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AB-134 Safe Drinking Water Restoration.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 05/20/2019 09:00 PM
AB134:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 20, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 01, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 25, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 134


Introduced by Assembly Member Bloom
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Rendon)

December 05, 2018


An act to add Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 117200) to Part 12 of Division 104 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to drinking water.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 134, as amended, Bloom. Safe Drinking Water Restoration.
(1) Existing law, the California Safe Drinking Water Act, requires the State Water Resources Control Board to administer provisions relating to the regulation of drinking water to protect public health. The act authorizes the board to order consolidation with a receiving water system where a public water system or a state small water system, serving a disadvantaged community, consistently fails to provide an adequate supply of safe drinking water. The act, if consolidation is either not appropriate or not technically and economically feasible, authorizes the board to contract with an administrator to provide administrative and managerial services to designated public water systems and to order the designated public water system to accept administrative and managerial services, as specified. Existing law declares it to be the established policy of the state that every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes. Assembly Bill 217 of the 2019–20 Regular Session of the Legislature, if enacted, would require the board to adopt an assessment of funding need that identifies systems and populations potentially in need of assistance and an analysis of anticipated funding needed based on the amount available in the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.
This bill, by July 1 of each year, would require the board to adopt an assessment of need for state financial assistance to provide safe drinking water that identifies failed water systems throughout the state. The bill would require the assessment of need to prioritize the systems with the most urgent need for state financial assistance in light of specified factors. bill would require the board, upon adoption of an assessment of funding need, to convey to each regional engineer a list of at-risk water systems in that region and additional information. The bill would require the board by December 31 of each year to review the assessment of funding need and to prioritize the public water systems, community water systems, state small water systems, and domestic wells with the most urgent need for state financial assistance. The bill would require each regional engineer to arrange for a prescribed comprehensive assessment analysis of each failed at-risk water system in the region of the drinking water regional office to be completed within 2 years of the board identifying the failed at-risk water system in the assessment of funding need. The bill would require a regional engineer to review a comprehensive assessment analysis and develop and submit a recommendation to the board as to the preferred options or plan presented by the comprehensive assessment analysis within 60 days of the submission of the comprehensive assessment. analysis. The bill would require the board to consider the comprehensive assessment analysis and recommendation at a public hearing within 90 days of receiving a recommendation from a regional engineer, to request recommendations from all divisions of the board to ensure coordination with other related water quality and water resource programs, and to review a recommendation of a regional engineer in light of the recommendation’s likelihood of success in creating a stable and sustainable supply of safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes. The bill would require the board to adopt and provide for a sustainable plan for restoring safe drinking water based on the recommendation of the regional engineer.
This bill would require the board to ensure that water systems that serve new communities will provide safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes, fulfill legal requirements for technical, managerial, and financial capacity, and will be sustainable over the long term. The bill would require the board to report to the Legislature by July 1, 2025, on its progress in restoring safe drinking water to all California communities and to create an internet website that provides data transparency for all of the board’s activities described in this measure. The bill would require the board to develop metrics to measure the efficacy of the fund in ensuring safe and affordable drinking water for all Californians. The bill would require the Legislative Analyst’s Office, at least every 5 years, to provide an assessment of the effectiveness of expenditures from the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund proposed by AB 217 of the 2019–20 Regular Session.

(2)Existing law, the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, requires the federal Environmental Protection Agency to establish national primary drinking water standards for public water systems, prohibits states from enacting drinking water laws that are less stringent than the federal primary drinking water standards, and establishes procedures for state compliance. The California Safe Drinking Water Act requires the board to adopt primary drinking water standards for contaminants in drinking water based upon specified criteria, to review the standards at least once every 5 years, and to amend the standards under certain circumstances.

This bill would require the board to develop an enforcement assistance implementation plan, in connection with the adoption of any new or revised primary drinking water standard, that considers the ability of any public water system that serves a disadvantaged community to comply with the primary drinking water standard. The bill would require an enforcement assistance implementation plan to include provisions for funding sources to assist any public water system that is found to be unable to timely comply with a new or revised primary drinking water standard.

This bill would require, by January 1, 2021, the board, in consultation with local health officers and other relevant stakeholders, to make available a map of aquifers that are used or likely to be used as a source of drinking water that are at high risk of containing contaminants. The bill would require the board to make available to each regional engineer a map of high-risk areas in that region. For purposes of the map, the bill would require local health officers and other relevant local agencies to provide all results of, and data associated with, water quality testing performed by certified laboratories to the board, as specified. By imposing additional duties on local health officers and local agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

(3)

(2) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.

