Summary: H.R.961 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (05/16/1995)


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

Title VIII: Wetlands Conservation and Management

Title IX: Navigational Dredging

Title X: Additional Provisions

Clean Water Amendments of 1995 - 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.

(Sec. 102) Authorizes the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in carrying out national water pollution prevention programs, to: (1) conduct and promote comprehensive programs of basic water pollution research; and (2) make grants to local governments for carrying out water pollution prevention research, investigations, training, and information programs.

Authorizes the Administrator to: (1) make grants to States, local governments, and nonprofit organizations to provide technical assistance and training to rural and small publicly owned treatment works (POTWs); (2) disseminate information to rural, small, and disadvantaged communities with respect to planning, design, construction, and operation of treatment works; and (3) make grants to States to provide assistance for planning, design, and construction of treatment works and alternative wastewater treatment systems to provide wastewater services to rural communities of 3,000 or less that are not currently served by sewage collection or wastewater treatment services and are severely economically disadvantaged.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1996 through 2000 for carrying out the grant programs described by this section. Reduces the authorization for grants to States and localities for pollution prevention activities from $50 million per year to $21.2 million.

(Sec. 103) Authorizes appropriations through FY 2000 for grants to States and interstate agencies for assistance in administering pollution control programs.

(Sec. 104) Revises provisions regarding mine water pollution control to require the Administrator to establish a program to demonstrate the efficacy of measures for abatement of the causes and treatment of the effects of acidic and toxic mine drainage within qualified hydrologic units affected by past coal mining practices. Authorizes States, Federal entities, and Indian tribes to apply for grants for such projects.

(Sec. 105) Revises provisions regarding Alaska village demonstration projects to authorize the Administrator to make grants for: (1) the development and construction of facilities which provide sanitation services for rural and Native Alaska villages; (2) training, technical assistance, and educational programs relating to operation and maintenance of such services in such villages; and (3) reasonable costs of administering and managing such programs. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 106) Extends the authorization of appropriations for the Chesapeake Bay Program and related interstate development plan grants through FY 2000.

(Sec. 107) Replaces provisions regarding the Great Lakes Research Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with those establishing an interagency Great Lakes Research Council.

Directs the Council to: (1) promote the coordination of Federal Great Lakes research activities to avoid duplication and ensure effectiveness in achieving protection of the Great Lakes ecosystem through the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement; (2) prepare a document that assesses research activities and Federal expertise in such activities needed to fulfill Agreement goals; (3) identify topics for and participate in workshops and conferences on Great Lakes research issues; (4) make recommendations for the uniform collection of data for enhancing research and management protocols relating to the Great Lakes ecosystem; (5) advise in improving the integration of multimedia data concerning the ecosystem and in efforts to establish a multimedia data base for the ecosystem; and (6) ensure that findings and information regarding such research are disseminated in a timely manner.

Directs the Administrator, acting through the Great Lakes National Program Office, to conduct at least three pilot projects involving promising technologies and practices to remedy contaminated sediments at sites in the Great Lakes system.

Gives priority for projects to: (1) the Ashtabula River in Ohio; (2) the Buffalo River in New York; (3) Duluth and Superior Harbor in Minnesota; (4) the Fox River in Wisconsin; (5) the Grand Calumet River in Indiana; and (6) Saginaw Bay in Michigan.

Permits the Administrator to conduct additional projects at other sites in the Great Lakes System.

Authorizes appropriations.

Permits the Administrator to provide technical information and assistance involving the remediation of contaminated sediments upon request.

Authorizes appropriations.

Extends the authorization of appropriations for: (1) Great Lakes research and management planning through FY 1998; and (2) the Great Lakes water quality program through FY 2000.

Title II: Construction Grants - Removes limitations on the use of grants for the construction of POTWs and authorizes the use of such grants for purposes for which grants may be made under nonpoint source management and groundwater quality programs. Provides for procedures to expedite the retroactive eligibility and provision of grants for facilities already under construction.

(Sec. 202) Authorizes the Administrator to negotiate an annual budget with a State for purposes of administering a closeout of the State's construction grants program.

(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) Requires the Administrator to make grants for construction of treatment works to serve coastal localities. Earmarks amounts for water infrastructure improvements in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Bristol County, Massachusetts, and for localities that meet specified need and hardship criteria.

Directs the Administrator to make grants to States for such purposes to serve small communities (fewer than 75,000).

