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SB-729 Water quality.(2005-2006)

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SB729:v91#DOCUMENT

Senate Bill No. 729
CHAPTER 293

An act to amend Sections 13225, 13267, 13268, and 13323 of the Water Code, relating to water.

[ Approved by Governor  September 18, 2006. Filed with Secretary of State  September 18, 2006. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 729, Simitian. Water quality.
(1) Under the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, the State Water Resources Control Board (state board) and the California regional water quality control boards (regional boards) are the principal state agencies with primary authority over water quality matters. The act authorizes a regional board to investigate the quality of state waters, and grants to a regional board certain authority in connection with those investigative functions. The act authorizes a regional board to administratively impose civil liability in connection with violations of certain water quality provisions.
This bill would authorize the state board to carry out this authority if, after consulting with the appropriate regional board, the state board determines that it will not duplicate the efforts of the regional board.
(2) The act requires a regional board to obtain coordinated action in water quality control, including the prevention and abatement of water pollution and nuisance.
This bill would require that each regional board coordinate with the state board and other state agencies with respect to water quality matters and report rates of compliance with the act. The bill would require the state board and each regional board to post on the Internet certain water quality‑related information, including, with regard to a regional board, a summary list of enforcement actions undertaken by that regional board and the dispositions of those actions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 13225 of the Water Code is amended to read:

13225.
 Each regional board, with respect to its region, shall do all of the following:
(a) Coordinate with the state board and other regional boards, as well as other state agencies with responsibility for water quality, with respect to water quality control matters, including the prevention and abatement of water pollution and nuisance.
(b) Encourage and assist in waste disposal programs, as needed and feasible, and upon application of any person, advise the applicant of the condition to be maintained in any disposal area or receiving waters into which the waste is being discharged.
(c) Require as necessary any state or local agency to investigate and report on any technical factors involved in water quality control or to obtain and submit analyses of water; provided that the burden, including costs, of such reports shall bear a reasonable relationship to the need for the report and the benefits to be obtained therefrom.
(d) Request enforcement by appropriate federal, state and local agencies of their respective water quality control laws.
(e) Report rates of compliance with the requirements of this division.
(f) Recommend to the state board projects which the regional board considers eligible for any financial assistance which may be available through the state board.
(g) Report to the state board and appropriate local health officer any case of suspected contamination in its region.
(h) File with the state board, at its request, copies of the record of any official action.
(i) Take into consideration the effect of its actions pursuant to this chapter on the California Water Plan adopted or revised pursuant to Division 6 (commencing with Section 10000) and on any other general or coordinated governmental plan looking toward the development, utilization, or conservation of the water resources of the state.
(j) Encourage coordinated regional planning and action for water quality control.
(k) In consultation with the state board, identify and post on the Internet a summary list of all enforcement actions undertaken by that regional board and the dispositions of those actions, including any fines assessed. This list shall be updated at least quarterly.

SEC. 2.

 Section 13267 of the Water Code is amended to read:

13267.
 (a) A regional board, in establishing or reviewing any water quality control plan or waste discharge requirements, or in connection with any action relating to any plan or requirement authorized by this division, may investigate the quality of any waters of the state within its region.
(b) (1) In conducting an investigation specified in subdivision (a), the regional board may require that any person who has discharged, discharges, or is suspected of having discharged or discharging, or who proposes to discharge waste within its region, or any citizen or domiciliary, or political agency or entity of this state who has discharged, discharges, or is suspected of having discharged or discharging, or who proposes to discharge, waste outside of its region that could affect the quality of waters within its region shall furnish, under penalty of perjury, technical or monitoring program reports which the regional board requires. The burden, including costs, of these reports shall bear a reasonable relationship to the need for the report and the benefits to be obtained from the reports. In requiring those reports, the regional board shall provide the person with a written explanation with regard to the need for the reports, and shall identify the evidence that supports requiring that person to provide the reports.
(2) When requested by the person furnishing a report, the portions of a report that might disclose trade secrets or secret processes may not be made available for inspection by the public but shall be made available to governmental agencies for use in making studies. However, these portions of a report shall be available for use by the state or any state agency in judicial review or enforcement proceedings involving the person furnishing the report.
(c) In conducting an investigation pursuant to subdivision (a), the regional board may inspect the facilities of any person to ascertain whether the purposes of this division are being met and waste discharge requirements are being complied with. The inspection shall be made with the consent of the owner or possessor of the facilities or, if the consent is withheld, with a warrant duly issued pursuant to the procedure set forth in Title 13 (commencing with Section 1822.50) of Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure. However, in the event of an emergency affecting the public health or safety, an inspection may be performed without consent or the issuance of a warrant.
(d) The state board or a regional board may require any person, including a person subject to a waste discharge requirement under Section 13263, who is discharging, or who proposes to discharge, wastes or fluid into an injection well, to furnish the state board or regional board with a complete report on the condition and operation of the facility or injection well, or any other information that may be reasonably required to determine whether the injection well could affect the quality of the waters of the state.
(e) As used in this section, “evidence” means any relevant evidence on which responsible persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs, regardless of the existence of any common law or statutory rule which might make improper the admission of the evidence over objection in a civil action.
(f) The state board may carry out the authority granted to a regional board pursuant to this section if, after consulting with the regional board, the state board determines that it will not duplicate the efforts of the regional board.

