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BILL AS PASSED BY HOUSE 2007-2008

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H.296

AN ACT RELATING TO POTABLE WATER SUPPLY AND WASTEWATER SYSTEM PERMITTING

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds that:

(1)  The agency of natural resources’ assumption on July 1, 2007 of statewide jurisdiction over the permitting program for on‑site wastewater and potable water supply systems and implementation of the rules adopted under that program are intended to protect human health and the environment, prevent the creation of health hazards or unsanitary conditions, and ensure the availability of an adequate supply of potable water.

(2)  The cost of compliance with the state on‑site wastewater systems and potable water supply rules when replacement of a failed wastewater or potable water supply system is required can be expensive and, consequently, difficult for many homeowners in Vermont to afford.

(3)  To avoid burdening homeowners or jeopardizing a homeowner’s ability to remain in his or her home, the general assembly expects the agency of commerce and community development to commit at least an additional $1 million to the regional revolving loan fund to be available for community development block grants that can be used by income‑eligible Vermont homeowners for the replacement of failed wastewater or potable water supply systems.

(4)  The agency of administration and the agency of commerce and community development should encourage other funding providers, such as the Vermont housing and conservation board and the Vermont housing finance agency, to develop programs or contribute funds to help homeowners in Vermont afford the cost of replacing failed wastewater or potable water supply systems.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 1972(4), (5), and (6) are amended to read:

§ 1972.  DEFINITIONS

For the purposes of this chapter:

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(4)(A)  “Failed supply” means a potable water supply:

(i)  that is contaminated so that it is rendered not potable has been found to exceed the standard set by the secretary in rule for one or more of the following contaminants:

(I)  total coliform;

(II)  nitrates;

(III)  nitrites;

(IV)  arsenic; or

(V)  uranium; or

(ii)  that is providing an insufficient quantity of water to maintain the permitted use of the building or structure or, if unpermitted, to maintain the usual and customary uses of the building or structure; or

(iii)  where the source, treatment, or conveyance equipment used to provide potable water is broken or inadequate the secretary affirmatively determines as not potable, due to the presence of a contaminated site, a leaking underground storage tank, or other known sources of groundwater contamination or naturally occurring contaminants, and that information has been posted on the agency of natural resources’ website; or

(iii)  the secretary affirmatively determines to be failed due to the supply providing an insufficient quantity of water to maintain the usual and customary uses of a building or structure or campground, and that information has been posted on the agency of natural resources’ website.

(B)  Notwithstanding the provisions of this subdivision, a potable water supply shall not be a failed supply if:

(i)  these effects can be and are remedied solely by minor repairs, including the repair of a broken pipe leading from a building or structure to a well, the replacement of a broken pump, repair or replacement of a mechanical component, or deepening or hydrofracturing a well; or

(ii)  these effects have lasted for only a brief period of time, the cause of the failure has been determined to be an unusual and nonrecurring event, and the supply has recovered from the state of failure.  Supplies which have recurring, continuing, or seasonal failures shall be considered to be failed supplies.

(C)  If a project is served by multiple potable water supplies, the failure of one supply will not require the issuance of a permit or permit amendment for any other supply that is not in a state of failure.

(5)(A)  “Failed system” means a wastewater system that is functioning in a manner:

(i)  that allows wastewater to be exposed to the open air, pool on the surface of the ground, discharge directly to surface water, or back up into a building or structure, unless, in any of these instances, the approved design of the system specifically requires the system to function in such a manner; or

(ii)  that results in a potable water supply being contaminated and rendered not potable or

(iii)  that presents a threat to human health; or affirmatively determined by the secretary to be a failed supply, and that information has been posted on the agency of natural resources’ website.

(B)  Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (A) of this subdivision (5), a system shall not be a failed system if:

(i)  these effects can be and are remedied solely by minor repairs, including the repair of a broken pipe leading from a building or structure to the septic tank, replacement of a cracked or broken septic tank, or replacement of a broken pump or associated valves, switches and controls; or

(ii)  these effects have lasted for only a brief period of time, the cause of the failure has been determined to be an unusual and nonrecurring event, and the system has recovered from the state of failure.  Systems which have recurring, continuing, or seasonal failures shall be considered to be failed systems.

(C)  If a project is served by multiple wastewater systems, the failure of one system will not require the issuance of a permit or permit amendment for any other system that is not in a state of failure.

(D)  A wastewater system may be determined to be a failed system by the completion of a site visit that identifies one or more of the conditions set forth in subdivision (A)(i) of this subdivision (5).

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Sec. 3.  10 V.S.A. § 1973(e) is amended to read:

(e)  No permit issued by the secretary shall be valid for a substantially completed potable water supply and wastewater system until the secretary receives a statement from an installer or a licensed designer certifying that, in the exercise of his or her reasonable professional judgment, the installation‑related information submitted is true and correct and the potable water supply and wastewater system:

(1)  were installed in accordance with:

(A)  the permitted design and all permit conditions,; or

(B)  record drawings and such record drawings are in compliance with the applicable rules, were filed with the secretary, and are in accordance with all other permit conditions;

(2)  were inspected,;

(3)  were properly tested,; and

(4)  have successfully met those performance tests.

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 1974 is amended to read:

§ 1974.  SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENCES ON THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL
  LOTS EXEMPTIONS

(a)  the provisions of this section shall apply to a single family residence on its own individual lot.

(b)(1)  A subdivided lot containing only one single family residence which required a subdivision permit but did not have one, or which had a subdivision permit but was not in compliance with its permit, is exempt from the permitting requirements of this chapter, provided that the lot was in existence as of January 1, 1999, and that the residence and its associated potable water supply and wastewater system were substantially completed as of January 1, 1999.  This exemption shall terminate if any actions listed in section 1973 of this title occur after January 1, 1999.