(4)

(3) This bill would make its operation contingent on the enactment of AB 217 of the 2019–20 Regular Session. Session of the Legislature.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 117200) is added to Part 12 of Division 104 of the Health and Safety Code, to read:
CHAPTER  8. Safe Drinking Water Restoration
Article  1. General Provisions

117200.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Section 106.3 of the Water Code declares that it is the policy of the state that every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.
(b) According to the board, as of November 2017 2017, there are approximately 300 public water systems in the State of California that are chronically serving contaminated water to their customers and are operationally deficient in violation of public health regulations.
(c) In addition, other public water systems suffer from contamination that is emerging or expanding, putting their communities’ safe drinking water supply at growing risk.
(d) To ensure that the right of every Californian to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes is protected, it is in the interest of the State of California to identify where Californians are at high risk of lacking reliable access to safe drinking water or are known to lack reliable access to safe drinking water, whether they rely on a public water system, state small water system, or domestic well for their potable water supply.
(e) Long-term sustainability of drinking water infrastructure and service provision is necessary to secure safe drinking water for all Californians and therefore it is in the interest of the state to discourage the proliferation of new, unsustainable public water systems and state small water systems, to prevent waste, and to encourage consolidation and service extension when feasible.

117201.
 Unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions govern this chapter:
(a) “Administrator” has the same meaning as defined in Section 116686.
(b) “At-risk water system” means a water system that consistently fails to provide an adequate supply of safe drinking water, is at substantial risk of failing to provide an adequate supply of safe drinking water, or suffers from unhealthy levels of copper or lead in its water.

(b)

(c) “Assessment of funding need” means the assessment of funding need for state financial assistance to provide safe drinking water adopted by the board pursuant to Section 117210. 116769.

(c)

(d) “Board” means the State Water Resources Control Board.

(d)

(e) “Community water system” has the same meaning as defined in Section 116275.

(e)

(f) “Disadvantaged community” has the same meaning as defined in Section 116275.

(f)

(g) “Domestic well” means a groundwater well used to supply water for the domestic needs of an individual residence or water system that is not a public water system and that has no more than four service connections.

(g)

(h) “Eligible applicant” means a public water system, including, but not limited to, a mutual water company, a public utility, a public agency, including including, but not limited to, a local educational agency that owns or operates a public water system, a nonprofit organization, a federally recognized Indian tribe, a state Indian tribe listed on the Native American Heritage Commission’s California Tribal Consultation List, an administrator, or a groundwater sustainability agency.

(h)“Failed water system” means a water system that consistently fails to provide an adequate supply of safe drinking water, or is at substantial risk of failing to provide an adequate supply of safe drinking water.

(i) “Fund” means the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund established pursuant to Section 116767.
(j) “Public agency” means a state entity, county, city, special district, or other political subdivision of the state.
(k) “Public water system” has the same meaning as defined in Section 116275.
(l) “Regional engineer” means the chief of each of the board’s regional offices for the Division of Drinking Water.
(m) “Replacement water” includes, but is not limited to, bottled water, vended water, or point-of-use or point-of-treatment units.
(n) “Safe drinking water” has the same meaning as defined in Section 116681. means drinking water that meets primary and secondary drinking water standards and applicable regulations and does not contain unhealthy levels of copper or lead.
(o) “State small water system” has the same meaning as defined in Section 116275.

Article  2. Assessment and Planning
117210.

(a)By July 1 of each year the board shall adopt, after a public hearing and based on available data, an assessment of need for state financial assistance to provide safe drinking water. The assessment of need shall identify failed water systems throughout the state. The assessment of need shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following:

(1)Any public water system that consistently fails to provide an adequate supply of safe drinking water.

(2)Any community water system that serves a disadvantaged community that must charge fees that exceed the affordability threshold established in the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Intended Use Plan in order to supply, treat, and distribute potable water that complies with federal and state drinking water standards.

(3)Any state small water system that consistently fails to provide an adequate supply of safe drinking water.

117210.
 (a) The board, upon adoption of the assessment of funding need, shall convey to each regional engineer a list of at-risk water systems in that region and additional information regarding at-risk water systems and communities reliant on domestic wells that do not supply an adequate or reliable supply of safe drinking water.
(b) A regional engineer shall review additional information generated from analyses of drinking water deficiencies and wastewater deficiencies, including, but not limited to, analyses conducted pursuant to Sections 56425, 56430, and 65302.10 of the Government Code.

(b)The assessment of need shall prioritize the systems

(c) By December 31 of each year, the board shall review the assessment of funding need and shall prioritize the public water systems, community water systems, state small water systems, and domestic wells with the most urgent need for state financial assistance, in light of the following factors:
(1) Severity of the public health threat.
(2) The extent to which the community served by the public water system is a disadvantaged community.
(3) The number of people served by the water system.
(4) Technical, managerial, and financial capacity of the entity that operates the water system.

