Text: S.2080 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate (09/24/2008)

Calendar No. 1075

110th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 2080

[Report No. 110–497]


To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to ensure that sewage treatment plants monitor for and report discharges of raw sewage, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

September 20, 2007

Mr. Lautenberg (for himself, Mr. Menendez, Mr. Cardin, Mr. Whitehouse, and Mrs. Clinton) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works

September 24 (legislative day, September 17), 2008

Reported by Mrs. Boxer, with an amendment

[Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic]


A BILL

To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to ensure that sewage treatment plants monitor for and report discharges of raw sewage, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Sewage Overflow Right-to-Know Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds that—

(1) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that there are 7,100,000 cases of mild to moderate, and 560,000 cases of moderate to severe, infectious waterborne disease in the United States each year;

(2) inadequately-treated sewage contains bacteria, viruses, parasites, and worms that make individuals ill;

(3) individuals who ingest or inhale inadequately-treated sewage can contract gastroenteritis, hepatitis, giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, dysentery, and other gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases;

(4) the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that between 1,800,000 and 3,500,000 individuals in the United States become ill every year just from swimming in water contaminated by sanitary sewer overflows;

(5) many sewer systems do not routinely monitor to detect sewer overflows;

(6) public health authorities are not routinely notified of sewer overflows that threaten public health;

(7) better monitoring, reporting, and public notification of sewer overflows could prevent millions of individuals in the United States from becoming ill each year;

(8) sewage treatment operators perform an important job that—

(A) helps protect the public; and

(B) is critical in achieving the goals of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.);

(9) the wastewater systems of the United States are aging and require significant investment in traditional and green infrastructure to prevent the occurrence of sewer overflows; and

(10) public notification of sewer overflows that threaten public health will—

(A) protect the public; and

(B) increase recognition and support for needed investment in infrastructure to address contaminated stormwater and sewer overflows.

SEC. 3. Definitions.

Section 502 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1362) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(25) SANITARY SEWER OVERFLOW.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘sanitary sewer overflow’ means an overflow, spill, release, or diversion of wastewater from a sanitary sewer system.

“(B) INCLUSIONS.—The term ‘sanitary sewer overflow’ includes—

“(i) an overflow or release of wastewater that reaches waters of the United States;

“(ii) an overflow or release of wastewater that does not reach waters of the United States; and

“(iii) a wastewater backup into a building that is caused by a blockage or flow conditions in a sanitary sewer other than a building lateral.

“(C) EXCLUSIONS.—The term ‘sanitary sewer overflow’ does not include—

“(i) a combined sewer overflow or other discharge from the combined portions of a combined sewer system; or

“(ii) a wastewater backup into a building caused by a blockage or other malfunction of a building lateral that is privately owned.

“(26) COMBINED SEWER OVERFLOW.—The term ‘combined sewer overflow’ means an overflow, spill, release, or diversion of wastewater from a combined sanitary system at a point prior to the publicly owned treatment works treatment plant.

“(27) SEWER OVERFLOW.—The term ‘sewer overflow’ means a sanitary sewer overflow or a combined sewer overflow.”.

SEC. 4. Monitoring, reporting, and public notification of sewer overflows.

Section 402 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1342) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(r) Sewer Overflow Notifications.—

“(1) GENERAL REQUIREMENTS.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this subsection, the owner or operator of a publicly owned treatment works (as defined in section 403.3 of title 40, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on March 1, 2007)) under a permit issued under this section shall—

“(A) institute and use a methodology, technology, or management program that will alert the owner or operator to the occurrence of a sewer overflow in a timely manner;

“(B) notify the public of a sewer overflow in any area in which the overflow has the potential to affect human health;

“(C) notify the public as soon as practicable, but not later than 24 hours, after the time at which the owner or operator becomes aware of the overflow;

“(D) immediately notify public health authorities and other affected entities, such as public water systems, of any sewer overflow that may imminently and substantially endanger human health;

“(E) provide to the Administrator (or the State, in the case of a State that has a permit program approved under this section) an oral or electronic report as soon as practicable, but not later than 24 hours, after the time at which the owner or operator becomes aware of the overflow;

“(F) provide to the Administrator or the State, as the case may be, not later than 5 days after the time at which the owner or operator becomes aware of the overflow a written report describing—

“(i) the magnitude, duration, and suspected cause of the overflow;

“(ii) the steps taken or planned to reduce, eliminate, and prevent recurrence of the overflow; and

“(iii) the steps taken or planned to mitigate the impact of the overflow;

“(G) report all sewer overflows to waters of the United States on the monthly discharge monitoring report of the owner or operator to the Administrator or the State, as the case may be; and

“(H) report to the Administrator or the State, as the case may be, the total number of sewer overflows (including sewer overflows that do not reach any waters of the United States) in a calendar year, including a detailed description of—

“(i) the quantity of wastewater that was released per incident;

“(ii) the duration of each sewer overflow;

“(iii) the location of the overflow and any potentially affected receiving water;

“(iv) the responses taken to clean up the overflow; and

“(v) the actions taken to mitigate impacts and avoid further sewer overflows at the site.

