Florida Senate - 2018                                     SB 244
       By Senator Brandes
       24-00272-18                                            2018244__
    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 for certification;
   14         authorizing the department to waive certain
   15         requirements for utilities for certain smaller
   16         populations; providing for certification expiration
   17         and renewal; requiring the department to publish an
   18         annual list of certified blue star utilities;
   19         requiring the department to allow public and not-for
   20         profit utilities to participate in the Clean Water
   21         State Revolving Fund Program; authorizing the
   22         department to reduce penalties for a certified utility
   23         and allow the utility to apply the amount of a penalty
   24         toward certain system investments; amending s.
   25         403.067, F.S.; creating a presumption of compliance
   26         for certain total maximum daily load requirements for
   27         certified utilities; amending s. 403.087, F.S.;
   28         requiring the department to provide extended operating
   29         permits when a certified utility applies for permit
   30         renewal; amending s. 403.1838, F.S.; allowing for
   31         additional recipients and uses of Small Community
   32         Sewer Construction grants; providing an effective
   33         date.
   35  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   37         Section 1. Section 403.1839, Florida Statutes, is created
   38  to read:
   39         403.1839Blue star collection system assessment and
   40  maintenance program.—
   41         (1)DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   42         (a)“Commission” means the Environmental Regulation
   43  Commission.
   44         (b)“Program” means the blue star collection system
   45  assessment and maintenance program.
   46         (2)LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.—The Legislature finds that the
   47  implementation of sewer collection system assessment and
   48  maintenance practices has been shown to effectively limit the
   49  unauthorized releases or spills of treated or untreated domestic
   50  wastewater, generally referred to as sanitary sewer overflows,
   51  and the unauthorized discharge of pathogens. The disparate
   52  nature of inputs into a collection system, third-party
   53  activities, severe storm events, and other factors beyond the
   54  reasonable control of the utility operator make it infeasible to
   55  completely eliminate sewer overflows. However, the voluntary
   56  implementation of advanced sewer collection system assessment
   57  and maintenance practices beyond those required by law has the
   58  potential to further limit sanitary sewer overflows. The unique
   59  geography, community, growth, and size and age of sewer
   60  collection systems across the state require diverse responses,
   61  using the best professional judgment of local utility operators,
   62  to ensure that programs designed to limit sanitary sewer
   63  overflows are effective.
   64         (3)ESTABLISHMENT AND PURPOSE.—There is established in the
   65  department a blue star collection system assessment and
   66  maintenance program. The purpose of this voluntary incentive
   67  program is to assist public and private utilities in limiting
   68  sanitary sewer overflows and the unauthorized discharge of
   69  pathogens.
   70         (4)APPROVAL AND STANDARDS.—
   71         (a)The department shall review and approve public and
   72  private sewer utilities applying for certification under the
   73  program based upon the certification standards adopted by the
   74  commission.
   75         (b)The commission shall adopt certification standards for
   76  the program. A utility must provide reasonable documentation of
   77  the following in order to be certified under the program:
   78         1.The rate of reinvestment determined necessary by the
   79  utility for its collection system and pump station structural
   80  condition assessment and maintenance and replacement program.
   81         2.A program of periodic collection system and pump station
   82  structural condition assessments and the performance of as
   83  needed maintenance and replacements.
   84         3.A program designed to limit the presence of fats, roots,
   85  oils, and grease in the collection system.
   86         4.If the applicant is a public utility, a local law or
   87  building code requiring the private pump stations and lateral
   88  lines connecting to the public system to be free of:
   89         a.Cracks, holes, missing parts, or similar defects; and
   90         b.Direct stormwater connections that allow the direct
   91  inflow of stormwater into the private system and the public
   92  domestic wastewater collection system.
   94  The department may waive one or more of these requirements for a
   95  utility that regularly serves a population of 10,000 or less if
   96  the utility adequately demonstrates to the department that its
   97  assessment and maintenance activities achieve the goals of the
   98  blue star collection system assessment and maintenance program.
   99  The utility may cite assessment projects funded pursuant to a
  100  grant under s. 403.1838 as evidence of such achievement.
  101         (5)EXPIRATION AND RENEWAL.—Program certifications shall
  102  expire after 10 years. A utility applying for renewal must meet
  103  all program criteria existing at the time of its application for
  104  renewal in order to maintain its program certification.
