All drainfield repairs,
  283  replacements or modifications to systems installed prior to
  284  January 1, 1983, shall meet a minimum 12-inch separation from
  285  the bottom of the drainfield to the wettest season water table
  286  elevation as defined by department rule.
  287         2. Systems being evaluated that were installed on or after
  288  January 1, 1983, shall meet a minimum 12-inch separation from
  289  the bottom of the drainfield to the wettest season water table
  290  elevation as defined by department rule. All drainfield repairs,
  291  replacements or modification to systems developed on or after
  292  January 1, 1983, shall meet a minimum 24-inch separation from
  293  the bottom of the drainfield to the wettest season water table
  294  elevation.
  295         (e) If documentation of a tank pump-out or a permitted new
  296  installation, repair, or modification of the system within the
  297  previous 5 years is provided, and states the capacity of the
  298  tank and indicates that the condition of the tank is not a
  299  sanitary or public health nuisance pursuant to department rule,
  300  a pump-out of the system is not required.
  301         (f) Owners are responsible for paying the cost of any
  302  required pump-out, repair, or replacement pursuant to department
  303  rule, and may not request partial evaluation or the omission of
  304  portions of the evaluation.
  305         (g) Each evaluation or pump-out required under this
  306  subsection must be performed by a septic tank contractor or
  307  master septic tank contractor registered under part III of
  308  chapter 489, a professional engineer with wastewater treatment
  309  system experience licensed pursuant to chapter 471, or an
  310  environmental health professional certified under chapter 381 in
  311  the area of onsite sewage treatment and disposal system
  312  evaluation.
  313         (h) The evaluation report fee collected pursuant to s.
  314  381.0066(2)(b) shall be remitted to the department by the
  315  evaluator at the time the report is submitted.
  316         (i) Prior to any evaluation deadline, the department must
  317  provide a minimum of 60 days’ notice to owners that their
  318  systems must be evaluated by that deadline. The department may
  319  include a copy of any homeowner educational materials developed
  320  pursuant to this section which provides information on the
  321  proper maintenance of onsite sewage treatment and disposal
  322  systems.
  324         (a) Department personnel who have reason to believe
  325  noncompliance exists, may at any reasonable time, enter the
  326  premises permitted under ss. 381.0065-381.0066, or the business
  327  premises of any septic tank contractor or master septic tank
  328  contractor registered under part III of chapter 489, or any
  329  premises that the department has reason to believe is being
  330  operated or maintained not in compliance, to determine
  331  compliance with the provisions of this section, part I of
  332  chapter 386, or part III of chapter 489 or rules or standards
  333  adopted under ss. 381.0065-381.0067, part I of chapter 386, or
  334  part III of chapter 489. As used in this paragraph, the term
  335  “premises” does not include a residence or private building. To
  336  gain entry to a residence or private building, the department
  337  must obtain permission from the owner or occupant or secure an
  338  inspection warrant from a court of competent jurisdiction.
  339         (b)1. The department may issue citations that may contain
  340  an order of correction or an order to pay a fine, or both, for
  341  violations of ss. 381.0065-381.0067, part I of chapter 386, or
  342  part III of chapter 489 or the rules adopted by the department,
  343  when a violation of these sections or rules is enforceable by an
  344  administrative or civil remedy, or when a violation of these
  345  sections or rules is a misdemeanor of the second degree. A
  346  citation issued under ss. 381.0065-381.0067, part I of chapter
  347  386, or part III of chapter 489 constitutes a notice of proposed
  348  agency action.
  349         2. A citation must be in writing and must describe the
  350  particular nature of the violation, including specific reference
  351  to the provisions of law or rule allegedly violated.
  352         3. The fines imposed by a citation issued by the department
  353  may not exceed $500 for each violation. Each day the violation
  354  exists constitutes a separate violation for which a citation may
  355  be issued.
