Summary: H.R.3948 — 103rd Congress (1993-1994)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.3948. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (03/03/1994)


Title I: Research and Related Programs

Title II: Construction Grants

Title III: Standards and Enforcement

Title IV: Permits and Licenses

Title V: General Provisions

Title VI: State Water Pollution Control Revolving Funds

Title VII: Miscellaneous Provisions

Water Quality Act of 1994 - Title I: Research and Related Programs - Amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (the Clean Water Act or CWA) to add national goal and policy provisions with respect to water quality programs.

Title II: Construction Grants - Removes limitations on the use of grants for the construction of publicly owned treatment works and authorizes the use of such grants for purposes for which grants may be made under nonpoint source management and groundwater quality programs.

(Sec. 201) Requires grant applicants to demonstrate, along with other existing requirements, that water use efficiency options have been studied and evaluated and, if cost-effective implemented.

(Sec. 202) Prohibits the approval of a grant for a treatment works unless the applicant has adopted a system of charges that will recover the costs of operation and maintenance (O&M) of treatment works within the jurisdiction. (Current provisions require the applicant to insure adequate construction and O&M.)

(Sec. 205) Requires value engineering reviews to be conducted for any treatment works construction projected in excess of $25 million (currently, $10 million).

(Sec. 206) Directs the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to make grants under title II of the CWA for the construction of treatment works to specified cities and counties.

Title III: Standards and Enforcement - Revises provisions concerning the use of innovative technology to comply with effluent reduction requirements to authorize the Administrator, if a facility achieves reductions with an innovative system that has the potential for reducing the release of pollutants to other media, to extend the date of compliance for such facility for up to three (currently, two) years if the system has industry-wide application potential.

(Sec. 302) Directs States to develop antidegradation policies.

Requires the Administrator to publish guidance for States to assist in the designation and protection of outstanding national resource waters.

(Sec. 303) Authorizes the Administrator to issue regulations to prohibit or restrict the use of mixing zones with respect to chemicals which are persistent, acutely toxic, or bioaccumulative and pose a sufficient health or environmental risk.

(Sec. 304) Requires the Administrator to publish guidance for the States on development and adoption of water quality standards applicable to arid areas.

(Sec.305) Directs the Administrator to publish regulations providing guidance for effluent limitations for discharges into the ground or groundwater that are subject to permit requirements for groundwater discharges.

(Sec. 307) Requires the Administrator to allow States to use a specified amount of funds to carry out citizen water quality monitoring programs.

(Sec. 308) Directs the Administrator, in publishing any revised list of toxic pollutants subject to effluent limitations, to take into account the bioaccumulation potential of, and magnitude and risk of exposure to, a pollutant. Requires effluent standards to take such factors into account as well.

Authorizes any person to petition the Administrator to limit or prohibit discharges of toxic pollutants or classes of such pollutants which contribute to water quality impairment.

Provides that if the Administrator issues chemical-specific numeric water quality criteria for toxic pollutants and a State has not adopted water quality standards for navigable waters within three years of the issuance of such criteria, the criteria shall be: (1) treated as adopted by the State as a water quality standard for purposes of Federal and State law; and (2) applied consistent with designated uses if the State has designated uses for such waters.

Requires the Administrator to develop additional criteria for water quality with respect to pollutants entering navigable waters with an emphasis on pollutants entering such waters from nonpoint sources.

Authorizes the Administrator to develop and issue guidance that States may use in: (1) issuing fish consumption advisories and scientific protocols for testing contamination levels of fish; (2) developing a monitoring program for contaminants in fish and shellfish; and (3) monitoring water quality at beaches and issuing health advisories with respect to beaches.

Directs the National Academy of Sciences to study and report to the Congress on the current scientific knowledge of chemicals which are present in U.S. waters and for which there is evidence that exposure to such chemicals may result in endocrine, immune, or nervous system or developmental health effects in human, fish, or wildlife.

(Sec. 309) Revises Federal enforcement and penalty provisions.

(Sec.310) Revises provisions regarding water pollution control at Federal facilities to waive the sovereign immunity of the United States with respect to any requirement, administrative authority, or sanctions that may be imposed for violations. Provides that Federal employees may be subject to criminal sanctions but exempts Federal agencies from such sanctions.

Authorizes the Administrator to commence administrative enforcement actions against Federal agencies under this Act.

Includes Federal agencies in the definition of "person."

(Sec. 311) Includes within the required elements of nonpoint source management programs: (1) a description of monitoring and assessment of program effectiveness; (2) a description of program measures that will apply to land owners and a description of land owners, activities, or areas exempt from such measures; (3) an identification of activities for which land owners will be required to implement site-specific management plans; (4) an identification of methods to inform landowners of sources of assistance for developing such plans; (5) designation of watersheds or other areas for which best management practices will be undertaken; (6) a schedule for addressing nonpoint sources of pollution; and (7) an identification of activities on Federal lands that are inconsistent with such programs.

Requires the Administrator to prepare nonpoint source management plans for States that fail to do so or whose plans are not approved.

Extends the authorization of appropriations for grants for assessment reports, nonpoint source management programs, and groundwater protection programs through FY 2000.

Directs the Administrator to publish guidance to identify best management practices and measures which may be undertaken under such management programs.

