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AB-2538 Municipal separate storm sewer systems: financial capability analysis.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 05/26/2018 04:00 AM
AB2538:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 25, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 26, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 23, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2538


Introduced by Assembly Member Rubio

February 14, 2018


An act to add Section 13185 to the Water Code, relating to water quality.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2538, as amended, Rubio. Municipal separate storm sewer systems: financial capability analysis: pilot project. analysis.
Under existing law, the State Water Resources Control Board and the California regional water quality control boards prescribe waste discharge requirements for the discharge of stormwater in accordance with the federal national pollutant discharge elimination system permit program. Existing law requires the state board or the regional boards to issue waste discharge requirements that ensure compliance with the federal Clean Water Act and apply any more stringent effluent standards or limitations necessary to implement water quality control plans, or for the protection of beneficial uses, or to prevent nuisance.
This bill would require the state board, by July 1, 2019, to establish financial capability assessment guidelines for municipal separate storm sewer system permittees that are adequate and consistent when considering the costs to local jurisdictions. The bill would require the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles region, within 60 days of completion of the state board’s financial capability assessment guidelines, to use the guidelines in a pilot project conducted to assess if a financial capability analysis can be effectively used to help municipalities to implement a municipal separate storm sewer system permit. The bill would require the state board to oversee the use of the guidelines and, upon the completion of the pilot project, to make statewide recommendations or site-specific recommendations based on feasibility and the need to address the most prominent pollutants.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares as follows:
(1) On November 24, 2014, the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, announced it had adopted a refined financial capability assessment framework to aid in negotiating schedules for compliance with the municipal federal Clean Water Act requirements and in developing integrated management plans.
(2) The financial capability assessment framework does not alter or waive water quality standards, but offers alternative compliance pathways to municipal separate storm sewer system permittees and achievable schedules for compliance for disadvantaged communities.
(3) A financial capability assessment is necessary to set achievable schedules for water quality objectives in water quality control plans under the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act (Division 7 (commencing with Section 13000) of the Water Code) and to develop integrated regional water management plans.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this measure to do all of the following:
(1) Comply with the federal Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. Sec. 1251 et seq.).
(2) Help local governments that are making a good faith effort to be stewards of the environment but lack a dedicated revenue source for stormwater.
(3) Find solutions and share the cost of compliance for local governments that are participating in a watershed management program or an enhanced watershed management program.
(4) Not weaken environmental protections for lower income communities but rather to provide funding to achieve the same protections for all communities.
(5) Help the State Water Resources Control Board, the California regional water quality control boards, and local governments to prioritize the many competing requirements faced by communities dealing with funding drinking water, groundwater, sanitary sewer, flood protection, and stormwater improvements.
(6) Give communities time to apply for grants to overcome the financial constraints of local government without fear of fines and third-party litigation.

SEC. 2.

 Section 13185 is added to the Water Code, to read:

13185.
 (a)By July 1, 2019, the state board shall establish financial capability assessment guidelines for municipal separate storm sewer system permittees that are adequate and consistent when considering the costs to local jurisdictions, including costs incurred in previous years. In developing the guidelines, the state board shall document any source it uses to develop an estimate of local costs and the overall cost of stormwater management. The state board shall consider, but is not limited to considering, both of the following United States Environmental Protection Agency policies in drafting the financial capability assessment guidelines:

(1)

(a) Combined Sewer Overflows—Guidance for Financial Capability Assessment and Schedule Development, dated February 1997.

(2)

(b) Affordability Criteria for Small Drinking Water Systems: An EPA Science Advisory Board Report, dated December 2002.

(b)Within 60 days of completion of the state board’s financial capability assessment guidelines, the regional board for the Los Angeles region shall use the guidelines developed by the state board in a pilot project conducted to assess if a financial capability analysis can be effectively used to help municipalities to implement a municipal separate storm sewer system permit. The state board shall oversee the use of the guidelines and, upon completion of the pilot project, shall make statewide recommendations or site-specific recommendations based on feasibility and the need to address the most prominent pollutants.