  356         4. The department shall inform the recipient, by written
  357  notice pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57, of the right to an
  358  administrative hearing to contest the citation within 21 days
  359  after the date the citation is received. The citation must
  360  contain a conspicuous statement that if the recipient fails to
  361  pay the fine within the time allowed, or fails to appear to
  362  contest the citation after having requested a hearing, the
  363  recipient has waived the recipient’s right to contest the
  364  citation and must pay an amount up to the maximum fine.
  365         5. The department may reduce or waive the fine imposed by
  366  the citation. In determining whether to reduce or waive the
  367  fine, the department must consider the gravity of the violation,
  368  the person’s attempts at correcting the violation, and the
  369  person’s history of previous violations including violations for
  370  which enforcement actions were taken under ss. 381.0065
  371  381.0067, part I of chapter 386, part III of chapter 489, or
  372  other provisions of law or rule.
  373         6. Any person who willfully refuses to sign and accept a
  374  citation issued by the department commits a misdemeanor of the
  375  second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.
  376  775.083.
  377         7. The department, pursuant to ss. 381.0065-381.0067, part
  378  I of chapter 386, or part III of chapter 489, shall deposit any
  379  fines it collects in the county health department trust fund for
  380  use in providing services specified in those sections.
  381         8. This section provides an alternative means of enforcing
  382  ss. 381.0065-381.0067, part I of chapter 386, and part III of
  383  chapter 489. This section does not prohibit the department from
  384  enforcing ss. 381.0065-381.0067, part I of chapter 386, or part
  385  III of chapter 489, or its rules, by any other means. However,
  386  the department must elect to use only a single method of
  387  enforcement for each violation.
  388         (6)(7) LAND APPLICATION OF SEPTAGE PROHIBITED.—Effective
  389  January 1, 2016, the land application of septage from onsite
  390  sewage treatment and disposal systems is prohibited. By February
  391  1, 2011, the department, in consultation with the Department of
  392  Environmental Protection, shall provide a report to the
  393  Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the
  394  House of Representatives, recommending alternative methods to
  395  establish enhanced treatment levels for the land application of
  396  septage from onsite sewage and disposal systems. The report
  397  shall include, but is not limited to, a schedule for the
  398  reduction in land application, appropriate treatment levels,
  399  alternative methods for treatment and disposal, enhanced
  400  application site permitting requirements including any
  401  requirements for nutrient management plans, and the range of
  402  costs to local governments, affected businesses, and individuals
  403  for alternative treatment and disposal methods. The report shall
  404  also include any recommendations for legislation or rule
  405  authority needed to reduce land application of septage.
  406         Section 2. Section 381.00651, Florida Statutes, is created
  407  to read:
  408         381.00651 Periodic evaluation and assessment of onsite
  409  sewage treatment and disposal systems.—
  410         (1) For the purposes of this section, the term “first
  411  magnitude spring” means a spring that has a median water
  412  discharge of greater than or equal to 100 cubic feet per second
  413  for the period of record, as determined by the Department of
  414  Environmental Protection.
  415         (2) A county or municipality that contains a first
  416  magnitude spring shall, by no later than January 1, 2013,
  417  develop and adopt by local ordinance an onsite sewage treatment
  418  and disposal system evaluation and assessment program that meets
  419  the requirements of this section. The ordinance may apply within
  420  all or part of its geographic area. Those counties or
  421  municipalities containing a first magnitude spring which have
  422  already adopted an onsite sewage treatment and disposal system
  423  evaluation and assessment program and which meet the
  424  grandfathering requirements contained in this section, or have
  425  chosen to opt out of this section in the manner provided herein,
  426  are exempt from the requirement to adopt an ordinance
  427  implementing an evaluation and assessment program. The governing
  428  body of a local government that chooses to opt out of this
  429  section, by a majority plus one vote of the members of the
  430  governing board, shall do so by adopting a resolution that
  431  indicates an intent on the part of such local government not to
  432  adopt an onsite sewage treatment and disposal system evaluation
  433  and assessment program. Such resolution shall be addressed and
  434  transmitted to the Secretary of State. Absent an interlocal
  435  agreement or county charter provision to the contrary, a
  436  municipality may elect to opt out of the requirements of this
  437  section, by a majority plus one vote of the members of the
  438  governing board, notwithstanding a contrary decision of the
  439  governing body of a county. Any local government that has
  440  properly opted out of this section but subsequently chooses to
  441  adopt an evaluation and assessment program may do so only
  442  pursuant to the requirements of this section and may not deviate
  443  from such requirements.
