This bill has been amended

Bill S6268-2011

Establishes the "sewage pollution right to know act"

Enacts the "sewage pollution right to know act"; requires publicly owned treatment works to report discharges of untreated or partially treated sewage.

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  • Jan 18, 2012: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6268

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to establishing the sewage pollution right to know act

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill would ensure that the public would be notified of raw sewage overflows in order to protect public health.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 provides that this act shall be known as the "sewage pollution right to know act."

Section 2 provides legislative intent, including descriptions of what reportable spills include as well as stating that the New York State Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation must be promptly notified in the event of a spill.

Section 3 contains definitions of "sewage treatment plant," "sewage spill," "SPEDES permit," and "violation or exceedance." It also directs the owner or operator of any sewage treatment plant to notify the commissioner of any violation or exceedance who must then notify the commissioner of health, all affected cities, towns, communities and/or village municipalities as well as the general public within twenty-four hours.

The notification must include the volume and treated state of the sewage spill, the date and time of the sewage spill, the expected duration of the sewage spill, the location and whether it is contained, all chemicals and agents applied to absorb the sewage spill, the material safety data sheet, any health/safety/welfare/environmental concerns related to exposure, information to residents as to safety precautions, method of containment, website addresses and any other information deemed relevant by the department of environmental conservation or the New York state department of health.

The department of environmental conservation, in consultation with the New York state department of health, will produce an annual report on violations and exceedances in the prior calendar year. The report is to include total number of violations or exceedances, details of each to include: the volume and treated state of the respective sewage spill, the duration, the location, any remedial responses taken to rectify the violation or exceedance and lastly any actions taken to mitigate impacts and avoid further violations.

Section 4 gives the severability clause.

Section 5 contains the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: The purpose for this legislation is to provide the public with more information about sewage spills in a timely manner and in an effective way.

