Enacts the "sewage pollution right to know act"; requires publicly owned treatment works to report discharges of untreated or partially treated sewage.
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:
This bill would require:
* Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) or the operator of a publicly owned sewer system to:
o immediately, but in no case later than two hours after discovery, report discharges of untreated or partially treated sewage and combined sewer overflows, to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the local health department, such report shall at a minimum include to the extent knowable, and 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 to the extent it is knowable; * a brief description of the steps taken to contain the discharge; * the location, with the maximum specificity possible; and, * the reason for the discharge
o as soon as possible, but no later than four hours from discovery of the discharge, notify the local health department, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the municipality in which the discharge occurred as well as any adjoining municipalities' CEOs that may be affected, and to the general public;
* DEC to post reported information on its website expeditiously; * DEC to prepare an annual POTW discharge report each year; and * DEC to prepare rules and regulations to provide for notification in situations that may present a threat to public health.
EFFECTS OF PRESENT LAW WHICH THIS BILL WOULD ALTER:
Adds a new § 17-0826-a to the Environmental Conservation Law.
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, fishing activities could also be adjusted accordingly.
This legislation would increase the amount of information available to the general public and would not impose a financial burden on municipalities.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
This is a new bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
None to the State.
This act shall take effect May 1, 2013.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6268--D 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, SAVINO, SERRANO, STEWART-COUSINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation -- commit- tee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recom- mitted 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 -- 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 AFTER DISCOVERY, 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 DEPART- MENT 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;EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD13941-06-2 S. 6268--D 2
(C) THE EXPECTED DURATION OF THE DISCHARGE; (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 FROM DISCOVERY OF 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 ELECTRONIC MEDIA, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ELECTRONIC MAIL OR VOICE COMMUNICATION AS DETERMINED BY THE DEPART- MENT. 3. THE DEPARTMENT, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, SHALL POST REPORTED INFORMATION ON ITS WEBSITE EXPEDITIOUSLY 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 DURATION 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 THAT ARE NECESSARY FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS SECTION. SUCH REGULATIONS AS ARE NECESSARY FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PUBLIC NOTIFICATION REQUIRE- MENTS OF SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION SHALL PROVIDE ONLY FOR PUBLIC NOTIFICATION OF DISCHARGES THAT MAY PRESENT A THREAT TO PUBLIC HEALTH, CONSIDERING THE POTENTIAL FOR EXPOSURE AND OTHER RELEVANT FACTORS. SUCH REGULATIONS MAY ALSO INCLUDE PRECONDITIONS FOR NOTIFICATION OF ANY DISCHARGE THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO A PERMIT ISSUED UNDER THIS TITLE AND DOES NOT PRESENT A THREAT TO PUBLIC HEALTH, CONSIDERING THE POTENTIAL FOR EXPOSURE AND OTHER RELEVANT FACTORS. S 3. 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.