S. 937 (111th): Sewage Overflow Community Right-to-Know Act

111th Congress, 2009–2010. Text as of Apr 30, 2009 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

II

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 937

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 30, 2009

(for himself, Mr. Whitehouse, and Mr. Menendez) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works

A BILL

To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to ensure that sewage treatment plants monitor for and report discharges of raw sewage, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Sewage Overflow Community Right-to-Know Act.

2.

Definitions

Section 502 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1362) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(26)

Treatment works

The term treatment works has the meaning given the term in section 212.

.

3.

Monitoring, reporting, and public notification of sewer overflows

Section 402 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1342) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(s)

Sewer overflow monitoring, reporting, and notifications

(1)

Definitions

In this subsection:

(A)

Sanitary sewer overflow

(i)

In general

The term sanitary sewer overflow means an overflow, spill, release, or diversion of wastewater from a sanitary sewer system.

(ii)

Inclusions

The term sanitary sewer overflow includes—

(I)

overflows or releases of wastewater that reach waters of the United States;

(II)

overflows or releases of wastewater in the United States that do not reach waters of the United States; and

(III)

wastewater backups into buildings that are caused by blockages or flow conditions in a sanitary sewer other than a building lateral.

(iii)

Exclusions

The term sanitary sewer overflow does not include—

(I)

municipal combined sewer overflows or other discharges from the combined portion of a municipal combined storm and sanitary sewer system; or

(II)

wastewater backups into buildings caused by a blockage or other malfunction of a building lateral that is privately owned.

(B)

Sewer overflow

The term sewer overflow means a sanitary sewer overflow or a municipal combined sewer overflow.

(C)

Single-family residence

(i)

In general

The term single-family residence means an individual dwelling unit.

(ii)

Inclusions

The term single-family residence includes—

(I)

an apartment;

(II)

a condominium;

(III)

a house; and

(IV)

a dormitory.

(iii)

Exclusions

The term single-family residence does not include the common areas of a multidwelling structure.

(2)

General requirements

After the last day of the 180-day period beginning on the date on which regulations are promulgated under paragraph (5), a permit issued, renewed, or modified under this section by the Administrator or the State, as the case may be, for a publicly owned treatment works shall require, at a minimum, beginning on the date of the issuance, modification, or renewal, that the owner or operator of the treatment works—

(A)

institute and utilize a feasible methodology, technology, or management program for monitoring sewer overflows to alert the owner or operator to the occurrence of a sewer overflow in a timely manner;

(B)

in the case of a sewer overflow that has the potential to affect human health, notify the public of the overflow as soon as practicable but not later than 24 hours after the time the owner or operator knows of the overflow;

(C)

in the case of a sewer overflow that may imminently and substantially endanger human health, notify public health authorities and other affected entities, such as public water systems, of the overflow immediately after the owner or operator knows of the overflow;

(D)

report each sewer overflow on the discharge monitoring report of the owner or operator to the Administrator or the State, as the case may be, by describing—

(i)

the magnitude, duration, and suspected cause of the overflow;

(ii)

the steps taken or planned to reduce, eliminate, or prevent recurrence of the overflow; and

(iii)

the steps taken or planned to mitigate the impact of the overflow; and

(E)

annually report to the Administrator or the State, as the case may be, the total number of sewer overflows in a calendar year, including—

(i)

the details of how much wastewater was released per incident;

(ii)

the duration of each sewer overflow;

(iii)

the location of the overflow and any potentially affected receiving waters;

(iv)

the responses taken to clean up the overflow; and

(v)

the actions taken to mitigate impacts and avoid further sewer overflows at the site.

(3)

Exceptions

(A)

Notification requirements

The notification requirements of subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (2) shall not apply to a sewer overflow that is a wastewater backup into a single-family residence.

