Code Section Group

Health and Safety Code - HSC

DIVISION 104. ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH [106500 - 119405]

  ( 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 - 116431]
  ( Article 4 added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 415, Sec. 6. )

116425.
  

(a)  The department may exempt any public water system from any 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 department grants a public water system an exemption for a primary drinking water standard under subdivision (a), the department shall prescribe, at the time an 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 department may require for each contaminant or treatment technique requirement for which the exemption was granted.

(c)  Any schedule prescribed by the department 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 department for a period not to exceed three years from the date of the granting of the exemption if the department finds all of the following:

(1)  The system cannot meet the standard without capital improvements that cannot be completed prior to 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 department 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 department 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 may not receive an exemption under this section if the system is granted a variance pursuant to Section 116430.

(h)  Unless the department has already granted an exemption pursuant to subdivision (a), the department may exempt a public water system from compliance with a maximum containment level or treatment technique requirement for up to two years if the department 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. 1997, Ch. 734, Sec. 9. Effective October 7, 1997.)

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.)

116431.
  

(a) At the request of any public water system that prepares and submits a compliance plan to the state board, the state board may grant a period of time to achieve compliance with the primary drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium by the state board’s written approval of the compliance plan.

(b) (1) A compliance plan shall include all of the following:

(A) A compelling reason why it is not feasible for the system to presently comply with the primary drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium.

(B) A summary of the public water system’s review of available funding sources, the best available technology or technologies for treatment, and other options to achieve and maintain compliance with the primary drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium by the earliest feasible date.

(C) A description of the actions the public water system is taking and will take by milestone dates to comply with the primary drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium by the earliest feasible date. The actions may include, but are not limited to, planning, designing, permitting, financing, constructing, testing, and activating treatment facilities or other capital improvements. The compliance plan shall include the public water system’s best estimate of the funding required for compliance and the actions that the public water system will take to secure the funding. In no event shall the earliest feasible date extend beyond January 1, 2020.

(2) The state board may do either of the following:

(A) Approve a compliance plan.

(B) Provide written comments on the compliance plan to the public water system. The comments may include requiring the public water system’s compliance, prior to January 1, 2020, with the primary drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium if the earliest feasible date, based on review of the compliance plan and based on the public water system’s specific circumstances identified in the plan, is prior to January 1, 2020. If the state board provides written comments, the public water system may submit a revised compliance plan that the state board may approve if the plan timely and adequately addresses any and all written comments provided by the state board.

(c) The public water system shall provide written notice regarding the compliance plan to the persons served by the public water system at least two times per year. The written notice shall meet the translation requirements provided in subdivision (h) of Section 116450 and shall include notice of all of the following:

(1) That the public water system is implementing the compliance plan that has been approved by the state board and that demonstrates the public water system is taking the needed feasible actions to comply with the primary drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium. The notice shall summarize those actions in a form and manner determined by the state board. For notices after the initial notice, the public water system shall update information demonstrating progress implementing the compliance plan.

(2) That the persons served by the public water system have access to alternative drinking water and that the public water system shall provide information on that drinking water. The notice shall identify where that information may be obtained.

(3) Basic information describing hexavalent chromium, including the level found in drinking water provided by the public water system, the maximum contaminant level for hexavalent chromium, and the possible effects of hexavalent chromium on human health as specified in Appendix 64465-D of Section 64465 of Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations.

(d) Following the state board’s approval of the compliance plan, the public water system shall submit a written status report to the state board, at a frequency and by a deadline or deadlines set by the state board, for the state board’s approval, that updates the status of actions specified in the state board-approved compliance plan and that specifies any changes to the compliance plan that are needed to achieve compliance with the primary drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium by the earliest feasible date. State board approval of a written status report that includes proposed changes to the compliance plan shall be deemed approval of the proposed changes to the compliance plan and the resulting revised plan.

(e) A public water system shall not be deemed in violation of the primary drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium while implementing an approved compliance plan. A public water system that has submitted a compliance plan for approval shall not be deemed in violation of the primary drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium while state board action on the proposed and submitted compliance plan is pending.

(f) (1) At any time, the state board may direct revisions to a compliance plan or disapprove a compliance plan if the state board determines that the actions and timelines addressed in the compliance plan are inadequate to achieve compliance by the earliest feasible date. At any time, the state board may disapprove a written status report if the state board determines that the written status report fails to demonstrate that the public water system is complying with the approved compliance plan by the milestone dates. In these instances, the state board shall provide the public water system with written notice specifying the reason for the required revisions or disapproval and the deficiencies that shall be addressed in a resubmitted compliance plan or written status report.

(2) A previously approved compliance plan that the state board requires to be revised, or a written status report that is disapproved by the state board, may be revised and resubmitted by the public water system for state board approval within 60 days of receipt of the notice required by paragraph (1). During the 60 days, a public water system shall not be deemed in violation of the primary drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium. A public water system shall not be granted a period of time to achieve compliance with the primary drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium if the public water system fails to submit a revised compliance plan or revised written status report within 60 days of receiving the notice, or submits a revised compliance plan or revised written status report that is subsequently disapproved.

(3) A compliance plan approved by the state board pursuant to this section shall continue in effect until the earliest feasible compliance date, as specified by the compliance plan, or until the water system fails to retain state board approval of the compliance plan.

(g) The state board may implement, interpret, or make specific the provisions of this section by means of criteria, published on its Internet Web site. This action by the state board shall not be subject to the rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).

(h) This section does not affect the state’s requirements for establishing drinking water standards for contaminants in drinking water. This section does not apply to any contaminants other than hexavalent chromium. This section is intended to address the specific circumstance that, for some public water systems, compliance with the state’s hexavalent chromium drinking water standard requires the design, financing, and construction of capital improvements. These major compliance actions necessitate a period of time for compliance.

(i) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2020, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2020, deletes or extends that date.

(Added by Stats. 2015, Ch. 272, Sec. 1. (SB 385) Effective September 4, 2015. Repealed as of January 1, 2020, by its own provisions.)

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