Code Section Group

Health and Safety Code - HSC

DIVISION 104. ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH [106500 - 119406]

  ( Division 104 added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 415, Sec. 6. )

PART 12. DRINKING WATER [116270 - 117130]

  ( Part 12 added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 415, Sec. 6. )

CHAPTER 4. California Safe Drinking Water Act [116270 - 116755]

  ( Chapter 4 added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 415, Sec. 6. )

ARTICLE 4. Exemptions and Variances [116425 - 116430]
  ( Article 4 added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 415, Sec. 6. )

116425.
  

(a) The state board may exempt a public water system from a maximum contaminant level or treatment technique requirement if it finds all the following:

(1) The public water system was in operation, or had applied for a permit to operate, on the effective date of the maximum contaminant level or treatment technique requirement.

(2) Due to compelling factors, which may include either of the following factors, the public water system is unable to comply with the maximum contaminant level or treatment technique requirement or to implement measures to develop an alternative water supply:

(A) Economic factors.

(B) The entire service area of the public water system consists of a disadvantaged community, as defined under Section 1452(d) of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 300g-5), and meets the affordability criteria established by the department, after review and public hearing.

(3) The granting of the exemption will not result in an unreasonable risk to health.

(4) Management or restructuring changes, or both, cannot reasonably be made that will result in compliance with this chapter or, if compliance cannot be achieved, improve the quality of the drinking water.

(b) If the state board grants a public water system an exemption for a primary drinking water standard under subdivision (a), the state board shall prescribe, at the time the exemption is granted, a schedule for both of the following:

(1) Compliance by the public water system with each contaminant level or treatment technique requirement for which the exemption was granted.

(2) Implementation by the public water system of interim control measures the state board may require for each contaminant or treatment technique requirement for which the exemption was granted.

(c) Any schedule prescribed by the state board pursuant to this section shall require compliance by the public water system with each contaminant level or treatment technique requirement for which the exemption was granted within 12 months from the granting of the exemption.

(d) The final date for compliance with any schedule issued pursuant to this section may be extended by the state board for a period not to exceed three years from the date of the granting of the exemption if the state board finds all of the following:

(1) The system cannot meet the standard without capital improvements that cannot be completed before the date established pursuant to Section 1412(b)(1) of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300g-(b)(1)).

(2) In the case of a system that needs financial assistance for the necessary improvements, the system has entered into an agreement to obtain the financial assistance or the system has entered into an enforceable agreement to become part of a regional public water system.

(3) The system is taking all practicable steps to meet the standard.

(e) In the case of a system that does not serve more than a population of 3,300 and that needs financial assistance for the necessary improvements, an exemption granted pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) shall not exceed a total of six years.

(f) Prior to the granting of an exemption pursuant to this section, the state board shall provide notice and an opportunity for a public hearing. Notice of any public hearing held pursuant to this section shall be given by the state board in writing to the public water system seeking the exemption and to the public as provided in Section 6061 of the Government Code. A public hearing provided pursuant to this subdivision is not an adjudicative hearing and is not required to comply with Section 100171.

(g) A public water system shall not receive an exemption under this section if the system is granted a variance pursuant to Section 116430.

(h) Unless the state board has already granted an exemption pursuant to subdivision (a), the state board may exempt a public water system from compliance with a maximum contaminant level or treatment technique requirement for up to two years if the state board finds, and continues to find, that a plan submitted by the water system may reasonably be expected to bring the water system into compliance by any of the following means:

(1) The physical consolidation of the system with one or more other systems.

(2) The consolidation of significant management and administrative functions of the system with one or more other systems.

(3) The transfer of ownership of the system.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 327, Sec. 27. (AB 1438) Effective January 1, 2018.)

116430.
  

(a)  The department may grant a variance or variances from primary drinking water standards to a public water system. Any variance granted pursuant to this subdivision shall conform to the requirements established under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. Sec. 300g-4).

(b)  (1)  In addition to the authority provided in subdivision (a), at the request of any public water system, the department shall grant a variance from the primary drinking water standard adopted by the department for fluoride. A variance granted by the department pursuant to this subdivision shall prohibit fluoride levels in excess of 75 percent of the maximum contaminant level established in the national primary drinking water regulation adopted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for fluoride, or three milligrams per liter, whichever is higher, and shall be valid for a period of up to 30 years. The department shall review each variance granted pursuant to this section at least every five years. The variance may be withdrawn upon reasonable notice by the department if the department determines that the community served by the public water system no longer accepts the fluoride level authorized in the variance or the level of fluoride authorized by the variance poses an unreasonable risk to health. In no case may a variance be granted in excess of the United States Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level.

(2)  The department shall grant a variance pursuant to paragraph (1) only if it determines, after conducting a public hearing in the community served by the public water system, that there is no substantial community opposition to the variance and the variance does not pose an unreasonable risk to health. The public water system shall provide written notification, approved by the department, to all customers which shall contain at least the following information:

(A)  The fact that a variance has been requested.

(B)  The date, time and location of the public hearing that will be conducted by the department.

(C)  The level of fluoride that will be allowed by the requested variance and how this level compares to the maximum contaminant levels prescribed by the state primary drinking water standard, the federal national primary drinking water regulation, and the federal national secondary drinking water regulation.

(D)  A discussion of the types of health and dental problems that may occur when the fluoride concentration exceeds the maximum contaminant levels prescribed by the state standard and the federal regulations.

(3)  If, at any time after a variance has been granted pursuant to paragraph (1), substantial community concerns arise concerning the level of fluoride present in the water supplied by the public water system, the public water system shall notify the department, conduct a public hearing on the concerns expressed by the community, determine the fluoride level that is acceptable to the community, and apply to the department for an amendment to the variance which reflects that determination.

(Added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 415, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 1996.)

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