Authorizes appropriations but requires at least $3 billion to be appropriated for FY 1996 under title VI of the CWA in order for the authorization to be effective.

Title III: Standards and Enforcement - Prohibits discharges from, or affected by, remining operations from exceeding State water quality standards except where monitoring demonstrates that the receiving waters do not meet such standards prior to commencement of remining and where the applicant demonstrates that identified measures will be utilized to improve the existing quality of the receiving waters. (Current law provides no exception.)

Deems certain existing coal remining operations to be in compliance with specified CWA requirements, provided certain conditions are met.

(Sec. 302) Revises provisions regarding the extension of compliance deadlines for facilities that comply with effluent limitations through the use of innovative production processes. Provides for a maximum extension of three years for point sources for purposes of encouraging use of innovative pollution prevention technologies. (Current law provides for a maximum two-year extension for facilities that use such processes and meet other specified criteria.) Makes conforming amendments to provisions regarding innovative pretreatment systems.

Requires the Administrator or State, upon extending the deadline for point source compliance and encouraging the development and use of an innovative pollution prevention technology, to encourage the use of technology produced in the United States.

Reduces or eliminates penalties for violations during extension periods due to the unexpected failure of an innovative process.

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

Specifies that nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the Administrator or a State to enforce, place conditions on, or otherwise regulate emissions into the air or the treatment, storage, or disposal of solid waste or require or enforce conditions on the manufacturing or processing of a chemical substance or mixture in any permit issued under this Act.

Authorizes the Administrator, at the request of the permittee, to issue a discharge permit modifying effluent limitations or other specified requirements if: (1) pollution prevention measures together with such modifications will achieve an overall reduction in emissions to the environment that is greater than that otherwise achievable if the source complied with unmodified requirements; or (2) the owner or operator of the discharge source has entered into an agreement with any other source in the same watershed to implement pollution reduction controls beyond those required by law and such controls will result in greater overall reduction in discharges to the watershed. Subjects pollution reduction control modifications to State approval.

Permits the renewal of a permit with less stringent effluent limitations than the original permit if the permittee is taking pollution prevention or water conservation measures that produce a net environmental benefit.

Sets forth: (1) limitations on modifications; and (2) conditions under which the Administrator may not require a State to conduct an antidegradation review.

Directs the Administrator to publish guidance for determining whether a modification of an otherwise applicable limitation or standard will achieve an overall reduction in discharges to the watershed and result in an overall net benefit to the environment.

(Sec. 303) Prohibits the establishment of any water quality standard where there is no relationship between the costs and anticipated benefits of attaining such standard.

Directs State Governors or water pollution control agencies to hold public hearings for purposes of reviewing, modifying, or adopting water quality standards at least once every five (currently, three) years.

Requires public State reviews of water quality standards that include water quality criteria issued or revised by the Administrator to contain the Administrator's estimates of costs of compliance with the criteria and State comments on such estimates.

Directs the Administrator to revise regulations regarding designation of use of waters by States.

(Sec. 304) Requires criteria for whole effluent toxicity based on laboratory biological monitoring or assessment methods to employ an aquatic species that is indigenous to the type of waters covered by such criteria, a species that is representative of such a species, or an appropriate species that indicates the toxicity of the effluent in the receiving waters and to take into account the accepted variability associated with such methods.

Requires permits that require such monitoring or testing to establish procedures for responding to an exceedance of whole effluent toxicity criteria. Provides that failures of such tests shall not result in findings of violation except where a permittee has failed to comply with procedures. Establishes conditions under which permittees may discontinue such procedures.

(Sec. 305) Sets forth factors to be considered by States with respect to standards for constructed water conveyances.

Directs the Administrator to develop criteria for ephemeral and effluent-dependent streams and guidance to States on water quality standards for such streams.

(Sec. 306) Requires States, to the extent and according to schedules the States determine necessary to achieve reasonable progress toward the attainment or maintenance of water quality standards, to establish maximum daily loads for pollutants discharged into waters for which effluent limitations are not stringent enough. (Current law requires States to establish such loads and such requirement is not subject to State determination of reasonable progress.)

Permits maximum loads to reflect load reductions the State expects will be realized over time resulting from anticipated implementation of best management practices, storm water controls, or other source controls so long as such loads are established at levels necessary to implement water quality standards by December 31, 2015.