“(2) REPORT TO EPA.—If a State receives a report under paragraph (1)(H), the State shall report to the Administrator annually, in summary, the details of reported sewer overflows that occurred in the State.”.

SEC. 5. Eligibility for assistance.

Section 603(c) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1383(c)) is amended—

(1) by striking “and” the first place it appears; and

(2) by inserting after “320 of this Act” the following: “, and (4) for the implementation of requirements to monitor, report, and notify the public of sewer overflows under section 402(r)”.

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Sewage Overflow Community Right-to-Know Act”.

SEC. 2. Definitions.

Section 502 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1362) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(26) TREATMENT WORKS.—The term ‘treatment works’ has the meaning given that term in section 212.”.

SEC. 3. Monitoring, reporting, and public notification of sewer overflows.

Section 402 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1342) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(s) Sewer Overflow Monitoring, Reporting, and Notifications.—

“(1) GENERAL REQUIREMENTS.—After the last day of the 180-day period beginning on the date on which regulations are issued under paragraph (4), a permit issued, renewed, or modified under this section by the Administrator or the State, as the case may be, for a publicly owned treatment works shall require, at a minimum, beginning on the date of the issuance, modification, or renewal, that the owner or operator of the treatment works—

“(A) institute and utilize a feasible methodology, technology, or management program for monitoring sewer overflows to alert the owner or operator to the occurrence of a sewer overflow in a timely manner;

“(B) in the case of a sewer overflow that has the potential to affect human health, notify the public of the overflow as soon as practicable but not later than 24 hours after the time the owner or operator knows of the overflow;

“(C) in the case of a sewer overflow that may imminently and substantially endanger human health, notify public health authorities and other affected entities, such as public water systems, of the overflow immediately after the owner or operator knows of the overflow;

“(D) report each sewer overflow on its discharge monitoring report to the Administrator or the State, as the case may be, by describing—

“(i) the magnitude, duration, and suspected cause of the overflow;

“(ii) the steps taken or planned to reduce, eliminate, or prevent recurrence of the overflow; and

“(iii) the steps taken or planned to mitigate the impact of the overflow; and

“(E) annually report to the Administrator or the State, as the case may be, the total number of sewer overflows in a calendar year, including—

“(i) the details of how much wastewater was released per incident;

“(ii) the duration of each sewer overflow;

“(iii) the location of the overflow and any potentially affected receiving waters;

“(iv) the responses taken to clean up the overflow; and

“(v) the actions taken to mitigate impacts and avoid further sewer overflows at the site.

“(2) EXCEPTIONS.—

“(A) NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS.—The notification requirements of paragraphs (1)(B) and (1)(C) shall not apply a sewer overflow that is a wastewater backup into a single-family residence.

“(B) REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.—The reporting requirements of paragraphs (1)(D) and (1)(E) shall not apply to a sewer overflow that is a release of wastewater that occurs in the course of maintenance of the treatment works, is managed consistently with the treatment works’ best management practices, and is intended to prevent sewer overflows.

“(3) REPORT TO EPA.—Each State shall provide to the Administrator annually a summary of sewer overflows that occurred in the State.

“(4) RULEMAKING BY EPA.—Not later than one year after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Administrator, after providing notice and an opportunity for public comment, shall issue regulations to implement this subsection, including regulations to—

“(A) establish a set of criteria to guide the owner or operator of a publicly owned treatment works in—

“(i) assessing whether a sewer overflow has the potential to affect human health or may imminently and substantially endanger human health; and

“(ii) developing communication measures that are sufficient to give notice under paragraphs (1)(B) and (1)(C); and

“(B) define the terms ‘feasible’ and ‘timely’ as such terms apply to paragraph (1)(A), including site specific conditions.

