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Bill Summary Details

Wastewater Discharges (Oppose – Mandate)

CS/SB 64 (Albritton) and CS/HB 263 (Maggard) require certain domestic wastewater utilities to submit a plan to the Department of Environmental Protection by November 2021 for eliminating non-beneficial surface water discharges (e.g., treated effluent, reclaimed water or reuse water) within a five-year time frame. The bills require DEP to approve such plans if a plan meets the following conditions: The plan will result in eliminating the surface water discharge, the plan will result in meeting statutory requirements relating to ocean outfalls or the plan does not provide for the complete elimination of the surface water discharge but affirmatively demonstrates that specified conditions are present. The conditions are: The discharge is associated with an indirect potable reuse project, the discharge is a wet weather discharge in accordance with a permit, the discharge is into a stormwater system for subsequent withdrawal for irrigation purposes, the utility has a reuse system that achieves 90% reuse of reclaimed water or the discharge provides direct ecological or public water supply benefits. In addition, CS/SB 64 (but not CS/HB 263) requires DEP to also approve a plan if a utility demonstrates that it is technically, economically or environmentally infeasible to implement the requirements within five years; that implementing the requirements would create severe undue economic hardship on the community served and that the plan implements the requirements to the extent feasible. Plans approved by DEP must be fully implemented by January 2028 except for plans that implement a potable reuse project, in which case such projects must be implemented by January 2030. A utility that fails to timely submit an approved plan may not discharge to surface waters after January 2028. Violations of the bills’ requirements are subject to administrative and civil penalties. The bills require utilities to update plans on an annual basis and demonstrate whether statutory conditions and exemptions remain applicable. The bills require DEP to submit an annual report to the governor and Legislature detailing implementation status. The bills exempt the following domestic wastewater facilities from its requirements: facilities located in a fiscally constrained county, facilities located in a municipality that is entirely within a rural area of opportunity and facilities located in a municipality having less than $10,000 in total annual revenue. The bills authorize DEP to establish a potable reuse technical advisory committee, provide that potable reuse projects are eligible for alternative water supply funding and provide that potable reuse projects are eligible for expedited permitting and priority state funding. CS/SB 64 requires local governments to offer density or intensity bonuses to developers to fully offset the developers’ capital costs of purchasing and installing residential graywater technologies in proposed or existing developments containing at least 25 residential dwellings; CS/HB 263 requires local governments to offer a 15% density or intensity bonus instead of a full offset. (O’Hara)