Bill S6986-2013

Relates to the water quality standards for coliform; repealer

Relates to the water quality standards for coliform.

Details

Actions

  • May 21, 2014: referred to environmental conservation
  • May 21, 2014: DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • May 21, 2014: PASSED SENATE
  • May 19, 2014: ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • May 14, 2014: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • May 13, 2014: 1ST REPORT CAL.632
  • Apr 11, 2014: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Meetings

Calendars

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Environmental Conservation - May 13, 2014
Ayes (10): Grisanti, Little, Marcellino, Maziarz, Young, O'Brien, Espaillat, Serrano, Latimer, Tkaczyk
Ayes W/R (2): Avella, O'Mara
Nays (1): LaValle

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6986

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to the water quality standards for coliform; and to repeal certain provisions of such law relating thereto

Purpose of the Bill:

The bill would regulated water quality standards for coliform.

Summary of Provisions:

Section 1 of the bill would repeal subparagraphs 1, 2, 4, and 7 of Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) § 17-0301(5)(c) which establish specific coliform standards for sources of water supply used for drinking, culinary or food processing, recreation, and shellfishing for market purposes. This section would also renumber subparagraphs 3, 5, and 6 as subparagraphs 1, 2, and 3.

Section 2 of the bill would amend the opening paragraph and subparagraphs 1 and 3 of ECL § 17-0301(5)(c), as renumbered by Section 1 of the bill, to make technical and conforming changes.

Section 3 of the bill provides for an immediate effective date.

Existing Law:

ECL § 17-0301 gives the Department of Environment Conservation (DEC) with the regulatory authority to adopt standards of water quality and purity to protect the public use and benefit of the State's waters. It provides DEC with the discretion to select which pollutants to regulate and the appropriate standards to apply, except for coliform. Unlike other pollutants, the standards for coliform are specifically set forth in in the several subparagraphs of ECL § 17-0301(5)(c).

Legislative History:

This is a new bill.

Statement in Support:

Currently, criteria for pollutants for which DEC establishes water quality standards are established in regulation. Coliform levels, however, are fixed by statute. The specificity in the current law with regard to coliform is unnecessary and imposes standards that are contrary to currently accepted science for protecting public health and the quality of the State's waters for swimming.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recommended since 1986 that different indicators of fecal bacteria (other than coliform), and at different levels than that prescribed in the ECL, are most appropriate for the protection of human health for primary contact recreation (swimming). EPA further revised their Recreational Water Quality Criteria recommendations in November 2012; DEC is required by the federal Clean Water Act to adopt EPA's criteria by December 2015. These new EPA criteria are in conflict with the specific numeric criteria for coliform set forth in the ECL. The EPA

criteria are based on the most recent science and are more accurate predictors of human gastrointestinal illness resulting from swimming than the long-outdated coliform standards in the ECL.

Standards for indicators of fecal bacteria are already in two separate sections of DEC's regulations at 6 NYCRR Part 703, "Surface Water and Groundwater Quality Standards and Groundwater Effluent Limitations" and 6 NYCRR Part 47, "Certification of Shellfish Lands." ECL § 13-0307 directs DEC to ascertain the sanitary condition of all shellfish lands in the marine district in accordance with regulations promulgated pursuant to ECL § 13-0319. DEC has promulgated standards for the sanitary conditions of shellfish lands for several decades in order to protect public health and remain in compliance with the requirements of the National Shellfish Sanitation Program. Any changes to the standards set forth in regulation would be subject to State Administrative Procedure Act requirements, including notice of any proposed changes and the opportunity for public comment.

The bill would result in no lessening of protection for the State's waters and their best usage for swimming and. shellfishing for human consumption. Adopting coliform standards through rulemaking (which includes public comment) provides greater flexibility for DEC to set the most appropriate standards to protect water quality and human health, reflecting the most recent science and EPA's recommendations, oversight and approval of New York's water quality standards program.

Budget Implications:

None.

Local impact:

The bill would have no impact on local governments.

Effective Date:

The bill would take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6986 IN SENATE April 11, 2014 ___________
Introduced by Sen. GRISANTI -- (at request of the Department of Environ- mental Conservation) -- 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 the water quality standards for coliform; and to repeal certain provisions of such law relating thereto THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subparagraphs 1, 2, 4 and 7 of paragraph c of subdivision 5 of section 17-0301 of the environmental conservation law are REPEALED and subparagraphs 3, 5 and 6 are renumbered subparagraphs 1, 2 and 3. S 2. The opening paragraph and subparagraphs 1 and 3 of paragraph c of subdivision 5 of section 17-0301 of the environmental conservation law, subparagraphs 1 and 3 as renumbered by section one of this act, are amended to read as follows: [Organisms of the coliform group or any other organisms] PATHOGENS OR INDICATORS FOR PATHOGENS from wastes of animal or human origin shall not exceed the [following prescribed] standards for usage of the classified waters of the state[:]. (1) [Sources of water] SURFACE WATERS USED for bathing, fishing, boat- ing, and any other usages except shellfishing for market purposes in tidal salt waters[: For such sources the monthly median coliform value for one hundred ml of sample shall not exceed two thousand four hundred from a minimum of five examinations and provided that not more than twenty percent of the samples shall exceed a coliform value of five thousand for one hundred ml of sample and provided further that surface waters] receiving treated sewage discharges which pass through residen- tial communities where there is a potential exposure of population to the surface waters shall be protected by the requirement that all [effluents] EFFLUENT from sewage treatment plants THAT ARE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE A MINIMUM OF EFFECTIVE SECONDARY TREATMENT shall be adequately disinfected prior to discharge into the surface waters [in order that the monthly median coliform value for one hundred ml of sample shall not exceed two thousand four hundred from a minimum of five examinations and
provided that not more than twenty percent of the samples shall exceed a coliform value of five thousand for one hundred ml of sample]
SUCH THAT THE WATER QUALITY STANDARDS FOR PATHOGENS OR INDICATORS FOR PATHOGENS THAT APPLY TO THE RECEIVING WATER ARE ALSO MET IN THE EFFLUENT. (3) When the [above prescribed] standards are exceeded the commission- er shall make an investigation to determine the source or sources of pollution. When it shall appear to the commissioner after investigation, that there has been a violation of any of the provisions of titles 1 to 11, inclusive, and title 19 of this article he OR SHE shall take further proceedings as provided in section 17-0905. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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