Enacts the "sewage pollution right to know act"; requires publicly owned treatment works to report discharges of untreated or partially treated sewage.
Ayes (13): Grisanti, Johnson, LaValle, Marcellino, Maziarz, O'Mara, Young, Avella, Espaillat, Oppenheimer, Perkins, Serrano, Stewart-Cousins
Ayes W/R (1): Little
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to creating the sewage pollution right to know act
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this bill is to increase public notice regarding certain sewage discharges.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 cites this act as the "sewage pollution right to know act."
Section 2 amends the environmental conservation law by adding a new section 11-0826-a requiring publicly owned treatment works (POTW) or the operator of a publicly owned sewer system to immediately, hut in no case later than 2 hours, report discharges of untreated or partially treated sewage, including combined sewer overflows (CSO), except partially treated sewage discharged directly from a POTW that is in compliance with a department approved plan or permit, to the department and the local health department, or if there is none, the New York state health department. Such report shall, at minimum, include, to the extent knowable with. existing systems and models:
* the volume and treated state of the discharge;
* the date and time of the discharge;
* the expected duration of the discharge;
* a brief description of the steps taken to contain the discharge except for wet weather combined sewer overflow discharges;
* the location of the discharge, with the maximum specificity possible; and
* the reason for the discharge.
Subdivision 2 provides that as soon as possible, but no later than four hours after the discharge, the POTW or operator of a publicly owned sewer system shall notify the local health department or if there is none, the New York state health department, the chief elected official or their authorized designee of the municipality in which the discharge occurred and the chief elected official or their authorized designee of any adjoining municipality that may be affected. "The same notification shall also be provided within the same timeframe to the general public, pursuant to regulations to be promulgated by the department through appropriate media as determined by the department.
Subdivision 3 provides that the department shall post reported information on its website expeditiously and prepare an annual report.
Subdivision 4 provides that the department shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary for the implementation of this section. The
department in consultation with the department of health shall further promulgate health-based rules and regulations to provide for notification in any situation that may present a threat to public health. These regulations shall authorize POTWs or operator of a publicly owned sewer system to consider input from a local health agency so long as that input is based on objective criteria.
Section 3 provides that a municipality may, but shall not be required to, expend additional local funds to implement the provisions of this act.
Section 4 provides the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Discharges of untreated or partially treated sewage include contaminants and pollutants, pathogens, bacteria and toxins raising public health, safety and environmental concerns. Current notification procedures have proven inadequate in disseminating information. Prompt notification of discharge events, including media notification, will help ensure the public has the information needed to limit recreational uses and activities such as swimming and diving. In addition, shellfish harvesting activities could also be adjusted accordingly.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to New York State or to municipalities.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect January 1, 2013. Effective immediately, the Department of Environmental Conservation is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations, as authorized by subdivision 4 of section 17-0826-a of the environmental conservation law as added by section 2 of this act, necessary for the timely implementation of this act on its effective date.