Currently sewage spills have occurred but the public was not notified about these overflows and have been out swimming, fishing, boating, etc in water filled with potential life threatening bacteria, toxins, pathogens and chemicals. Prompt notification of any sewage spills, violations or exceedance will initiate proactive and preventative measures to alert the public of all such concerns that may affect waterway uses and activities including but not limited to risks to commercial and recreational fishing and shellfish harvesting, as well as recreational uses such as swimming, diving and water skiing.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall have become a law. Effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date is authorized to be made on or before such date.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6268 IN SENATE January 18, 2012 ___________
Introduced by Sen. GRISANTI -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to establishing the sewage pollution right to know act THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "sewage pollution right to know act". S 2. Legislative intent. Spills or discharges of: sewage; waste; substandard effluent or wastewater; contaminants and pollutants; sludge; suspended and settable solids; chemicals such as ammonia and chlorine; excessive nutrients, pathogens, bacteria or toxins such as mercury; non-indigenous compounds; and any related violations or exceedance of presiding environmental law all raise public health, safety, and envi- ronmental concerns. Prompt notification of such events will initiate proactive and preventative measures to alert the public of all such concerns that may affect waterway uses and activities including but not limited to risks to commercial and recreational fishing and shellfish harvesting, as well as recreational uses such as swimming, diving and water skiing. The New York State Department of Health and the New York State Depart- ment of Environmental Conservation (DEC) shall be notified so necessary remedial action by the DEC may be reviewed and implemented. S 3. The environmental conservation law is amended by adding a new section 17-0826-a to read as follows: S 17-0826-A. SEWAGE POLLUTION MANDATORY NOTIFICATION. 1. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING TERMS SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING MEANINGS: (A) "SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT" SHALL MEAN ANY SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT, WATER POLLUTION CONTROL PLANT, RELATED PUMPING STATION, UTILITY OR OTHER PUBLIC WORKS FACILITY. (B) "SEWAGE SPILL" SHALL MEAN ANY DISCHARGE OF: WASTE; SUBSTANDARD EFFLUENT OR WASTEWATER; CONTAMINANTS OR POLLUTANTS; SLUDGE, SUSPENDED AND SETTABLE SOLIDS; AND CHEMICALS, NUTRIENTS, PATHOGENS, TOXINS,
NON-INDIGENOUS COMPOUNDS; AND ALL RELATED VIOLATIONS, EXCURSIONS OR INFRACTIONS OF THIS CHAPTER, INITIATING PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, WELFARE OR ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS, TO A WATERWAY SITUATED, TOUCHING OR OTHERWISE EXISTING WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES AND ENVIRONMENTS OF THE STATE. (C) "SPDES PERMIT" SHALL MEAN A STATE POLLUTANT DISCHARGE ELIMINATION SYSTEM PERMIT ISSUED PURSUANT TO THIS TITLE TO A SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT. (D) "VIOLATION OR EXCEEDANCE" SHALL MEAN AND INCLUDE ANY AND ALL VISI- BLE DEMONSTRATIVE, QUANTITATIVELY DETERMINABLE INFRACTIONS, EXCURSIONS, OR OTHERWISE MARKED INCREASE IN PARAMETERS MEASURED PURSUANT TO THIS CHAPTER INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO SPDES REGULATIONS, LIMITATIONS AND RESTRICTIONS, RESULTING FROM A SEWAGE SPILL THAT MAY INITIATE PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, WELFARE OR ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS ORIGINATING AT A SEWAGE TREATMENT PLAN, WATER POLLUTION CONTROL PLANT, WASTEWATER TREAT- MENT FACILITY, RELATED PUMPING STATION, UTILITY OR OTHER PUBLIC WORKS FACILITY. 2. (A) THE OWNER OR OPERATOR OF ANY SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT SHALL IMME- DIATELY NOTIFY THE COMMISSIONER OF ANY VIOLATION OR EXCEEDANCE. (B) WITHIN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS OF A VIOLATION OR EXCEEDANCE, THE COMMIS- SIONER SHALL, VIA ALL REASONABLE AND PRUDENT MEANS POSSIBLE, NOTIFY: (I) THE COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK; (II) ALL AFFECTED CITIES, TOWNS, COMMUNITIES AND/OR VILLAGE MUNICI- PALITIES WHERE THE VIOLATION OR EXCEEDANCE OCCURRED; AND (III) THE GENERAL PUBLIC BY POSTING ELECTRONICALLY SUCH NOTIFICATION ON THE DEPARTMENT'S WEBSITE. 3. THE MANDATORY NOTIFICATION REQUIRED PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO: (A) THE VOLUME AND TREATED STATE OF THE SEWAGE SPILL; (B) THE DATE AND TIME OF THE SEWAGE SPILL; (C) THE EXPECTED DURATION OF THE SEWAGE SPILL TO THE EXTENT IT IS KNOWABLE AND A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE STEPS BEING TAKEN TO CONTAIN IT; (D) THE LOCATION, WITH THE MAXIMUM SPECIFICITY THAT IS PRUDENTLY POSSIBLE, OF THE LOCATION OF THE SEWAGE SPILL, INCLUDING WHETHER IT IS CONTAINED WITHIN THE SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT, HAS ESCAPED INTO SURROUND- ING NEIGHBORHOODS OR THE ENVIRONMENT; (E) ALL CHEMICALS AND AGENTS APPLIED TO ABSORB THE SEWAGE SPILL; (F) THE MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET FOR SUCH CHEMICALS OR AGENTS POSTED ON THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH WEBSITE; (G) ANY HEALTH, SAFETY, WELFARE OR ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS RELATING TO THE SEWAGE SPILL OR EXPOSURE THERETO INVOLVED IN THE SEWAGE SPILL; (H) INFORMATION TO RESIDENTS AS TO SAFETY PRECAUTIONS; (I) THE METHOD OF CONTAINMENT, IF ANY; (J) THE WEBSITE ADDRESSES OF THE DEPARTMENT AND THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH; AND (K) ANY OTHER INFORMATION DEEMED RELEVANT BY THE DEPARTMENT OR THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH. 4. THE DEPARTMENT, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, SHALL PRODUCE AN ANNUAL REPORT ON VIOLATIONS AND EXCEEDANCES IN THE PRIOR CALENDAR YEAR. SUCH REPORT SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMIT- ED TO: (A) THE TOTAL NUMBER OF VIOLATIONS OR EXCEEDANCES AND WHETHER SUCH VIOLATIONS OR EXCEEDANCES HAVE BEEN RECTIFIED; (B) DETAILS OF EACH VIOLATION OR EXCEEDANCE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMIT- ED TO: (I) THE VOLUME AND TREATED STATE OF THE RESPECTIVE SEWAGE SPILL; (II) THE DURATION OF SUCH VIOLATION OR EXCEEDANCE; (III) THE LOCATION OF SUCH VIOLATION OR EXCEEDANCE;
(IV) ANY REMEDIAL RESPONSES TAKEN TO RECTIFY THE VIOLATION OR EXCEE- DANCE; AND (V) ANY ACTIONS TAKEN TO MITIGATE IMPACTS AND AVOID FURTHER VIOLATIONS OR EXCEEDANCES AT THE SITE. S 4. Severability. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section, or part of this act or the application thereof to any person, individual, corporation, firm, partnership, entity, or circumstance shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unconstitutional, such order or judgment shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section, or part of this act, or in its application to the person, individual, corporation, firm, partnership, entity, or circumstance directly involved in the controversy in which such order or judgement shall be rendered. S 5. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall have become a law. Effective immediately, the addition, amend- ment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implemen- tation of this act on its effective date is authorized to be made on or before such date.

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