SEC. 3.

 Section 13268 of the Water Code is amended to read:

13268.
 (a) (1) Any person failing or refusing to furnish technical or monitoring program reports as required by subdivision (b) of Section 13267, or failing or refusing to furnish a statement of compliance as required by subdivision (b) of Section 13399.2, or falsifying any information provided therein, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and may be liable civilly in accordance with subdivision (b).
(2) Any person who knowingly commits any violation described in paragraph (1) is subject to criminal penalties pursuant to subdivision (e).
(b) (1) Civil liability may be administratively imposed by a regional board in accordance with Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 13323) of Chapter 5 for a violation of subdivision (a) in an amount which shall not exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each day in which the violation occurs.
(2) Civil liability may be imposed by the superior court in accordance with Article 5 (commencing with Section 13350) and Article 6 (commencing with Section 13360) of Chapter 5 for a violation of subdivision (a) in an amount which shall not exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each day in which the violation occurs.
(c) Any person discharging hazardous waste, as defined in Section 25117 of the Health and Safety Code, who knowingly fails or refuses to furnish technical or monitoring program reports as required by subdivision (b) of Section 13267, or who knowingly falsifies any information provided in those technical or monitoring program reports, is guilty of a misdemeanor, may be civilly liable in accordance with subdivision (d), and is subject to criminal penalties pursuant to subdivision (e).
(d) (1) Civil liability may be administratively imposed by a regional board in accordance with Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 13323) of Chapter 5 for a violation of subdivision (c) in an amount which shall not exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each day in which the violation occurs.
(2) Civil liability may be imposed by the superior court in accordance with Article 5 (commencing with Section 13350) and Article 6 (commencing with Section 13360) of Chapter 5 for a violation of subdivision (c) in an amount which shall not exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for each day in which the violation occurs.
(e) (1) Subject to paragraph (2), any person who knowingly commits any of the violations set forth in subdivision (a) or (c) shall be punished by a fine that does not exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).
(2) Any person who knowingly commits any of the violations set forth in subdivision (a) or (c) after a prior conviction for a violation set forth in subdivision (a) or (c) shall be punished by a fine that does not exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for each day of the violation.
(f) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, fines collected pursuant to subdivision (e) shall be deposited in the Waste Discharge Permit Fund and separately accounted for in that fund.
(2) The funds described in paragraph (1) shall be expended by the state board, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to assist regional boards, and other public agencies with authority to clean up waste, or abate the effects of the waste, in cleaning up or abating the effects of the waste on waters of the state or for the purposes authorized in Section 13443.
(g) The state board may carry out the authority granted to a regional board pursuant to this section if, after consulting with the regional board, the state board determines that it will not duplicate the efforts of the regional board.

SEC. 4.

 Section 13323 of the Water Code is amended to read:

13323.
 (a) Any executive officer of a regional board may issue a complaint to any person on whom administrative civil liability may be imposed pursuant to this article. The complaint shall allege the act or failure to act that constitutes a violation of law, the provision of law authorizing civil liability to be imposed pursuant to this article, and the proposed civil liability.
(b) The complaint shall be served by certified mail or in accordance with Article 3 (commencing with Section 415.10) of, and Article 4 (commencing with Section 416.10) of, Chapter 4 of Title 5 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and shall inform the party so served that a hearing before the regional board shall be conducted within 90 days after the party has been served. The person who has been issued a complaint may waive the right to a hearing.
(c) In proceedings under this article for imposition of administrative civil liability by the state board, the executive director of the state board shall issue the complaint and any hearing shall be before the state board, or before a member of the state board in accordance with Section 183, and shall be conducted not later than 90 days after the party has been served.
(d) Orders imposing administrative civil liability shall become effective and final upon issuance thereof, and are not subject to review by any court or agency except as provided by Sections 13320 and 13330. Payment shall be made not later than 30 days from the date on which the order is issued. The time for payment is extended during the period in which a person who is subject to an order seeks review under Section 13320 or 13330. Copies of these orders shall be served by certified mail or in accordance with Article 3 (commencing with Section 415.10) of, and Article 4 (commencing with Section 416.10) of, Chapter 4 of Title 5 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure upon the party served with the complaint and shall be provided to other persons who appeared at the hearing and requested a copy.
(e) Information relating to hearing waivers and the imposition of administrative civil liability, as proposed to be imposed and as finally imposed, under this section shall be made available to the public by means of the Internet.