(B)

Reporting requirements

The reporting requirements of subparagraphs (D) and (E) of paragraph (2) shall not apply to a sewer overflow that is a release of wastewater that occurs in the course of maintenance of the treatment works, is managed consistently with the treatment works’ best management practices, and is intended to prevent sewer overflows.

(4)

Report to EPA

Each State shall provide to the Administrator annually a summary of sewer overflows that occurred in the State.

(5)

Rulemaking by EPA

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Administrator, after providing notice and an opportunity for public comment, shall promulgate regulations to implement this subsection, including regulations—

(A)

to establish a set of criteria to guide the owner or operator of a publicly owned treatment works in—

(i)

assessing whether a sewer overflow may imminently and substantially endanger human health; and

(ii)

developing communication measures that are sufficient to give notice under subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (2); and

(B)

to define the terms feasible and timely as those terms apply to paragraph (2)(A), including site specific conditions.

(6)

Approval of State notification programs

(A)

Requests for approval

(i)

In general

After the date of promulgation of regulations under paragraph (5), a State may submit to the Administrator evidence that the State has in place a legally enforceable notification program that is substantially equivalent to the requirements of subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (2).

(ii)

Program review and authorization

If the evidence submitted by a State under clause (i) shows the notification program of the State to be substantially equivalent to the requirements of subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (2), the Administrator shall authorize the State to carry out that program instead of those requirements.

(iii)

Factors for determining substantial equivalency

In carrying out a review of a State notification program under clause (ii), the Administrator shall take into account—

(I)

the scope of sewer overflows for which notification is required;

(II)

the length of time during which notification must be made;

(III)

the scope of persons that must be notified of sewer overflows;

(IV)

the scope of enforcement activities ensuring that notifications of sewer overflows are made; and

(V)

such other factors as the Administrator considers to be appropriate.

(B)

Review period

If a State submits evidence with respect to a notification program under subparagraph (A)(i) on or before the last day of the 30-day period beginning on the date of promulgation of regulations under paragraph (5), the requirements of subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (2) shall not begin to apply to a publicly owned treatment works located in the State until the date on which the Administrator completes a review of the notification program under subparagraph (A)(ii).

(C)

Withdrawal of authorization

If the Administrator, after conducting a public hearing, determines that a State is not administering and enforcing a State notification program authorized under subparagraph (A)(ii) in accordance with the requirements of this paragraph, the Administrator shall so notify the State and, if appropriate corrective action is not taken within a reasonable time, not to exceed 90 days, the Administrator shall withdraw authorization of such program and enforce the requirements of subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (2) with respect to the State.

(7)

Special rules concerning application of notification requirements

After the last day of the 30-day period beginning on the date of promulgation of regulations under paragraph (5), the requirements of subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (2) shall—

(A)

apply to the owner or operator of a publicly owned treatment works and be subject to enforcement under section 309; and

(B)

supersede any notification requirements contained in a permit issued under this section for the treatment works to the extent that the notification requirements are less stringent than the notification requirements of subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (2), until such date as a permit is issued, renewed, or modified under this section for the treatment works in accordance with paragraph (2).

.

4.

Eligibility for assistance

(a)

Purpose of State revolving fund

Section 601(a) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1381(a)) is amended—

(1)

by striking and the first place it appears; and

(2)

by inserting after section 320 the following: , and (4) for the implementation of requirements to monitor for sewer overflows under section 402.

(b)

Water pollution control revolving loan funds

Section 603(c) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1383(c)) is amended—

(1)

by striking and the first place it appears; and

(2)

by inserting after section 320 of this Act the following: , and (4) for the implementation of requirements to monitor for sewer overflows under section 402.

5.

Effect of Act

Nothing in this Act or an amendment made by this Act—

(1)

limits the ability of any State to implement or enforce a more stringent monitoring or notification standard than the applicable standard under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.); or

(2)

authorizes any sewer overflow, or supplants or diminishes any obligation to comply with any other requirement under this chapter or any other Federal or State law.