(Sec. 307) Directs the Administrator to publish a certification every five years that water quality criteria reflect the best scientific knowledge. Requires updates of current criteria. Directs the Administrator to revise and publish criteria for ammonia, chronic whole effluent toxicity, and metals to allow such certification to be made. Specifies that, in the case of ammonia, the Administrator shall revise the criteria only to the extent that the current criteria are more stringent than necessary to achieve the objectives of the CWA.

Requires the Administrator to consider addressing contaminants regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act in developing and revising such criteria. Requires compliance cost estimates with respect to new or revised criteria.

Eliminates requirements for annual revision of effluent limitation regulations and pretreatment guidelines.

Continues an exemption from effluent guidelines for specified iron and steel manufacturing point sources subject to certain conditions.

Allows city, county, or local government employees or officials to be members of boards that approve discharge permit applications notwithstanding a prohibition on membership for persons who have received a significant portion of income from permit holders or applicants.

(Sec. 309) Deems any municipal wastewater treatment facility employing chemically enhanced primary treatment that discharges through an ocean outfall into an open marine environment over four miles offshore into a depth exceeding 300 feet and that is in compliance with all local and State receiving body water quality standards and subject to an ocean monitoring program to be the equivalent of a secondary treatment facility.

Requires the Administrator, with a State's concurrence, to issue a ten-year discharge permit to modify secondary treatment requirements with respect to discharges from POTWs into marine waters which are at least 150 feet deep through an ocean outfall which discharges at least one mile offshore subject to specified conditions.

Provides for modified secondary treatment requirements with respect to pollutant discharges from POTWs serving communities of 20,000 or fewer if: (1) the effluent from the facility originates primarily from domestic users; and (2) the facility utilizes a properly constructed and operated alternative treatment system equivalent to secondary treatment or will provide adequate health and environmental protection and contribute to the attainment of water quality standards.

Authorizes the Government of Puerto Rico to study the marine environment of Anasco Bay off the coast of the Mayaguez region to determine the feasibility of constructing a deepwater outfall for the POTW at Mayaguez. Provides for modification of secondary treatment requirements for such POTW if the outfall is operational within five years of this Act's enactment.

Authorizes the Administrator to grant an application for a modification with respect to the discharge into marine waters of any pollutant from a POTW serving Anchorage, Alaska, notwithstanding whether or not the treatment provided by such POTW is adequate to remove at least 30 percent of the biological oxygen demanding material.

(Sec. 310) Requires effluent standards for toxic pollutants to take into account the bioaccumulation potential of, and magnitude and risk of exposure to, a pollutant.

Requires the Administrator to develop and issue guidance that States may use in monitoring water quality at beaches and issuing health advisories with respect to beaches.

Requires any fish consumption advisories issued by the Administrator to be based upon the protocols, methodology, and findings of the Food and Drug Administration.

(Sec. 311) Authorizes POTWs with approved pretreatment programs that meet specified conditions, including compliance with effluent and air emissions limitations, to apply local limits in lieu of categorical pretreatment standards for purposes of: (1) reducing the administrative burden associated with the designation of an "industrial user" as a "categorical industrial user"; or (2) eliminating redundant or unnecessary treatment by industrial users which has little or no environmental benefit.

Prohibits the application of local limits to any industrial user in significant noncompliance with an approved pretreatment program.

(Sec. 312) Authorizes the Administrator to allow any person that introduces silver into a POTW to comply with a code of management practices for up to five years in lieu of complying with a pretreatment requirement based on an effluent limitation derived from a water quality standard for silver subject to specified conditions.

(Sec. 313) Permits (current law requires) a State to be joined as a party to a civil action brought by the United States under the CWA against a municipality located in such State.

(Sec. 314) Makes certain response plan requirements for tank vessels and specified facilities inapplicable with respect to: (1) municipal or industrial treatment works at which no greater than a de minimis quantity of oil or hazardous substances is stored; or (2) facilities that store process water mixed with a de minimis quantity of oil.

(Sec. 315) Provides for review and, if necessary, revision of regulations and standards for marine sanitation devices, taking into account improvements in technology.

(Sec. 316) 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."

Exempts water discharges from Navy nuclear propulsion facilities from the definition of "radioactive waste."

(Sec. 317) Adds Paris Twin Lakes, Illinois, Otsego Lake, New York, and Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania to the list of priority lakes for the lake water quality demonstration program (clean lakes program).

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1996 through 2000 for such program.

