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 5. Public Notification [116450 - 116485]
  ( Article 5 added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 415, Sec. 6. )

116450.
  

(a) When any primary drinking water standard specified in the department’s regulations is not complied with, when a monitoring requirement specified in the department’s regulations is not performed, or when a water purveyor fails to comply with the conditions of any variance or exemption, the person operating the public water system shall notify the department and shall give notice to the users of that fact in the manner prescribed by the department. When a variance or an exemption is granted, the person operating the public water system shall give notice to the users of that fact.

(b) When a person operating a public water system determines that a significant rise in the bacterial count of water has occurred in water he or she supplies, the person shall provide, at his or her expense, a report on the rise in bacterial count of the water, together with the results of an analysis of the water, within 24 hours to the department and, where appropriate, to the local health officer.

(c) When the department receives the information described in subdivision (b) and determines that it constitutes an immediate danger to health, the department shall immediately notify the person operating the public water system to implement the emergency notification plan required by this chapter.

(d) In the case of a failure to comply with any primary drinking water standard that represents an imminent danger to the health of water users, the operator shall notify each of his or her customers as provided in the approved emergency notification plan.

(e) In addition, the same notification requirement shall be required in any instance in which the department or the local health department recommends to the operator that it notify its customers to avoid internal consumption of the water supply and to use bottled water due to a chemical contamination problem that may pose a health risk.

(f) The content of the notices required by this section shall be approved by the department. Notice shall be repeated at intervals, as required by the department, until the department concludes that there is compliance with its standards or requirements. Notices may be given by the department.

In any case where public notification is required by this section because a contaminant is present in drinking water at a level in excess of a primary drinking water standard, the notification shall include identification of the contaminant, information on possible effects of the contaminant on human health, and information on specific measures that should be taken by persons or populations who might be more acutely affected than the general population.

(g) Whenever a school or school system, the owner or operator of residential rental property, or the owner or operator of a business property receives a notification from a person operating a public water system under any provision of this section, the school or school system shall notify school employees, students and parents if the students are minors, the owner or operator of a residential rental property shall notify tenants, and the owner or operator of business property shall notify employees of businesses located on the property.

(1) The operator shall provide the customer with a sample notification form that may be used by the customer in complying with this subdivision and that shall indicate the nature of the problem with the water supply and the most appropriate methods for notification that may include, but is not limited to, the sending of a letter to each water user and the posting of a notice at each site where drinking water is dispensed.

(2) The notice required by this subdivision shall be given within 10 days of receipt of notification from the person operating the public water system.

(3) Any person failing to give notice as required by this subdivision shall be civilly liable in an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each day of failure to give notice.

(4) If the operator has evidence of noncompliance with this subdivision the operator shall report this information to the local health department and the department.

(h) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, commencing July 1, 2012, a written Tier 1 public notice given by a public water system pursuant to this section shall comply with the following:

(A) It shall be provided in English, Spanish, and in the language spoken by any non-English-speaking group that exceeds 10 percent of persons served by the public water system, and it shall contain a telephone number or address where residents may contact the public water system for assistance.

(B) For each non-English-speaking group that speaks a language other than Spanish and that exceeds 1,000 residents but is less than 10 percent of the persons served by the public water system described in subparagraph (A), the notice shall contain information regarding the importance of the notice and a telephone number or address where the public water system will provide either a translated copy of the notice or assistance in the appropriate language.

(2) (A) After July 1, 2012, it shall be presumed that the public water system has determined the appropriate languages for notification pursuant to paragraph (1) if the public water system has made a reasonable attempt to utilize the data available through the American Community Survey of the United States Census Bureau to identify the non-English speaking groups that reside in a city, county, or city and county that encompasses the service area of the public water system.

(B) After July 1, 2012, it shall be presumed that the notice has been correctly translated if the public water system has made a reasonable attempt to obtain either in-house or contracted-for translation services for providing a translated copy of the notice or assistance in the appropriate languages pursuant to paragraph (1) and the translated copy of the notice or assistance has been provided.

(C) After July 1, 2012, if the public water system has made a reasonable attempt to have the notice required by paragraph (1) translated into the appropriate languages, it shall be presumed that a notice translated into languages other than Spanish has been adequately provided if it contains translations in the appropriate languages of all of the following:

(i) Identification of the contaminant.

(ii) Information on the health effects associated with the presence of the contaminant in drinking water at a level in excess of the primary drinking water standard.

(iii) Actions that members of the public should take to protect their health, such as, for example, “Do not drink,” “Boil water before using,” or “Stop boiling your water.”

(3) In addition to nonwritten notification provided for in the public water system’s emergency notification plan, the public water system may, and is encouraged to, provide notice through foreign language media outlets.

(4) For purposes of this subdivision, “Tier 1 public notice” means a public notice as defined pursuant to Section 64401.71 of Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations.

(5) Nothing in this subdivision shall require the department to review or approve notices in any language other than English.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 514, Sec. 1. (AB 938) Effective January 1, 2012.)

116451.
  

If user notification is required pursuant to Section 116450, the department shall make a reasonable effort to ensure that notification is given.

(Added by Stats. 2009, Ch. 298, Sec. 14. (AB 1540) Effective January 1, 2010.)