  444         (3)Any county or municipality that does not contain a
  445  first magnitude spring may at any time develop and adopt by
  446  local ordinance an onsite sewage treatment and disposal system
  447  evaluation and assessment program, provided such program meets
  448  and does not deviate from the requirements of this section.
  449         (4)Notwithstanding any other provision in this section, a
  450  county or municipality that has adopted a program before July 1,
  451  2011, may continue to enforce its current program without having
  452  to meet the requirements of this section, provided such program
  453  does not require an evaluation at the point of sale in a real
  454  estate transaction.
  455         (5)Any county or municipality may repeal an ordinance
  456  adopted pursuant to this section only if the county or
  457  municipality notifies the Secretary of State by letter of the
  458  repeal. No county or municipality may adopt an onsite sewage
  459  treatment and disposal system evaluation and assessment program
  460  except pursuant to this section.
  461         (6)The requirements for an onsite sewage treatment and
  462  disposal system evaluation and assessment program are as
  463  follows:
  464         (a) Evaluations.—An evaluation of each onsite sewage
  465  treatment and disposal system within all or part of the county’s
  466  or municipality’s jurisdiction must take place once every 5
  467  years to assess the fundamental operational condition of the
  468  system and to identify system failures. The ordinance may not
  469  mandate an evaluation at the point of sale in a real estate
  470  transaction and may not require a soil examination. The location
  471  of the system shall be identified. A tank and drainfield
  472  evaluation and a written assessment of the overall condition of
  473  the system pursuant to the assessment procedure prescribed in
  474  subsection (7) are required.
  475         (b) Qualified contractors.—Each evaluation required under
  476  this subsection must be performed by a qualified contractor, who
  477  may be a septic tank contractor or master septic tank contractor
  478  registered under part III of chapter 489, a professional
  479  engineer having wastewater treatment system experience and
  480  licensed under chapter 471, or an environmental health
  481  professional certified under this chapter in the area of onsite
  482  sewage treatment and disposal system evaluation. Evaluations and
  483  pump-outs may also be performed by an authorized employee
  484  working under the supervision of an individual listed in this
  485  paragraph; however, all evaluation forms must be signed by a
  486  qualified contractor in writing or by electronic signature.
  487         (c) Repair of systems.—The local ordinance may not require
  488  a repair, modification, or replacement of a system as a result
  489  of an evaluation unless the evaluation identifies a system
  490  failure. For purposes of this subsection, the term “system
  491  failure” means a condition existing within an onsite sewage
  492  treatment and disposal system which results in the discharge of
  493  untreated or partially treated wastewater onto the ground
  494  surface or into surface water or that results in the failure of
  495  building plumbing to discharge properly and presents a sanitary
  496  nuisance. A system is not in failure if the system does not have
  497  a minimum separation distance between the drainfield and the
  498  wettest season water table or if an obstruction in a sanitary
  499  line or an effluent screen or filter prevents effluent from
  500  flowing into a drainfield. If a system failure is identified and
  501  several allowable remedial measures are available to resolve the
  502  failure, the system owner may choose the least costly allowable
  503  remedial measure to fix the system. There may be instances in
  504  which a pump-out is sufficient to resolve a system failure.
  505  Allowable remedial measures to resolve a system failure are
  506  limited to what is necessary to resolve the failure and must
  507  meet, to the maximum extent practicable, the requirements of the
  508  repair code in effect when the repair is made, subject to the
  509  exceptions specified in s. 381.0065(4)(g). An engineer-designed
  510  performance-based treatment system to reduce nutrients may not
  511  be required as an alternative remediation measure to resolve the
  512  failure of a conventional system.
  513         (d) Exemptions.