  105         (6)PUBLICATION.—The department shall annually publish on
  106  its website a list of certified blue star utilities beginning on
  107  January 1, 2019.
  108         (7)FEDERAL PROGRAM PARTICIPATION.—The department shall
  109  allow public and not-for-profit private utilities to participate
  110  in the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program for any purpose
  111  consistent with federal law, including to plan and implement
  112  sanitary sewer assessment programs to identify conditions that
  113  may cause unauthorized releases or spills of treated or
  114  untreated domestic wastewater, pipe leakage, or interruption of
  115  service to customers due to a physical condition or defect in
  116  the system, as well as any assessment, maintenance, or
  117  construction activities associated with becoming certified or
  118  maintaining status as a certified blue star utility in
  119  accordance with this section.
  120         (8)REDUCED PENALTIES.—In the calculation of penalties
  121  pursuant to s. 403.161 for a sanitary sewer overflow, the
  122  department may reduce the penalty based on a utility’s status as
  123  a certified blue star utility in accordance with this section.
  124  The department may allow any certified blue star utility to
  125  apply the amount of a penalty toward investment in assessment
  126  and maintenance activities to identify and address conditions
  127  that may cause unauthorized releases or spills of treated or
  128  untreated domestic wastewater, pipe leakage, or interruption of
  129  service to customers due to a physical condition defect in the
  130  system.
  131         Section 2. Paragraph (c) of subsection (7) of section
  132  403.067, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  133         403.067 Establishment and implementation of total maximum
  134  daily loads.—
  137         (c) Best management practices.—
  138         1. The department, in cooperation with the water management
  139  districts and other interested parties, as appropriate, may
  140  develop suitable interim measures, best management practices, or
  141  other measures necessary to achieve the level of pollution
  142  reduction established by the department for nonagricultural
  143  nonpoint pollutant sources in allocations developed pursuant to
  144  subsection (6) and this subsection. These practices and measures
  145  may be adopted by rule by the department and the water
  146  management districts and, where adopted by rule, shall be
  147  implemented by those parties responsible for nonagricultural
  148  nonpoint source pollution.
  149         2. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may
  150  develop and adopt by rule pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54
  151  suitable interim measures, best management practices, or other
  152  measures necessary to achieve the level of pollution reduction
  153  established by the department for agricultural pollutant sources
  154  in allocations developed pursuant to subsection (6) and this
  155  subsection or for programs implemented pursuant to paragraph
  156  (12)(b). These practices and measures may be implemented by
  157  those parties responsible for agricultural pollutant sources and
  158  the department, the water management districts, and the
  159  Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall assist
  160  with implementation. In the process of developing and adopting
  161  rules for interim measures, best management practices, or other
  162  measures, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
  163  shall consult with the department, the Department of Health, the
  164  water management districts, representatives from affected
  165  farming groups, and environmental group representatives. Such
  166  rules must also incorporate provisions for a notice of intent to
  167  implement the practices and a system to assure the
  168  implementation of the practices, including site inspection and
  169  recordkeeping requirements.
  170         3. Where interim measures, best management practices, or
  171  other measures are adopted by rule, the effectiveness of such
  172  practices in achieving the levels of pollution reduction
  173  established in allocations developed by the department pursuant
  174  to subsection (6) and this subsection or in programs implemented
  175  pursuant to paragraph (12)(b) must be verified at representative
  176  sites by the department. The department shall use best
  177  professional judgment in making the initial verification that
  178  the best management practices are reasonably expected to be
  179  effective and, where applicable, must notify the appropriate
  180  water management district or the Department of Agriculture and
  181  Consumer Services of its initial verification before the
  182  adoption of a rule proposed pursuant to this paragraph.
  183  Implementation, in accordance with rules adopted under this
  184  paragraph, of practices that have been initially verified to be
  185  effective, or verified to be effective by monitoring at
  186  representative sites, by the department, shall provide a
  187  presumption of compliance with state water quality standards and
  188  release from the provisions of s. 376.307(5) for those
  189  pollutants addressed by the practices, and the department is not
  190  authorized to institute proceedings against the owner of the
  191  source of pollution to recover costs or damages associated with
  192  the contamination of surface water or groundwater caused by
  193  those pollutants. Research projects funded by the department, a
  194  water management district, or the Department of Agriculture and
  195  Consumer Services to develop or demonstrate interim measures or
  196  best management practices shall be granted a presumption of
  197  compliance with state water quality standards and a release from
  198  the provisions of s. 376.307(5). The presumption of compliance
  199  and release is limited to the research site and only for those
  200  pollutants addressed by the interim measures or best management
  201  practices. Eligibility for the presumption of compliance and
  202  release is limited to research projects on sites where the owner
  203  or operator of the research site and the department, a water
  204  management district, or the Department of Agriculture and
  205  Consumer Services have entered into a contract or other
  206  agreement that, at a minimum, specifies the research objectives,
  207  the cost-share responsibilities of the parties, and a schedule
  208  that details the beginning and ending dates of the project.
