Introduced by Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs
Subject: Conservation; water pollution control; sewage treatment works
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to require pollution abatement facilities to prepare and implement an operation, management, and emergency response plan for each permitted facility. The bill would also require the secretary of natural resources to post public notice of an illegal discharge that may pose a threat to human health or the environment on its website within 24 hours of the agency’s receipt of notification of the discharge.
AN ACT RELATING TO OPERATION, MANAGEMENT, AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLANS FOR POLLUTION ABATEMENT FACILITIES
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 10 V.S.A. § 1278 is added to read:
§ 1278. OPERATION, MANAGEMENT, AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE
PLANS FOR POLLUTION ABATEMENT FACILITIES
(a) Findings. The general assembly finds that:
(1) Vermont’s lakes, rivers, and streams are important assets for Vermont’s economy, and clean water for drinking, swimming, and fishing is essential for continued economic development. Safe and reliable sewage and wastewater infrastructure play a crucial role in economic development and are necessary to prevent unplanned discharges to and pollution of state waters.
(2) Tourism supports almost one-quarter of all jobs in the state. Tourists and Vermonters together spent almost $350 million per year on Lake Champlain-related recreation in recent years. Almost one-quarter of Vermont residents use Lake Champlain for their drinking water supply. Thus, clean water is necessary to maintain and further tourism in Vermont and to assure a safe source of drinking water for Vermonters.
(3) In order to protect Vermont’s lakes, rivers, and streams, the state will implement programs to prevent sewage spills to Vermont waters and to require emergency planning to limit the damage from spills which do occur.
(4) Municipalities are eligible for and are encouraged to seek loans from the state environmental revolving fund under 24 V.S.A. § 4753 for the planning for, construction of, and implementation of related management programs for sewage systems and sewage treatment and disposal plants, and it is in the interest of the public for the agency of natural resources to issue loans from the fund for such municipal planning for, construction of, and implementation of related management programs for sewage systems and sewage treatment and disposal plants.
(b) Planning requirement. The secretary shall require a pollution abatement facility, as that term is defined in section 1571 of this title, permitted under this chapter to prepare and implement an operation, management, and emergency response plan for each permitted facility. An operation, management, and emergency response plan shall include the following:
(1) A survey of the location, age, and condition of sewer lines, equipment, and facilities in the collection system that are determined to be prone to failure based on installation, age, design, and other relevant factors. The secretary of natural resources may adopt by rule requirements for the frequency with which each sewer line, equipment, or facilities in the collection system shall be surveyed.
(2) Identification of those pipes, pumps, or other elements of the facility identified under subdivision (1) of this subsection which, if one or more failed, would result in a significant release of untreated or partially treated sewage to surface waters of the state.
(3) A risk assessment of the potential damage to public health and the environment from a failure of any element identified in subdivision (2) of this subsection.
(4) A requirement that the elements identified in subdivision (2) of this subsection shall be inspected in accordance with a schedule approved by the secretary of natural resources.
(5) A schedule for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of the facility components identified in subdivision (2) of this subsection and a log of all maintenance, repair, and replacement conducted at the facility on those components.
(6) An emergency contingency plan to reduce the volume of a detected spill and to mitigate the effect of such a spill on public health and the environment.
(c) The secretary of natural resources shall post publicly notice of an illegal discharge that may pose a threat to human health or the environment on its website within 24 hours of the agency’s receipt of notification of the discharge.
(d) Rulemaking. The secretary shall adopt rules implementing this section.
Sec. 2. 10 V.S.A. § 1263(d) is amended to read:
(d) A discharge permit shall:
(1) specify the manner, nature, volume, and frequency of the discharge permitted and contain terms and conditions consistent with subsection (c) of this section;
(2) require proper operation and maintenance of any pollution abatement facility necessary in the treatment or processing of the waste by qualified personnel in accordance with standards established by the secretary. The secretary may require operators to be certified under a program established by the secretary. The secretary may require a laboratory quality assurance sample program to insure qualifications of laboratory analysts;
contain additional conditions, requirements, and restrictions as the
secretary deems necessary to preserve and protect the quality of the receiving
waters, including but not limited to requirements concerning recording,
reporting, monitoring, and inspection of the operation of waste treatment
(4) be valid for the period of time specified therein, not to exceed five years; and
(5) contain an operation, management, and emergency response plan when required under section 1278 of this title to address collection system issues that could result in a significant release of untreated or partially treated sewage to the surface waters of the state.
Sec. 3. AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES WASTEWATER
TREATMENT ASSISTANCE STUDY
By no later than January 15, 2007, the agency of natural resources shall report to the senate committee on economic development, housing, and general affairs and the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy with a proposed program for state assistance to municipal wastewater treatment works. The report shall include:
(1) A recommendation from the agency as to whether the state should purchase wastewater treatment equipment to be lent to municipalities at critical times to prevent or respond to failures at a municipal wastewater treatment plant; and
(2) A proposed program to train wastewater treatment system operators in the identification of those pipes, pumps, or other elements of the facility identified which, if one or more failed, would result in a significant release of untreated or partially treated sewage to surface waters of the state.
Sec. 4. APPROPRIATIONS
In FY 2007, $75,000.00 is appropriated from the general fund to the agency of natural resources for implementation and administration of the operation, management, and emergency response plan requirements for pollution abatement facilities under 10 V.S.A. § 1268.
Sec. 5. EFFECTIVE DATE
(a) This section and Sec. 3 (agency of natural resources wastewater treatment assistance study) of this act shall take effect on July 1, 2006.
(b) Secs. 1 (operation, management, and emergency response plans) and 2 (wastewater treatment works discharge permit requirements) of this act shall take effect July 1, 2007.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street