(Sec. 313) Requires the Administrator to establish a schedule under which major nonmunicipal dischargers of pollutants and significant industrial users are required to submit pollution prevention or reduction plans.

Directs the Administrator to report to the Congress on innovative and alternative technologies which are available for preventing and reducing pollution of navigable waters.

Requires each publicly owned treatment works that is required to develop a pretreatment program and each federally owned treatment works to develop toxic reduction action plans.

Directs the Administrator to publish guidance on such plans and on providing technical assistance to small communities to assist them in reducing the introduction of toxic pollutants and hazardous wastes into treatment works. Makes such plans a precondition for issuance or renewal of a national pollutant discharge elimination system permit for a treatment works that is required to have a pretreatment program.

(Sec. 314) Authorizes States to submit watershed management programs to the Administrator for approval.

Permits States implementing approved watershed management programs to transfer funds for various water pollution control programs between programs (thus, allowing States to use funds for one program for another program). Authorizes the Administrator, in any year in which a State is implementing such a program, to extend the terms of permits for discharges into watersheds or point source discharges into State waters, subject to certain conditions.

Title IV: Permits and Licenses - Revises stormwater discharge permitting provisions.

(Sec. 402) Makes stormwater discharges that are composed entirely of stormwater subject to requirements for nonpoint source management programs.

Adds to the list of discharges for which permits are required: (1) a discharge associated with any industrial activity that is subject to regulation by a State or local stormwater program and is from a construction activity which disturbs fewer than five acres of total land area and is not part of a larger common plan of development or sale; and (2) a discharge from a municipal separate storm sewer system serving an urbanized area with a population between 50,000 and 100,000.

Establishes additional requirements for permits for municipal separate storm sewer systems, including that they: (1) require reasonable progress toward attainment of water quality standards as expeditiously as possible, but by no later than December 31, 2009; and (2) have additional requirements for the control of discharges to attain or maintain such standards if they are renewed after this Act's enactment.

Authorizes the issuance of general or group permits for any discharges, other than those from municipal separate storm sewer systems, if the discharges are similar in nature and application of similar management measures will reduce pollution occurring from such discharges.

Prohibits the Administrator from requiring, as a permit condition, compliance with a numeric effluent limitation or an applicable water quality standard before December 31, 2009, except to implement management measures under regulations for municipal separate storm sewer systems.

Sets forth requirements for regulations for permits for urbanized and municipal separate storm water discharges.

(Sec. 403) Subjects existing permits for discharges from municipal combined sewer systems resulting from wet weather overflows to this Act's requirements.

Directs the Administrator to issue regulations to require permits for such discharges that provide for: (1) technology-based controls for such overflows and set forth a compliance schedule for a long-term control plan; and (2) reasonable progress toward attainment of water quality standards by no later than December 31, 2009.

Prohibits such permits from requiring compliance with a numeric effluent limitation or water quality standard before such date.

(Sec. 404) Treats a discharge of a pollutant into groundwater as a discharge into navigable waters if: (1) there is a reasonably foreseeable and demonstrable direct hydrologic connection between the ground and surface waters in the proximity of the discharge; (2) a greater than de minimis quantity of the pollutant is able to reach surface waters; and (3) no other Federal law directly addresses the activity resulting in the discharge. Bars penalties for such a discharge unless the person should have known that there is a direct hydrologic connection between the ground and surface waters in the proximity of the discharge.

(Sec. 405) Requires the Administrator to issue guidance on the beneficial use of sewage sludge.

Title V: General Provisions - Requires a CWA cost and needs estimate to be submitted quadrennially (currently, biennially) to the Congress.

(Sec. 504) Reauthorizes the CWA through FY 2000.

(Sec. 505) Requires the Administrator to make grants to Indian tribes to pay the full cost of sewage treatment and nonpoint source management projects. Increases amounts to be reserved for Indian tribes for such projects. Permits State water pollution control revolving funds (SRFs) to be used for assistance to Indian tribes.

Title VI: State Water Pollution Control Revolving Funds - Authorizes SRFs to be used for water use efficiency measures whose principal purpose is improving or protecting water quality.

(Sec. 602) Requires the Administrator to establish simplified procedures for small communities to obtain assistance from SRFs.

(Sec.603) Provides for an extended repayment period for loans made from SRFs for service areas in which the average annual residential sewage treatment charge, after completion of a project, will be greater than 1.25 percent of the median family income for such area. Authorizes negative interest rates for such loans.

Permits SRFs to be used to provide technical and planning assistance to small communities.

(Sec. 605) Extends the authorization of appropriations for the SRF program through FY 2000.

Title VII: Miscellaneous Provisions - Authorizes the Administrator to provide financial assistance to States for planning, design, and construction of international wastewater treatment works in the vicinity of the U.S.-Mexican border. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 702) Authorizes the Administrator to make grants to States along such border to provide assistance for planning, design, and construction of treatment works to provide wastewater service to colonias. Makes funds appropriated before this Act's enactment available for such purposes.

(Sec. 703) Requires the Administrator to study and report to the Congress on pollutants to navigable waters which originate from mobile sources and impair or threaten water quality and to submit recommendations for reducing pollution from such sources.