(c)

(d) The assessment of funding need and priorities shall consider all information submitted to the board in furtherance of the board’s duty to complete the assessment of funding need.

117211.
 (a) (1) By January 1, 2021, the board, in consultation with local health officers and other relevant stakeholders, shall use available data to make available a map of aquifers that are at high risk of containing contaminants and that exceed primary federal and state drinking water standards that are used or likely to be used as a source of drinking water for a state small water system or a domestic well. The board shall update the map at least annually based on any newly available data. The board shall make available a map of high-risk areas in a region to each regional engineer.
(2) The board shall make the map of high-risk areas, as well as the data used to make the map, publicly accessible on its internet website in a manner that does not identify exact addresses or other personal information and that complies with the Information Practices Act of 1977 (Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 1798) of Title 1.8 of Part 4 of Division 3 of the Civil Code). The board shall notify local health officers and county planning agencies of high-risk areas within their jurisdictions.
(b) (1) By January 1, 2021, a local health officer or other relevant local agency shall provide to the board all results of, and data associated with, water quality testing performed by certified laboratories for a state small water system or domestic well that was collected after January 1, 2015, and that is in the possession of the local health officer or other relevant local agency.
(2) By January 1, 2022, and by January 1 of each year thereafter, all results of, and data associated with, water quality testing performed by a certified laboratory for a state small water system or domestic well that is submitted to a local health officer or other relevant local agency shall also be submitted directly to the board in electronic format.
(c) A map of high-risk areas developed pursuant to this article is not subject to the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).

117212.
 (a) Each regional engineer shall arrange for a comprehensive assessment analysis of each failed at-risk water system in the region of the drinking water regional office to be completed within 2 two years of the board identifying the failed at-risk water system in the assessment of funding need. The regional engineer may combine more than one failed water system in the region for the purposes of a comprehensive assessment. A comprehensive assessment shall be submitted to the regional engineer and posted on the board’s internet website. analysis.
(b) The regional engineer shall post a comprehensive analysis on the board’s internet website. A comprehensive assessment analysis shall review a failed an at-risk water system’s water supply and infrastructure and the entity that operates the failed at-risk water system. A comprehensive assessment shall include all of the following:
(1) The sources and quality of its water supply, including, the primary and secondary contaminants in each of the failed at-risk water system’s water sources.
(2) The condition of its physical infrastructure.
(3) The technical, managerial, and financial qualifications of the entity that operates the water system.
(4) Alternative water supplies that comply with safe drinking water standards adopted pursuant to this part and a method to connect the failed system to the alternative water supplies.
(5) One or more options for resolving the problems that cause or caused the water system to fail be at-risk and making the water system sustainable over the long term. The options shall address, to the extent necessary, problems with physical infrastructure, water supply quality, and governance of the failed at-risk water system. The options shall address opportunities to consolidate public water systems, community water systems, state small water systems, and domestic wells that may benefit from the proposed solution.
(6) Engagement of members of the community served by the failed at-risk water system to improve understanding of the failed at-risk water system’s problems, the options for addressing the problems, and the challenges in overcoming the problems.
(7) Consideration of the unique nature of the community served by the failed at-risk water system, including, but not limited to, the following:
(A) The community’s economic conditions.
(B) Community member reliance on languages other than English and their immigration status.
(C) Physical proximity to other water systems and communities.
(D) The community’s willingness and capacity to afford and support the operation and maintenance of new water infrastructure.
(E) Technical, managerial, and financial capacity of the entity that operates the failed at-risk water system.
(8) Local agency actions that would be required to support each proposed solution, including consolidations, service extensions, and other organizations or sphere of influence updates pursuant to Division 3 (commencing with Section 56000) of Title 5 of the Government Code.
(9) Consultation with the Office of Sustainable Water Solutions within the board, any local primacy agency with authority over the at-risk water system, and representatives of and community members served by the at-risk water system.

(c)A comprehensive assessment may include the following:

(1)A

(c) A comprehensive analysis shall include a proposed plan that includes a set of options to address several problems either concurrently or sequentially. sequentially that ensure the long-term sustainability of the at-risk water system.

(2)Assistance from a local advisory committee that may include local residents, customers of the failed water system, elected officials, business owners, or farmers.

(d) A regional engineer may do the following:
(1) Contract or otherwise provide funding to one or more of the following entities to complete the comprehensive assessment: analysis:
(A) Nonprofit organizations.
(B) Water agencies.
(C) Counties.
(D) Cities.
(E) For-profit businesses, such as engineering consulting firms.
(2) Organize a local advisory committee that may include local residents of the at-risk water system, elected officials of local public agencies, local water systems, business owners, or farmers.