(Sec. 318) Directs the Administrator to require the application of the best technology available to new and existing cooling water intake structures in instances where the Administrator has determined that such a structure is having or could have a significant adverse impact on the aquatic environment. Sets forth minimum factors to be considered in identifying the best technology available for new and existing cooling water intake structures.

(Sec. 319) Revises the required elements of nonpoint source management programs and includes within such programs: (1) a schedule containing interim goals and milestones for making reasonable progress toward the attainment of standards; (2) a description of monitoring or assessment of program effectiveness; (3) an identification of activities on Federal lands that are inconsistent with such programs; and (4) an identification of goals and milestones for progress in attaining water quality standards, including a projected date for attaining such standards.

Sets forth conditions under which an agricultural producer who has voluntarily developed and is implementing an approved whole farm or ranch natural resources management plan is considered to be in compliance with requirements of State programs.

Grants States six (currently, three) months to submit revised programs in cases where modifications are required for approval.

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

Authorizes (current law requires) the Administrator to make grants to States for preparing and implementing such management programs and preparing assessment reports. Increases the maximum Federal share of the cost of such programs to 75 (currently, 60) percent of the cost incurred by a State in preparing and implementing such reports and programs.

Directs the Administrator to establish maximum and minimum grants for any fiscal year to promote equity between States and effective nonpoint source management. Sets forth limitations on the use of such grants.

Requires the Administrator to study and report to the Congress on whether the allocation of funds for such grants reflects the needs and costs of nonpoint source control measures for different nonpoint source categories and on options for better reflecting such needs and costs in the allotment of funds.

Increases the maximum amount of Federal assistance for grants to States for groundwater quality protection. Extends the authorization of appropriations for grants for assessment reports, nonpoint source management programs, and groundwater protection programs through FY 2000.

Requires Federal agencies that own or manage land or issue licenses for activities that cause nonpoint source pollution from such land to coordinate their nonpoint source control measures with State nonpoint source and watershed management programs. Provides for memoranda of understanding for such purposes.

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

Requires compliance deadlines for nonpoint source management requirements to be postponed for one year for each fiscal year for which amounts appropriated to carry out grant programs for nonpoint source pollution and groundwater quality are less than the total amounts authorized to be appropriated.

Makes revisions to the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990, including providing that a State that has not received Federal approval for the State's core coastal management program pursuant to the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 shall have 30 months from the date of approval of such program to submit a Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Program, and that any such State shall also be eligible for any extension of time for submittal of the State's nonpoint program that may be received by a State with a federally approved coastal management program. Allows the Secretary of Commerce and the Administrator to grant conditional approval to a State's program where the State requests additional time to complete the development of its program.

Provides that land application of livestock manure shall not be considered a point source and shall be subject to enforcement only under nonpoint source management provisions.

Sets limits on the authority of the Administrator to require a State to identify or establish procedures and methods to control salt water intrusion.

(Sec. 320) Extends the authorization of appropriations for National Estuary Program activities through FY 2000.

(Sec. 321) Authorizes States to submit watershed management programs to the Administrator for approval. Sets forth minimum requirements for such programs and lists activities that are eligible for assistance under the CWA.

Permits States to adopt watershed management plans to be effective for up to ten years and to include planning and implementation schedules with milestones.

Permits dischargers or sources, under approved programs, to apply for approval to offset discharge or pollutant impacts by entering into arrangements for the implementation of measures by other dischargers or sources through a pollution reduction credits trading program. Directs the Administrator to allocate sums to carry out such programs in selected watersheds throughout the country.

Authorizes the issuance of pollutant discharge permits with limitations that do not meet applicable water quality standards if: (1) the receiving water is in a watershed with an approved plan; (2) the plan includes assurances that water quality standards will be met by a specified date; and (3) the point source does not have a history of significant noncompliance with its effluent limitations under a permit. Sets forth provisions regarding permit terms.

Authorizes the Administrator to provide multipurpose grants to States with approved watershed management programs.

(Sec. 322) Requires States to submit to the Administrator for approval: (1) assessment reports on stormwater management and pollution control every five years; and (2) stormwater management and pollution control programs. Lists required elements of such programs, including plans, permit provisions, exemptions for small businesses, and schedules containing goals and milestones. Directs the Administrator, working in conjunction with the Administrator of the Small Business Administration and the Small Business Ombudsman of the EPA, to propose regulations to define "small businesses" for purposes of regulations on stormwater discharge.