  209         4. Where water quality problems are demonstrated, despite
  210  the appropriate implementation, operation, and maintenance of
  211  best management practices and other measures required by rules
  212  adopted under this paragraph, the department, a water management
  213  district, or the Department of Agriculture and Consumer
  214  Services, in consultation with the department, shall institute a
  215  reevaluation of the best management practice or other measure.
  216  Should the reevaluation determine that the best management
  217  practice or other measure requires modification, the department,
  218  a water management district, or the Department of Agriculture
  219  and Consumer Services, as appropriate, shall revise the rule to
  220  require implementation of the modified practice within a
  221  reasonable time period as specified in the rule.
  222         5. Agricultural records relating to processes or methods of
  223  production, costs of production, profits, or other financial
  224  information held by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer
  225  Services pursuant to subparagraphs 3. and 4. or pursuant to any
  226  rule adopted pursuant to subparagraph 2. are confidential and
  227  exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State
  228  Constitution. Upon request, records made confidential and exempt
  229  pursuant to this subparagraph shall be released to the
  230  department or any water management district provided that the
  231  confidentiality specified by this subparagraph for such records
  232  is maintained.
  233         6. The provisions of subparagraphs 1. and 2. do not
  234  preclude the department or water management district from
  235  requiring compliance with water quality standards or with
  236  current best management practice requirements set forth in any
  237  applicable regulatory program authorized by law for the purpose
  238  of protecting water quality. Additionally, subparagraphs 1. and
  239  2. are applicable only to the extent that they do not conflict
  240  with any rules adopted by the department that are necessary to
  241  maintain a federally delegated or approved program.
  242         7.The department must provide a domestic wastewater
  243  utility with a presumption of compliance with state water
  244  quality standards for pathogens when the utility demonstrates a
  245  history of compliance with wastewater disinfection requirements
  246  incorporated in the utility’s operating permit for any discharge
  247  into the impaired surface water, and the utility is a certified
  248  blue star utility in accordance with s. 403.1839.
  249         Section 3. Subsection (11) is added to section 403.087,
  250  Florida Statutes, to read:
  251         403.087 Permits; general issuance; denial; revocation;
  252  prohibition; penalty.—
  253         (11)A blue star utility certified pursuant to s. 403.1839
  254  shall be issued a 10-year permit upon approval of its
  255  application for renewal by the department in accordance with
  256  this section.
  257         Section 4. Subsection (3) of section 403.1838, Florida
  258  Statutes, is amended to read:
  259         403.1838 Small Community Sewer Construction Assistance
  260  Act.—
  261         (3)(a) In accordance with rules adopted by the
  262  Environmental Regulation Commission under this section, the
  263  department may provide grants, from funds specifically
  264  appropriated for this purpose, to financially disadvantaged
  265  small communities and to private, not-for-profit utilities
  266  serving financially disadvantaged small communities for up to
  267  100 percent of the costs of planning, assessing, designing,
  268  constructing, upgrading, or replacing wastewater collection,
  269  transmission, treatment, disposal, and reuse facilities,
  270  including necessary legal and administrative expenses. Grants
  271  issued pursuant to this section may also be used for planning
  272  and implementing sanitary sewer assessment programs to identify
  273  conditions that may cause unauthorized releases or spills of
  274  treated or untreated domestic wastewater, pipe leakage, or
  275  interruption of service to customers due to a physical condition
  276  or defect in the system.
  277         (b) The rules of the Environmental Regulation Commission
  278  must:
  279         1. Require that projects to plan, assess, design,
  280  construct, upgrade, or replace wastewater collection,
  281  transmission, treatment, disposal, and reuse facilities be cost
  282  effective, environmentally sound, permittable, and
  283  implementable.
  284         2. Require appropriate user charges, connection fees, and
  285  other charges sufficient to ensure the long-term operation,
  286  maintenance, and replacement of the facilities constructed under
  287  each grant.
  288         3. Require grant applications to be submitted on
  289  appropriate forms with appropriate supporting documentation, and
  290  require records to be maintained.
  291         4. Establish a system to determine eligibility of grant
  292  applications.
  293         5. Establish a system to determine the relative priority of
  294  grant applications. The system must consider public health
  295  protection and water pollution abatement.
  296         6. Establish requirements for competitive procurement of
  297  engineering and construction services, materials, and equipment.
  298         7. Provide for termination of grants when program
  299  requirements are not met.
  300         Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.