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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.296

Introduced by   Representatives Jewett of Ripton, Bray of New Haven, Clark of Vergennes, Fisher of Lincoln, Maier of Middlebury, Nuovo of Middlebury, Oxholm of Vergennes, Sharpe of Bristol and Stevens of Shoreham

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Conservation; potable water supply; wastewater

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to make amendments to the potable water supply and wastewater systems permitting requirements prior to implementation of universal state permitting.  Under the bill, universal state permitting would go into effect when the agency of natural resources finalizes the proposed rules to the wastewater systems and the potable water supply rules.  The bill would amend the definitions of failed potable water supply and failed wastewater system and would set forth the testing requirements to determine when a wastewater system is a failed system.  The bill would also replace the majority of exemptions for single-family residences with one exemption for all buildings, structures, and campgrounds and associated water supplies and wastewater systems substantially completed prior to July 1, 2007.  In addition, the bill would authorize the agency of natural resources to pursue enforcement against designers of improperly designed or installed potable water supply or wastewater systems.  The bill would also require the agency of natural resources to amend the design flow requirements in rule to include standards for one-bedroom houses, to reflect actual wastewater system use, and to allow for the use of maximum efficiency standards.

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

§ 1972.  DEFINITIONS

For the purposes of this chapter:

* * *

(4)(A)  "Failed supply" means a potable water supply:

(i)  that is contaminated so that it is rendered not potable has been tested for contaminants listed in the rules adopted by the secretary and is found to exceed the standard for one or more of these contaminants; 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

(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, after completion of a wastewater system inspection, is determined to allow 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.

* * *

(11)  “Wastewater system inspection” means a test to determine if a wastewater system is a failed system.  The inspection shall include:

(A)  A site visit and visual inspection of the property;

(B)  Pumping and visual inspection of a septic tank or other tank, if one is present; and

(C)  A dye test of the wastewater system, conducted according to the instructions and timing requirements recommended by the manufacturer of the test.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 1973(j) is added to read:

(j)  The secretary shall be available upon the request of a property owner or licensed designer to conduct inspections or review of the site conditions or design of potable water supply and wastewater systems in order to determine compliance or the need for compliance with the rules adopted under this chapter.


Sec. 3.  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 on or 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 these rules 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 these rules 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.

(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. 4.  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. 5.  10 V.S.A. § 1976(b) is amended to read:

(b)  As of July 1, 2007 Upon adoption of rules filed after January 1, 2007, those provisions of municipal ordinances and zoning bylaws that regulate potable water supplies and wastewater systems are superseded by the provisions of this chapter and the rules adopted under this chapter.  However, to the extent that local ordinances and bylaws apply to potable water supplies and wastewater systems that are exempt from the permitting requirements of this chapter, and to the extent that those local ordinances and bylaws establish procedural requirements that are consistent with this chapter and the rules adopted under this chapter, those provisions of existing and any future ordinances or bylaws shall not be superseded in municipalities that receive delegation under this section.

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

(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 actual 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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Sec. 7.  10 V.S.A. § 1981 is added to read:

§ 1981.  WASTEWATER SYSTEM AND POTABLE WATER

               SUPPLY REPLACEMENT LOAN PROGRAM

(a)  The agency of natural resources shall establish and administer a low- to no-interest loan program for the removal and replacement of failed wastewater and potable water supply systems.

(b)  The agency of natural resources shall adopt rules to implement the

wastewater system and potable water supply loan program.  The terms of the loans shall be determined by the agency of natural resources by rule, but shall not be made in an amount in excess of $20,000.00 to any single applicant, nor at a rate to exceed two percent.  Rules adopted under this subsection shall also establish eligibility criteria based on an applicant's income.

(c)  A wastewater system and potable water supply replacement revolving loan fund shall be established for the wastewater system and potable water supply loan program within the agency of natural resources.  The fund shall contain appropriations provided for that purpose and all repayments of principal and interest of loans under this section.  Interest earnings may be used for administration of the wastewater system and potable water supply replacement program.


Sec. 8.  APPROPRIATIONS

In addition to any other funds appropriated to the agency of natural resources in fiscal year 2008, there is appropriated $1,000,000.00 in fiscal year 2008 from the general fund to the wastewater system and potable water supply replacement revolving loan fund for the purpose of establishing and administering a low- to no-interest loan program for the removal and replacement of failed wastewater and potable water supply systems.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us