Continues in effect existing municipal and industrial discharge permits until the effective date of a State program, with exceptions. Applies existing law to discharges covered by permits issued before February 4, 1987, or with respect to which an effluent guideline has been issued before that date, notwithstanding the repeal of discharge permit provisions under this Act.

Requires the Administrator to implement programs for States with unapproved programs. Permits local agencies to request technical assistance to develop such programs for a State.

Authorizes States to petition the Administrator for the convening of an interstate management conference if a State which is implementing an approved program is not meeting water quality standards as a result of stormwater pollution from another State. Requires the conference purpose to be to develop an agreement among States to reduce stormwater pollution and improve water quality. Makes this section inapplicable to pollution subject to the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act.

Requires the Administrator to establish an initiative to fund State and local demonstration programs and research to: (1) identify adverse impacts of stormwater discharges on receiving waters and the pollutants in stormwater which cause impacts; and (2) test innovative approaches to address the impacts of source controls and model management practices for runoff from municipal storm sewers. Authorizes appropriations. Extends compliance deadlines if amounts appropriated to carry out such programs are less than amounts authorized.

Subjects noncomplying dischargers to enforcement actions. Provides that stormwater discharges regulated under watershed management programs shall not be subject to this section. Sets forth provisions regarding regulation of stormwater from mineral exploration and mining sites.

Repeals provisions concerning limitations on permit requirements with respect to agricultural return flows and provisions regarding municipal and industrial stormwater discharge permits.

Excludes stormwater discharges from the definition of "point source."

Directs the Administrator to establish stormwater criteria and guidance on model management practices for State programs.

(Sec. 323) Requires the Administrator or the Secretary of the Army to publish risk assessments before issuing any: (1) standard, effluent limitation, water quality criterion or requirement, or other regulatory requirement under the CWA (other than permit or procedural requirements); or (2) guidance which, if issued as a regulatory requirement, would result in an annual increase in cost of $25 million or more.

Exempts from specific risk assessment requirements risk assessments prepared in support of a regulatory requirement that is likely to result in annual increases in cost of less than such amount.

Applies risk assessment requirements to: (1) regulatory requirements or guidance issued after the last day of the one-year period beginning on this Act's enactment date; and (2) standards, regulatory requirements, or guidance issued between February 15, 1995, and such one-year period, if likely to result in annual cost increases of $100 million or more. Requires review and, if appropriate, reissuance of requirements or guidance described in (2) above as necessary to comply with this section.

(Sec. 324) Prohibits the issuance of regulatory requirements or guidance under the CWA if it would result in an annual cost increase of $25 million or more unless the Administrator or the Secretary certifies that the requirement or guidance maximizes net benefits to society. Directs the Administrator to issue guidance for conducting benefit and cost analyses in support of such certifications. Exempts from this section: (1) the issuance of a permit; (2) the implementation of procedural requirements; and (3) water quality criteria and water quality based standards. Authorizes discretionary exemptions for requirements likely to result in annual cost increases of less than $25 million.

Requires the Administrator to publish an analysis regarding the precision and accuracy of benefit and cost estimates prepared under this section.

Title IV: Permits and Licenses - Provides that, for purposes of provisions regarding pollutant discharge permits, waste treatment systems, including retention ponds or lagoons used to meet CWA requirements for concentrated animal feeding operations, are not waters of the United States. Exempts from this Act an existing concentrated animal feeding operation that uses a natural topographic impoundment or structure on the effective date of this Act which is not hydrologically connected to any other U.S. waters as a waste treatment system or wastewater retention facility.

(Sec. 402) Extends pollutant discharge permit terms under State programs from five to ten years. Requires effluent limitations to be reviewed and revised, as appropriate, every ten years when the permit is reissued. Directs the Administrator to establish quantitation levels for pollutants based on the lowest level at which a pollutant can be reliably quantified on an interlaboratory basis for each of specified test methods. Provides that whenever a limitation for a permit issued under this section is set at a level below the quantitation level established for that pollutant for the test method specified in the permit, any measurement of the pollutant greater than the limitation but less than the quantitation level shall not be considered a violation of the permit.

(Sec. 403) Requires the Administrator to review State permit programs every three years.

(Sec. 405) Allows increased volumes of treated wastewater to be discharged into waterways as long as water quality is not degraded.