(2)  If a subdivision permit had been issued for the lot prior to January 1, 1999, the conditions of that permit concerning actions required to be taken after January 1, 1999, shall remain in effect, including conditions concerning operation and maintenance and transfer of ownership.

(3)  If a residence is exempt under this subsection, the exemption contained in subsection (c) of this section shall not apply.

(c)  A substantially completed single‑family residence on its own individual lot, and its substantially completed associated potable water supply and wastewater system, is exempt from the permitting requirements of this chapter, provided that the lot on which the residence is located was in existence as of the effective date of this act and was exempt from the subdivision permitting requirements that existed on that date.  This exemption shall remain in effect unless and until:

(1)  the lot is subdivided and the resulting lots are not exempt under the applicable rules in existing at the time of subdivision, or

(2)  any other action for which a permit is required under this chapter occurs after July 1, 2007.

(d)  A permit shall not be required for the addition of one or more bedrooms of a single‑family residence on its own lot when:

(1)  the addition of bedrooms is accomplished solely through the modification of the existing residence; and

(2)  the exterior of the residence is not expanded horizontally.  

(e)  A  permit is not required for the addition of one or more bedrooms or any other attached exterior horizontal expansion to a single‑family residence on its own lot that was exempt from the subdivision permitting requirements that existed on June 13, 2002, provided that:

(1)  a fully complying replacement area has been identified by a licensed designer and a diagram identifying the location of that area is certified by the designer and filed in the land records; and

(2)  no other action for which a permit is required under this chapter occurs after July 1, 2007.

(f)  Notwithstanding the language of subsections (d) and (e) of this section, if the residence has been issued a permit under chapter, the residence shall continue to comply with that permit, until the permit is amended.

Notwithstanding any other requirements of this chapter, the following projects and actions are exempt:

(1)(A)  All buildings or structures, campgrounds, and their associated potable water supplies and waste water systems that were substantially completed before January 1, 2007 and all improved and unimproved lots that were in existence before January 1, 2007.  This exemption shall remain in effect provided:

(i)  No action for which a permit is required under this chapter or the rules adopted under this chapter is taken or caused to be taken on or after January 1, 2007, unless such action is exempt under one of the other permitting exemptions listed in this section or in the rules adopted under this chapter; and

(ii)  If a permit has been issued under this chapter or the rules adopted under this chapter before January 1, 2007 that contained conditions that required actions to be taken on or after January 1, 2007, including, but not limited to, conditions concerning operation and maintenance and transfer of ownership, the permittee continues to comply with those permit conditions.

(B)  If a permit or permit amendment is required because the potable water supply or wastewater system has failed, the secretary may issue a permit that allows for a variance in accordance with the standards contained in section 1973 of this chapter, the rules adopted under this chapter, and the rules adopted under chapter 56 of this title.

(C)  An owner of a single‑family residence that qualified on January 1, 2007 for the exemption set forth in subdivision (1)(A) of this section shall not be subject to administrative or civil penalties under chapters 201 and 211 of this title for a violation of this chapter or rules adopted under this chapter when the owner believes the supply or system meets the definition of a failed supply or failed system, provided that the owner:

(i)  Conducts or contracts for an inspection of the supply or system;

(ii)  Notifies the secretary of natural resources of the results of the inspection; and

(iii)  Has not taken or caused to be taken any other action after January 1, 2007 for which a permit would be required under this chapter or the rules adopted under this chapter.

(g)(2)  Primitive camps with no interior plumbing consisting of more than a sink with water, that are used no more than three consecutive weeks per year and no more than a total of 60 days per year, shall be exempt.  This exemption does not apply to seasonal camps.

Sec. 5.  10 V.S.A. § 1975(f) is amended to read:

(f)  If the secretary determines that a design or installation certification submitted under this chapter certified information that is untrue or incorrect, or does not reflect the exercise of reasonable professional judgment and, as a result, a potable water supply or wastewater system that has been built is in noncompliance with the rules adopted under this chapter, the person who signed the statement may be subject to penalties and required to take all actions necessary to remediate the situation in accordance with the provisions of chapters 201 and 211 of this title  If a person who signs a design or installation certification submitted under this chapter certifies a design, installation or related design or installation information and, as a result of the person’s failure to exercise reasonable professional judgment, submits design or installation information that is untrue or incorrect, or submits a design or installs a wastewater system or potable water supply that does not comply with the rules adopted under this chapter, the person who signed the certification may be subject to penalties and required to take all actions to remediate the affected project in accordance with the provisions of chapters 201 and 211 of this title.

Sec. 6.  10 V.S.A. § 1978 is amended to read:

§ 1978.  RULES

(a)  The secretary shall adopt rules, in accordance with chapter 25 of Title 3, necessary for the administration of this chapter.  These rules shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1)  performance standards for wastewater systems, including performance standards;

(2)  design flow standards for potable water supplies and wastewater systems, including:

(A)  design flow standards for a single‑family residence on its own lot with a minimum of one bedroom; and

(B)  an amendment of the design flow standards for wastewater systems that updates the design flow requirements in the agency of natural resources wastewater system and potable supply rules in order to reflect existing or proposed use of a wastewater system;

(C)  design flow standards that allow for the use of maximum efficiency measures, such as waterless toilets, composting toilets, and other innovative or alternative designs;

(3)  design requirements, including isolation distances and site conditions or situations when identification or design of a fully complying replacement area is not required;

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(d)  The secretary shall not adopt rules under this chapter that allow wastewater systems that serve lots created after the effective date of this act to be constructed on ground with a maximum slope in excess of 20 percent.  This limitation shall not apply to replacement wastewater systems.

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Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us