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. 34 35 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 36 37 Section 1. Section 403.1839, Florida Statutes, is created 38 to read: 39 403.1839 Blue 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. 93 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.— 135 (7) DEVELOPMENT OF BASIN MANAGEMENT PLANS AND 136 IMPLEMENTATION OF TOTAL MAXIMUM 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.