(Sec. 406) Directs the Administrator to provide credits for pollutants present in or caused by intake water such that point sources are not required to remove, reduce, or treat the amount of any pollutant in an effluent below the amount in or caused by the intake water subject to certain conditions.

(Sec. 407) Requires each permit issued for a discharge from a combined storm and sanitary sewer to conform with the combined sewer overflow control policy signed by the Administrator on April 11, 1994. Authorizes the Administrator, notwithstanding specified compliance schedules and permit limitations, to issue a permit for discharges from such sewers that includes a schedule for compliance with a long-term control plan for a term of up to 15 years. Provides for extensions of such term, as appropriate.

Modifies any consent decree or court order issued by a district court or administrative order issued by the Administrator before this Act's enactment date that establishes any deadlines or timetables for the evaluation, design, or construction of treatment works for control of discharges from municipal combined sewer systems or separate sanitary sewers to make deadlines or timetables conform with this section's policy or section 408 policy.

(Sec. 408) Directs the Administrator to publish a national control policy for municipal separate sanitary sewer overflows. Requires permits for such discharges to include a schedule for compliance with a long-term control plan for a term of up to 15 years. Provides for extensions of such 15-year period if compliance is not within the economic capability of the owner or operator. Bars the Administrator or the Attorney General from initiating any administrative or judicial civil penalty action in response to an overflow due to stormwater inflows or infiltration before the publication of such policy.

(Sec. 409) Authorizes the Administrator to issue a permit to a remediating party for discharges associated with remediation activity at abandoned or inactive mined lands. Provides for modified permits to make certain limitations in other CWA permits inapplicable. Requires permit applicants to submit remediation plans. Makes permit issuance contingent on a showing that remediation will result in improved water quality. Deems a compliance plan approved on the 90th day following the date of submission unless the Administrator notifies the remediating party before such day that the plan has been disapproved.

(Sec. 410) Directs the Administrator to approve State programs that meet Federal standards for final use or disposal of sewage sludge.

Requires the Administrator to issue guidance on the beneficial use of sewage sludge.

(Sec. 411) Directs the Administrator to issue a regulation defining "waste treatment systems."

(Sec. 412) Provides that a municipal utility that has been issued a discharge permit for discharges into the Upper Greater Miami River, Ohio, shall not be required to construct a cooling tower or operate under a thermal management plan unless: (1) the Administrator or the Governor of Ohio determines, based on scientific evidence, that such discharges result in harm to aquatic life; or (2) the utility has been denied a thermal discharge variance under the CWA.

Title V: General Provisions - Directs the Administrator to involve State, tribal, and local governments in EPA decisionmaking, priority setting, policy and guidance development, and implementation under the CWA.

(Sec. 502) Excludes waste treatment systems from the definition of "navigable waters."

(Sec. 505) Declares that nothing in this Act shall be construed to supersede or impair any State right or authority to allocate quantities of water.

(Sec. 506) Directs Federal agencies, in issuing or enforcing a regulation, an interpretation, or a guideline relating to a fat, oil, or grease under a Federal law related to water pollution control, to: (1) differentiate between and establish separate classes for petroleum and nonpetroleum oil products and oil substitutes, including animal fats, vegetable oils, and silicone fluids; and (2) apply different standards and reporting requirements to different classes of petroleum and nonpetroleum oil products and oil substitutes.

(Sec. 507) Sets up a dispute resolution process for situations where requirements of the CWA conflict with hydropower licensing regulations.

(Sec. 508) Requires a CWA cost and needs estimate to be submitted quadrennially (currently, biennially) to the Congress.

(Sec. 509) Reauthorizes the CWA through FY 2000, subject to specified limitations.

(Sec. 510) Directs the Administrator to promulgate regulations which provide for the resolution of any unreasonable consequences that may arise as a result of differing water quality standards that may be set by States and Indian tribes located on common bodies of water.

Revises provisions regarding the treatment of Indian tribes as States. Specifies that the Administrator's action does not authorize the Indian tribe to regulate lands owned in whole or in part by nonmembers of the tribe or the use of water resources on or appurtenant to such lands.

Increases the amount required to be reserved for grants for the development of waste management plans and the construction of sewage treatment works to serve Indian tribes.

(Sec. 512) Directs the Administrator to establish a Board of Audit Appeals to review and decide contested audit determinations related to grant and contract awards under the CWA. Bars the Board from reversing project cost eligibility determinations that are supported by EPA decision documents.