  514         1. The local ordinance shall exempt from the evaluation
  515  requirements any system that is required to obtain an operating
  516  permit pursuant to state law or that is inspected by the
  517  department pursuant to the annual permit inspection requirements
  518  of chapter 513.
  519         2. The local ordinance may provide for an exemption or an
  520  extension of time to obtain an evaluation and assessment if
  521  connection to a sewer system is available, connection to the
  522  sewer system is imminent, and written arrangements for payment
  523  of any utility assessments or connection fees have been made by
  524  the system owner.
  525         3. An onsite sewage treatment and disposal system serving a
  526  residential dwelling unit on a lot with a ratio of one bedroom
  527  per acre or greater is exempt from the requirements of this
  528  section and may not be included in any onsite sewage treatment
  529  and disposal system inspection program.
  530         (7) The following procedures shall be used for conducting
  531  evaluations:
  532         (a) Tank evaluation.—The tank evaluation shall assess the
  533  apparent structural condition and watertightness of the tank and
  534  shall estimate the size of the tank. The evaluation must include
  535  a pump-out. However, an ordinance may not require a pump-out if
  536  there is documentation indicating that a tank pump-out or a
  537  permitted new installation, repair, or modification of the
  538  system has occurred within the previous 5 years, identifying the
  539  capacity of the tank, and indicating that the condition of the
  540  tank is structurally sound and watertight. Visual inspection of
  541  the tank must be made when the tank is empty to detect cracks,
  542  leaks, or other defects. Baffles or tees must be checked to
  543  ensure that they are intact and secure. The evaluation shall
  544  note the presence and condition of outlet devices, effluent
  545  filters, and compartment walls; any structural defect in the
  546  tank; the condition and fit of the tank lid, including manholes;
  547  whether surface water can infiltrate the tank; and whether the
  548  tank was pumped out. If the tank, in the opinion of the
  549  qualified contractor, is in danger of being damaged by leaving
  550  the tank empty after inspection, the tank shall be refilled
  551  before concluding the inspection. Broken or damaged lids or
  552  manholes shall be replaced without obtaining a repair permit.
  553         (b) Drainfield evaluation.—The drainfield evaluation must
  554  include a determination of the approximate size and location of
  555  the drainfield. The evaluation shall state whether there is any
  556  sewage or effluent visible on the ground or discharging to a
  557  ditch or other water body and the location of any downspout or
  558  other source of water near or in the vicinity of the drainfield.
  559         (c) Special circumstances.—If the system contains pumps,
  560  siphons, or alarms, the following information may be provided at
  561  the request of the homeowner:
  562         1. An assessment of dosing tank integrity, including the
  563  approximate volume and the type of material used in the tank’s
  564  construction;
  565         2. Whether the pump is elevated off the bottom of the
  566  chamber and its operational status;
  567         3. Whether the system has a check valve and purge hole; and
  568         4. Whether the system has a high-water alarm, and if so
  569  whether the alarm is audio or visual or both, the location and
  570  operational condition of the alarm, and whether the electrical
  571  connections to the alarm appear satisfactory.
  573  If the homeowner does not request this information, the
  574  qualified contractor and its employee are not liable for any
  575  damages directly relating from a failure of the system’s pumps,
  576  siphons, or alarms. This exclusion of liability must be stated
  577  on the front cover of the report required under paragraph (d).