“(5) APPROVAL OF STATE NOTIFICATION PROGRAMS.—

“(A) REQUESTS FOR APPROVAL.—

“(i) IN GENERAL.—After the date of issuance of regulations under paragraph (4), a State may submit to the Administrator evidence that the State has in place a legally enforceable notification program that is substantially equivalent to the requirements of paragraphs (1)(B) and (1)(C).

“(ii) PROGRAM REVIEW AND AUTHORIZATION.—If the evidence submitted by a State under clause (i) shows the notification program of the State to be substantially equivalent to the requirements of paragraphs (1)(B) and (1)(C), the Administrator shall authorize the State to carry out such program instead of the requirements of paragraphs (1)(B) and (1)(C).

“(iii) FACTORS FOR DETERMINING SUBSTANTIAL EQUIVALENCY.—In carrying out a review of a State notification program under clause (ii), the Administrator shall take into account the scope of sewer overflows for which notification is required, the length of time during which notification must be made, the scope of persons who must be notified of sewer overflows, the scope of enforcement activities ensuring that notifications of sewer overflows are made, and such other factors as the Administrator considers appropriate.

“(B) REVIEW PERIOD.—If a State submits evidence with respect to a notification program under subparagraph (A)(i) on or before the last day of the 30-day period beginning on the date of issuance of regulations under paragraph (4), the requirements of paragraphs (1)(B) and (1)(C) shall not begin to apply to a publicly owned treatment works located in the State until the date on which the Administrator completes a review of the notification program under subparagraph (A)(ii).

“(C) WITHDRAWAL OF AUTHORIZATION.—If the Administrator, after conducting a public hearing, determines that a State is not administering and enforcing a State notification program authorized under subparagraph (A)(ii) in accordance with the requirements of this paragraph, the Administrator shall so notify the State and, if appropriate corrective action is not taken within a reasonable time, not to exceed 90 days, the Administrator shall withdraw authorization of such program and enforce the requirements of paragraphs (1)(B) and (1)(C) with respect to the State.

“(6) SPECIAL RULES CONCERNING APPLICATION OF NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS.—After the last day of the 30-day period beginning on the date of issuance of regulations under paragraph (4), the requirements of paragraphs (1)(B) and (1)(C) shall—

“(A) apply to the owner or operator of a publicly owned treatment works and be subject to enforcement under section 309, and

“(B) supersede any notification requirements contained in a permit issued under this section for the treatment works to the extent that the notification requirements are less stringent than the notification requirements of paragraphs (1)(B) and (1)(C),

until such date as a permit is issued, renewed, or modified under this section for the treatment works in accordance with paragraph (1).

“(7) DEFINITIONS.—In this subsection, the following definitions apply:

“(A) SANITARY SEWER OVERFLOW.—The term ‘sanitary sewer overflow’ means an overflow, spill, release, or diversion of wastewater from a sanitary sewer system. Such term does not include municipal combined sewer overflows or other discharges from a municipal combined storm and sanitary sewer system and does not include wastewater backups into buildings caused by a blockage or other malfunction of a building lateral that is privately owned. Such term includes overflows or releases of wastewater that reach waters of the United States, overflows or releases of wastewater in the United States that do not reach waters of the United States, and wastewater backups into buildings that are caused by blockages or flow conditions in a sanitary sewer other than a building lateral.

“(B) SEWER OVERFLOW.—The term ‘sewer overflow’ means a sanitary sewer overflow or a municipal combined sewer overflow.

“(C) SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE.—The term ‘single-family residence’ means an individual dwelling unit, including an apartment, condominium, house, or dormitory. Such term does not include the common areas of a multi-dwelling structure.”.

SEC. 4. Eligibility for assistance.

(a) Purpose of State Revolving Fund.—Section 601(a) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1381(a)) is amended—

(1) by striking “and” the first place it appears; and

(2) by inserting after “section 320” the following: “, and (4) for the implementation of requirements to monitor for sewer overflows under section 402”.

(b) Water Pollution Control Revolving Loan Funds.—Section 603(c) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1383(c)) is amended—

(1) by striking “and” the first place it appears; and

(2) by inserting after “section 320 of this Act” the following: “, and (4) for the implementation of requirements to monitor for sewer overflows under section 402”.


Calendar No. 1075

110th CONGRESS
     2d Session
S. 2080
[Report No. 110–497]

A BILL
To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to ensure that sewage treatment plants monitor for and report discharges of raw sewage, and for other purposes.

September 24 (legislative day, September 17), 2008
Reported with an amendment
Share This Section