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6268--C Cal. No. 594 IN SENATE January 18, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sens. GRISANTI, ADDABBO, AVELLA, DILAN, DUANE, ESPAILLAT, FUSCHILLO, GOLDEN, HASSELL-THOMPSON, KLEIN, KRUEGER, LAVALLE, MARTINS, MONTGOMERY, O'MARA, OPPENHEIMER, PARKER, SERRANO, STEWART-COUSINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee -- reported favorably from said committee, ordered to first and second report, ordered to a third reading, amended and ordered reprinted, retaining its place in the order of third reading -- again amended and ordered reprinted, retaining its place in the order of third reading AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to creating 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. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "sewage pollution right to know act". S 2. The environmental conservation law is amended by adding a new section 17-0826-a to read as follows: S 17-0826-A. MANDATORY SEWAGE RELEASE REPORTING AND NOTIFICATION BY PUBLICLY OWNED TREATMENT WORKS AND OPERATORS OF PUBLICLY OWNED SEWER SYSTEMS. 1. PUBLICLY OWNED TREATMENT WORKS OR THE OPERATOR OF A PUBLICLY OWNED SEWER SYSTEM SHALL IMMEDIATELY, BUT IN NO CASE LATER THAN TWO HOURS, REPORT DISCHARGES OF UNTREATED OR PARTIALLY TREATED SEWAGE, INCLUDING COMBINED SEWER OVERFLOWS, EXCEPT PARTIALLY TREATED SEWAGE DISCHARGED DIRECTLY FROM A PUBLICLY OWNED TREATMENT WORKS THAT IS IN COMPLIANCE WITH A DEPARTMENT APPROVED PLAN OR PERMIT, TO THE DEPARTMENT AND THE LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT, OR IF THERE IS NONE, THE NEW YORK STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT. SUCH REPORT SHALL, AT A MINIMUM, INCLUDE, TO THE EXTENT KNOWABLE WITH EXISTING SYSTEMS AND MODELS: (A) THE VOLUME AND TREATED STATE OF THE DISCHARGE; (B) THE DATE AND TIME OF THE DISCHARGE; (C) THE EXPECTED DURATION OF THE DISCHARGE;EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD13941-05-2 S. 6268--C 2
(D) A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE STEPS BEING TAKEN TO CONTAIN THE DISCHARGE EXCEPT FOR WET WEATHER COMBINED SEWER OVERFLOW DISCHARGES; (E) THE LOCATION OF THE DISCHARGE, WITH THE MAXIMUM LEVEL OF SPECIFIC- ITY POSSIBLE; AND (F) THE REASON FOR THE DISCHARGE. 2. IN ADDITION TO SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION, AS SOON AS POSSI- BLE, BUT NO LATER THAN FOUR HOURS AFTER THE DISCHARGE, THE PUBLICLY OWNED TREATMENT WORKS OR THE OPERATOR OF A PUBLICLY OWNED SEWER SYSTEM SHALL NOTIFY THE LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT OR IF THERE IS NONE, THE NEW YORK STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT, THE CHIEF ELECTED OFFICIAL OR THEIR AUTHORIZED DESIGNEE OF THE MUNICIPALITY IN WHICH THE DISCHARGE OCCURRED AND THE CHIEF ELECTED OFFICIAL OR THEIR AUTHORIZED DESIGNEE OF ANY ADJOINING MUNICIPALITY THAT MAY BE AFFECTED. THE SAME NOTIFICATION SHALL ALSO BE PROVIDED WITHIN THE SAME TIMEFRAME TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC, PURSU- ANT TO REGULATIONS TO BE PROMULGATED UNDER SUBDIVISION FOUR OF THIS SECTION THROUGH APPROPRIATE MEDIA AS DETERMINED BY THE DEPARTMENT. 3. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL POST REPORTED INFORMATION ON ITS WEBSITE EXPE- DITIOUSLY AND SHALL PREPARE A REPORT ON PUBLICLY OWNED TREATMENT WORKS AND SEWER SYSTEM DISCHARGES ANNUALLY. THE REPORT SHALL, AT A MINIMUM, INCLUDE: THE TOTAL NUMBER OF DISCHARGES, DETAILS OF SUCH DISCHARGES INCLUDING THE VOLUME AND TREATED STATE OF THE DISCHARGE, AND THE DURA- TION AND LOCATION OF EACH DISCHARGE; AS WELL AS ANY REMEDIAL RESPONSES TAKEN TO MITIGATE IMPACTS AND AVOID FURTHER DISCHARGES. 4. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS NECESSARY FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS SECTION. PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION, THE DEPARTMENT IN CONSULTATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, SHALL FURTHER PROMULGATE HEALTH-BASED RULES AND REGULATIONS TO PROVIDE FOR NOTIFICATION IN ANY SITUATION THAT MAY PRESENT A THREAT TO PUBLIC HEALTH. THESE REGULATIONS SHALL AUTHORIZE PUBLICLY OWNED TREATMENT WORKS OR THE OPERATOR OF A PUBLICLY OWNED SEWER SYSTEM TO CONSIDER INPUT FROM A LOCAL HEALTH AGENCY SO LONG AS THAT INPUT IS BASED ON OBJECTIVE CRITE- RIA. S 3. A municipality may, but shall not be required to, expend addi- tional local funds to implement the provisions of this act. S 4. This act shall take effect May 1, 2013. Effective immediately, the department of environmental conservation is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations, as authorized by subdivision 4 of section 17-0826-a of the environmental conservation law as added by section two of this act, necessary for the timely implementation of this act on its effective date.