(Sec. 513) Expresses the sense of the Congress that all equipment and products purchased with funds made available under the CWA should be American-made. Directs the Administrator to provide to each recipient of assistance a notice describing such sense of the Congress.

Title VI: State Water Pollution Control Revolving Funds - Requires the Administrator to assist the States in establishing simplified procedures for small systems to obtain assistance from State water pollution control revolving funds (SRFs).

Broadens eligibility for SRF assistance to make all activities which have as a principal benefit the improvement or protection of water quality eligible for assistance. (Currently, assistance is restricted to specified activities.)

Provides for an extended repayment period for loans made from SRFs to disadvantaged communities. Authorizes negative interest rates for such loans.

Authorizes SRF loan guarantees for developing and implementing innovative technologies. Permits SRFs to be used to provide technical, planning, and other specified assistance to small systems.

Authorizes State or municipal agencies to sell all or part of a treatment works for which it received Federal financial assistance to a qualified private sector entity subject to specified conditions. Requires the Administrator to: (1) modify regulations and procedures to eliminate any obstacles to the construction, improvement, or operation of a treatment works by such entities; and (2) report to the Congress on any laws which must be changed to eliminate such obstacles.

(Sec. 604) Authorizes and allocates appropriations for the SRF program through FY 2000.

Title VII: Miscellaneous Provisions - Designates a specified laboratory and research facility in Duluth, Minnesota, as the John A. Blatnik National Fresh Water Quality Research Laboratory.

(Sec. 703) Authorizes the Administrator to make grants to States along the U.S.-Mexican border to provide assistance for planning, design, and construction of treatment works and appropriate connections to provide wastewater service to colonias (impoverished communities near the U.S.-Mexican border populated mainly by Hispanic immigrants). Repeals a requirement that the Federal Government provide 50 percent of the money for colonia wastewater projects. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 704) Requires the Administrator to compile information and report to the Congress on the annual savings that municipalities realize in the construction, operation, and maintenance of drinking water facilities as a result of actions taken under the CWA.

Title VIII: Wetlands Conservation and Management - Comprehensive Wetlands Conservation and Management Act of 1995 - Amends the CWA to prohibit, unless such activity is undertaken pursuant to a permit issued by the Secretary of the Army: (1) the discharge of dredged or fill material into U.S. waters, including wetlands at a specific disposal site; or (2) the draining, channelization, or excavation of wetlands.

(Sec. 803) Requires the Secretary, upon receiving permit applications, to: (1) classify as Type A wetlands that are of critical significance to the long-term conservation of the aquatic environment and meet other specified requirements; (2) classify as Type B wetlands that provide habitat for a significant population of wildlife or provide other significant wetlands functions; and (3) classify as Type C wetlands that serve marginal functions but exist in such abundance that regulation of activities is not necessary to conserve wetlands functions or are lands that do not serve significant wetlands functions.

Authorizes persons with ownership interests in property to request the Secretary to make determinations as to whether the property contains U.S. waters or is a wetland. Subjects such determinations to judicial review.

Directs the Federal Government to compensate a property owner whose use of the property has been limited by an agency action under this Act that diminishes the fair market value of the property by at least 20 percent. Requires the compensation to equal the diminution in value resulting from such action. Directs the Federal Government, at the owner's option, to buy the portion of property for fair market value if the diminution in value is greater than 50 percent.

Prohibits compensation with respect to agency actions: (1) the primary purpose of which is to prevent a public health or safety hazard or damage to specific property other than the property whose use is limited; or (2) pursuant to the Federal navigation servitude except as such servitude applies to wetlands.

Sets forth procedures for owners seeking compensation and notice requirements for agencies taking actions to limit the use of private property.

Applies compensation provisions only to surface interests or water rights, with specified exceptions for oil, gas, or mineral interests beneath or adjacent to Type A or B wetlands.

Requires the Secretary to determine whether to issue a permit for an activity in Type A wetlands based on a sequential analysis that seeks to avoid or minimize adverse actions on wetlands and compensate for losses of functions that cannot be avoided or minimized. Authorizes mitigation requirements when appropriate to prevent loss or degradation of Type A wetlands.

Permits the Secretary to issue a permit for activities in Type B wetlands if the issuance of the permit is in the public interest, balancing the foreseeable benefits and detriments resulting from the permit. Imposes requirements for mitigation when such activities result in permanent wetland loss or degradation.

