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.
   33  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   35         Section 1. Section 403.1839, Florida Statutes, is created
   36  to read:
   37         403.1839Blue 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.
   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.—
  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.