  578         (d) Assessment procedure.—All evaluation procedures used by
  579  a qualified contractor shall be documented in the environmental
  580  health database of the Department of Health. The qualified
  581  contractor shall provide a copy of a written, signed evaluation
  582  report to the property owner upon completion of the evaluation
  583  and to the county health department within 30 days after the
  584  evaluation. The report shall contain the name and license number
  585  of the company providing the report. A copy of the evaluation
  586  report shall be retained by the local county health department
  587  for a minimum of 5 years and until a subsequent inspection
  588  report is filed. The front cover of the report must identify any
  589  system failure and include a clear and conspicuous notice to the
  590  owner that the owner has a right to have any remediation of the
  591  failure performed by a qualified contractor other than the
  592  contractor performing the evaluation. The report must further
  593  identify any crack, leak, improper fit, or other defect in the
  594  tank, manhole, or lid, and any other damaged or missing
  595  component; any sewage or effluent visible on the ground or
  596  discharging to a ditch or other surface water body; any
  597  downspout, stormwater, or other source of water directed onto or
  598  toward the system; and any other maintenance need or condition
  599  of the system at the time of the evaluation which, in the
  600  opinion of the qualified contractor, would possibly interfere
  601  with or restrict any future repair or modification to the
  602  existing system. The report shall conclude with an overall
  603  assessment of the fundamental operational condition of the
  604  system.
  605         (8) The county health department shall administer any
  606  evaluation program on behalf of a county, or a municipality
  607  within the county, that has adopted an evaluation program
  608  pursuant to this section. In order to administer the evaluation
  609  program, the county or municipality, in consultation with the
  610  county health department, may develop a reasonable fee schedule
  611  to be used solely to pay for the costs of administering the
  612  evaluation program. Such a fee schedule shall be identified in
  613  the ordinance that adopts the evaluation program. When arriving
  614  at a reasonable fee schedule, the estimated annual revenues to
  615  be derived from fees may not exceed reasonable estimated annual
  616  costs of the program. Fees shall be assessed to the system owner
  617  during an inspection and separately identified on the invoice of
  618  the qualified contractor. Fees shall be remitted by the
  619  qualified contractor to the county health department. The county
  620  health department’s administrative responsibilities include the
  621  following:
  622         (a) Providing a notice to the system owner at least 60 days
  623  before the system is due for an evaluation. The notice may
  624  include information on the proper maintenance of onsite sewage
  625  treatment and disposal systems.
  626         (b) In consultation with the Department of Health,
  627  providing uniform disciplinary procedures and penalties for
  628  qualified contractors who do not comply with the requirements of
  629  the adopted ordinance, including, but not limited to, failure to
  630  provide the evaluation report as required in this subsection to
  631  the system owner and the county health department. Only the
  632  county health department may assess penalties against system
  633  owners for failure to comply with the adopted ordinance,
  634  consistent with existing requirements of law.
  635         (9)(a) A county or municipality that adopts an onsite
  636  sewage treatment and disposal system evaluation and assessment
  637  program pursuant to this section shall notify the Secretary of
  638  Environmental Protection, the Department of Health, and the
  639  applicable county health department upon the adoption of its
  640  ordinance establishing the program.
  641         (b) Upon receipt of the notice under paragraph (a), the
  642  Department of Environmental Protection shall, within existing
  643  resources, notify the county or municipality of the potential
  644  use of, and access to, program funds under the Clean Water State
  645  Revolving Fund or s. 319 of the Clean Water Act, provide
  646  guidance in the application process to receive such moneys, and
  647  provide advice and technical assistance to the county or
  648  municipality on how to establish a low-interest revolving loan
  649  program or how to model a revolving loan program after the low
  650  interest loan program of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.
  651  This paragraph does not obligate the Department of Environmental
  652  Protection to provide any county or municipality with money to
  653  fund such programs.
  654         (c) The Department of Health may not adopt any rule that
  655  alters the provisions of this section.
  656         (d) The Department of Health must allow county health
  657  departments and qualified contractors access to the
  658  environmental health database to track relevant information and
  659  assimilate data from assessment and evaluation reports of the
  660  overall condition of onsite sewage treatment and disposal
  661  systems. The environmental health database must be used by
  662  contractors to report each service and evaluation event and by a
  663  county health department to notify owners of onsite sewage
  664  treatment and disposal systems when evaluations are due. Data
  665  and information must be recorded and updated as service and
  666  evaluations are conducted and reported.