Directs the Secretary to issue regulations for the establishment and oversight of mitigation banks for wetlands.

Requires the Secretary, at the option of the permit applicant, to issue permits authorizing activities in Type A and B wetlands in States with substantial conserved wetlands areas subject to the following requirements. Permits the Secretary to include conditions for minimization of adverse impacts when economically practicable. Prohibits any requirements for mitigation to compensate for adverse impacts in such permits.

Directs the Secretary, upon application by owners of economic base lands in a State with substantial conserved wetlands, to issue individual and general permits for activities in waters or wetlands. Reduces requirements to allow such lands to be beneficially used to sustain economic activity and to reflect the social and economic needs of Alaska Natives to utilize such lands.

Requires the Secretary of the Army to consult with the Secretary of Agriculture in developing wetlands mitigation requirements for agricultural lands.

Exempts specified activities from this Act's wetlands permit requirements, including certain municipal wastewater reuse operations.

Requires wetlands located on agricultural lands and associated non-agricultural lands to be delineated by the Secretary of Agriculture in accordance with the Food Security Act of 1985. Exempts from the requirements of this Act agricultural lands that are exempt from the requirements of the Food Security Act of 1985. Specifies that delineations by the Secretary of Agriculture regarding wetlands on agricultural lands and associated nonagricultural lands that have become administratively final on or before the enactment date of this title shall not be subject to further delineation unless the owner requests a new delineation by the Secretary of Agriculture.

Requires the Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture to undertake a project to identify and classify U.S. wetlands (but requires the Secretaries to obtain written permission from the owner of private property before entering such property to conduct such identification and classification).

Directs the Secretary to establish procedures pursuant to which: (1) landowners may appeal determinations of regulatory jurisdiction over a parcel of property, wetlands classifications with respect to property, or determinations that an activity does not qualify under a general permit; (2) any person may appeal a determination that a proposed activity is not exempt (non-exempt activities require permits); (3) permit applicants may appeal determinations to deny issuance of a permit or to impose a requirement under the permit; and (4) landowners or others required to restore or alter property may appeal an order to do so. Provides that persons who have filed appeals shall not be required to pay penalties or perform mitigation or restoration until the appeal has been decided.

Authorizes civil actions and prescribes penalties for permit violations.

Authorizes States to administer permit programs for activities covered by this Act, subject to the Secretary's approval. Sets forth provisions regarding the treatment of existing programs.

Deems specified activities associated with cranberry production operations to be in compliance with provisions regarding effluent limitations, subject to certain conditions.

Directs the Secretary, in implementing responsibilities under the regulatory program, to balance the objective of conserving functioning wetlands with the objectives of ensuring continued economic growth, providing essential infrastructure, maintaining strong State and local tax bases, and protecting against the diminishment of the use and value of private property. Requires the Secretary and the heads of Federal agencies to seek to minimize the effects of the regulatory program on the use and value of private property.

Directs the Secretary to develop procedures for facilitating actions necessary to respond to emergency conditions under this Act which may involve loss of life or property damage.

Provides for reevaluation of determinations of regulatory jurisdiction or permit conditions imposed before this Act's enactment upon the request of a permit holder. Authorizes modification or suspension of permits, as appropriate. Bars compensation to persons as a result of such reevaluation and continues activities in Type A wetlands without permit modification.

Sets forth conditions under which activities which were previously denied permits may be authorized.

Prohibits the Administrator from imposing any requirement or condition in a certification required under the CWA that the Secretary determines is inconsistent with this title.

Title IX: Navigational Dredging - Amends the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 to transfer specified permitting authorities regarding ocean dumping of dredged materials from the Administrator to the Secretary of the Army and to repeal specified provisions requiring the concurrence of the Administrator with respect to permit determinations.

Title X: Additional Provisions - Amends the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990 to authorize (current law requires) each State for which a management program has been approved under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 to prepare and submit to the Administrator (currently, the Secretary of Commerce and the Administrator) a Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program for approval.

Gives coastal States the choice of participating either in the Federal Coastal Zone Management program, which requires enforceable plans for controlling nonpoint source pollution, or the general Federal nonpoint source pollution program, which allows States to rely on voluntary measures.

Revises provisions regarding program submission, approval, and implementation, financial assistance, and authorization of appropriations, to grant the Administrator (currently, the Secretary) authority to take specified actions.