(2)

(3) Organize a strike team that combines the entities identified in subparagraphs (A) to (E), inclusive, of paragraph (1) to provide diverse expertise, experience, and perspective relating to topics that may include engineering, government, administration, water management, public outreach, and education.
(e) Any water agency, including a special district, may act pursuant to a contract entered into under paragraph (1) of subdivision (d) outside of the jurisdiction of the agency.

Article  3. Plan Implementation

117220.
 A regional engineer shall review a comprehensive assessment analysis submitted in accordance with Section 117212 and develop and submit a recommendation to the board as to the preferred options or plan presented by the comprehensive assessment analysis within 60 days of the submission of the comprehensive assessment analysis to the regional engineer. A regional engineer may adjust the options or plan the regional engineer recommends to the board as necessary. The board shall post the recommendations of a regional engineer to the board on the board’s internet website.

117221.
 (a) Within 90 days of receiving the regional engineer’s recommendation pursuant to Section 117220, the board shall consider the comprehensive assessment analysis and the regional engineer’s recommendation at a public hearing. The board shall request recommendations from all divisions of the board to ensure coordination with other related water quality and water resource programs. The Public Utilities Commission may provide input to the board for the purposes of this section if a regional engineer’s recommendation involves a failed an at-risk water system subject to the commission’s jurisdiction. The board shall review a recommendation in light of the recommendation’s likelihood of success in creating a stable and sustainable supply of safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.
(b) Based on the recommendations described in subdivision (a), the board shall adopt and provide for a sustainable plan for restoring safe drinking water. The board may contract with one or more of the following entities to implement the sustainable plan for restoring safe drinking water:
(1) Nonprofit organizations.
(2) Water agencies.
(3) Counties.
(4) Cities.
(5) For-profit businesses, such as engineering consulting firms.
(c) The board shall coordinate implementation of the sustainable plan for restoring safe drinking water by engaging the affected community, local governments, water agencies, and local agency formation commissions.
(d) The board may delegate implementation of the sustainable plan for restoring safe drinking water to the Division of Drinking Water or another division of the board.
(e) Any water agency, including a special district, may act pursuant to a contract entered into under subdivision (b) outside of the jurisdiction of the agency.

117223.

(a)In connection with the adoption of any new or revised primary drinking water standard pursuant to Section 116365, the board shall develop an enforcement assistance implementation plan that considers the ability of any public water system that serves a disadvantaged community to comply with the proposed new or revised primary drinking water standard.

(b)An enforcement assistance implementation plan developed pursuant to subdivision (a) shall include provisions for funding sources to assist any public water system that is found to be unable to timely comply with the new or revised primary drinking water standard, including funding through the fund or though the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program.

Article  4. Safe Drinking Water for New Communities
117230.

The board shall ensure that water systems that serve new communities will provide safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes, fulfill legal requirements for technical, managerial, and financial capacity, and will be sustainable over the long term.

117230.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Current state law seeks to ensure that homes in new residential developments have access to adequate, safe, and clean water supplies by linking local agency decisions on land use to water supply and water quality.
(2) In recent years, changes in water law and the emergence of California communities without sustainable, safe drinking water supplies have emphasized the need to review this land and water nexus to better ensure that all Californians will have sustainable, safe drinking water for decades to come.
(3) To protect the public health and welfare and to protect existing residential, agricultural, and commercial water users, it is vital that cities and counties consider the adequacy of water supplies in terms of both quantity and quality as part of their review of additional new residential developments.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to review existing laws designed to ensure the long-term adequacy of water supplies as part of the process of approving new development projects and to further integrate water quality and quantity considerations into land use decisions.

Article  5. Oversight

117240.
 (a) (1) By July 1, 2025, the board shall report to the Legislature on its progress restoring safe drinking water to all California communities in accordance with this chapter. The board shall develop metrics to measure the efficacy of the fund in ensuring safe and affordable drinking water for all Californians and shall use those metrics in its report to the Legislature.
(2) The requirement for submitting a report imposed under paragraph (1) is inoperative on July 1, 2029, pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code.
(3) A report to be submitted pursuant to this subdivision shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(b) Funding for the board’s actions to restore safe drinking water to all California communities shall be displayed in the annual Governor’s budget, Budget, including revenues, expenditures, and fund balances.
(c) At least every five years, the Legislative Analyst’s Office shall provide an assessment of the effectiveness of expenditures from the fund.

117241.
 The board shall create an internet website that provides data transparency for all of its activities pursuant to this chapter, in conjunction with implementation of the Open and Transparent Water Data Act (Part 4.9 (commencing with Section 12400) of Division 6 of the Water Code).

SEC. 2.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

SEC. 3.

 This act shall only become operative if Assembly Bill 217 of the 2019–20 Regular Session is enacted and becomes effective.