  667         (10) This section does not:
  668         (a) Limit county and municipal home rule authority to act
  669  outside the scope of the evaluation and assessment program set
  670  forth in this section;
  671         (b) Repeal or affect any other law relating to the subject
  672  matter of onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems; or
  673         (c) Prohibit a county or municipality from:
  674         1. Enforcing existing ordinances or adopting new ordinances
  675  relating to onsite sewage treatment facilities to address public
  676  health and safety if such ordinances do not repeal, suspend, or
  677  alter the requirements or limitations of this section.
  678         2. Adopting local environmental and pollution abatement
  679  ordinances for water quality improvement as provided for by law
  680  if such ordinances do not repeal, suspend, or alter the
  681  requirements or limitations of this section.
  682         3. Exercising its independent and existing authority to
  683  meet the requirements of s. 381.0065.
  684         Section 3. Section 381.00656, Florida Statutes, is
  685  repealed.
  686         Section 4. Subsection (2) of section 381.0066, Florida
  687  Statutes, is amended to read:
  688         381.0066 Onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems;
  689  fees.—
  690         (2) The minimum fees in the following fee schedule apply
  691  until changed by rule by the department within the following
  692  limits:
  693         (a) Application review, permit issuance, or system
  694  inspection, including repair of a subsurface, mound, filled, or
  695  other alternative system or permitting of an abandoned system: a
  696  fee of not less than $25, or more than $125.
  697         (b) A 5-year evaluation report submitted pursuant to s.
  698  381.0065(5): a fee not less than $15, or more than $30. At least
  699  $1 and no more than $5 collected pursuant to this paragraph
  700  shall be used to fund a grant program established under s.
  701  381.00656.
  702         (b)(c) Site evaluation, site reevaluation, evaluation of a
  703  system previously in use, or a per annum septage disposal site
  704  evaluation: a fee of not less than $40, or more than $115.
  705         (c)(d) Biennial Operating permit for aerobic treatment
  706  units or performance-based treatment systems: a fee of not more
  707  than $100.
  708         (d)(e) Annual operating permit for systems located in areas
  709  zoned for industrial manufacturing or equivalent uses or where
  710  the system is expected to receive wastewater which is not
  711  domestic in nature: a fee of not less than $150, or more than
  712  $300.
  713         (e)(f) Innovative technology: a fee not to exceed $25,000.
  714         (f)(g) Septage disposal service, septage stabilization
  715  facility, portable or temporary toilet service, tank
  716  manufacturer inspection: a fee of not less than $25, or more
  717  than $200, per year.
  718         (g)(h) Application for variance: a fee of not less than
  719  $150, or more than $300.
  720         (h)(i) Annual operating permit for waterless, incinerating,
  721  or organic waste composting toilets: a fee of not less than $15
  722  $50, or more than $30 $150.
  723         (i)(j) Aerobic treatment unit or performance-based
  724  treatment system maintenance entity permit: a fee of not less
  725  than $25, or more than $150, per year.
  726         (j)(k) Reinspection fee per visit for site inspection after
  727  system construction approval or for noncompliant system
  728  installation per site visit: a fee of not less than $25, or more
  729  than $100.
  730         (k)(l) Research: An additional $5 fee shall be added to
  731  each new system construction permit issued to be used to fund
  732  onsite sewage treatment and disposal system research,
  733  demonstration, and training projects. Five dollars from any
  734  repair permit fee collected under this section shall be used for
  735  funding the hands-on training centers described in s.
  736  381.0065(3)(j).
  737         (l)(m) Annual operating permit, including annual inspection
  738  and any required sampling and laboratory analysis of effluent,
  739  for an engineer-designed performance-based system: a fee of not
  740  less than $150, or more than $300.
  742  On or before January 1, 2011, the Surgeon General, after
  743  consultation with the Revenue Estimating Conference, shall
  744  determine a revenue neutral fee schedule for services provided
  745  pursuant to s. 381.0065(5) within the parameters set in
  746  paragraph (b). Such determination is not subject to the
  747  provisions of chapter 120. The funds collected pursuant to this
  748  subsection must be deposited in a trust fund administered by the
  749  department, to be used for the purposes stated in this section
  750  and ss. 381.0065 and 381.00655.
  751         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.