116455.
  

(a) A public water system shall comply with the requirements of this section within 30 days after it is first informed of a confirmed detection of a contaminant found in drinking water delivered by the public water system for human consumption that is in excess of a maximum contaminant level, a notification level, or a response level established by the department.

(1) If the public water system is a wholesale water system, then the person operating the wholesale water system shall notify the wholesale water system’s governing body and the water systems that are directly supplied with that drinking water. If the wholesale water system is a water company regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, then the wholesale water system shall also notify the commission. The commission in the exercise of its general and specific powers to ensure the health, safety, and availability of drinking water served by the utilities subject to its jurisdiction, may order further action that is not inconsistent with the standards and regulations of the department to ensure a potable water supply.

(2) If the public water system is a retail water system, then the person operating the retail water system shall notify the retail water system’s governing body and the governing body of any local agency whose jurisdiction includes areas supplied with drinking water by the retail water system. If the retail water system is a water company regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, then the retail water system shall also notify the commission. The commission, in the exercise of its general and specific powers to ensure the health, safety, and availability of drinking water served by the utilities subject to its jurisdiction, may order further action that is not inconsistent with the standards and regulations of the department to ensure a potable water supply.

(b) The notification required by subdivision (a) shall identify the drinking water source, the origin of the contaminant, if known, the maximum contaminant level, response level, or notification level, as appropriate, the concentration of the detected contaminant, and the operational status of the drinking water source, and shall provide a brief and plainly worded statement of health concerns.

(c) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Drinking water source” means an individual groundwater well, an individual surface water intake, or in the case of water purchased from another water system, the water at the service connection.

(2) “Local agency” means a city or county, or a city and county.

(3) “Notification level” means the concentration level of a contaminant in drinking water delivered for human consumption that the department has determined, based on available scientific information, does not pose a significant health risk but warrants notification pursuant to this section. Notification levels are nonregulatory, health-based advisory levels established by the department for contaminants in drinking water for which maximum contaminant levels have not been established. Notification levels are established as precautionary measures for contaminants that may be considered candidates for establishment of maximum contaminant levels, but have not yet undergone or completed the regulatory standard setting process prescribed for the development of maximum contaminant levels and are not drinking water standards.

(4) “Response level” means the concentration of a contaminant in drinking water delivered for human consumption at which the department recommends that additional steps, beyond notification pursuant to this section, be taken to reduce public exposure to the contaminant. Response levels are established in conjunction with notification levels for contaminants that may be considered candidates for establishment of maximum contaminant levels, but have not yet undergone or completed the regulatory standard setting process prescribed for the development of maximum contaminant levels and are not drinking water standards.

(5) “Retail water system” means a public water system that supplies water directly to the end user.

(6) “Wholesale water system” means a public water system that supplies water to other public water systems for resale.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 2004, Ch. 679, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2005.)

116460.
  

No person shall operate a public water system without an emergency notification plan that has been submitted to and approved by the department. The emergency notification plan shall provide for immediate notice to the customers of the public water system of any significant rise in the bacterial count of water or other failure to comply with any primary drinking water standard that represents an imminent danger to the health of the water users.

No permit, variance, or exemption may be issued or amended under this chapter until an emergency notification plan has been approved by the department.

The department shall adopt regulations to implement the provisions of this section. The regulations may provide for the exclusion of public water systems from the requirements of this section when, in the judgment of the department, the exclusion will best serve the public interest.

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

116465.
  

Upon formal complaint by the director alleging that additional facilities are necessary to provide the users of a public water system operated by a public utility under the jurisdiction of the Public Utilities Commission with a continuous and adequate supply of water or to bring the water system into conformity with secondary drinking water standards, the commission may, after hearing, direct the public utility to make the changes in its procedures or additions to its facilities as the commission shall determine are necessary to provide a continuous and adequate supply of water to the users thereof or to bring the system into conformity with secondary drinking water standards. Any proceeding of the commission pursuant to this article shall be conducted as provided in Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 1701) of Part 1 of Division 1 of the Public Utilities Code, and any order issued by the commission pursuant to this action shall be subject to judicial review as provided in Chapter 9.

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

116470.
  

(a)  As a condition of its operating permit, every public water system shall annually prepare a consumer confidence report and mail or deliver a copy of that report to each customer, other than an occupant, as defined in Section 799.28 of the Civil Code, of a recreational vehicle park. A public water system in a recreational vehicle park with occupants as defined in Section 799.28 of the Civil Code shall prominently display on a bulletin board at the entrance to or in the office of the park, and make available upon request, a copy of the report. The report shall include all of the following information:

(1)  The source of the water purveyed by the public water system.

(2)  A brief and plainly worded definition of the terms “maximum contaminant level,” “primary drinking water standard,” and “public health goal.”

(3)  If any regulated contaminant is detected in public drinking water supplied by the system during the past year, the report shall include all of the following information:

(A)  The level of the contaminant found in the drinking water, and the corresponding public health goal and primary drinking water standard for that contaminant.

(B)  Any violations of the primary drinking water standard that have occurred as a result of the presence of the contaminant in the drinking water and a brief and plainly worded statement of health concerns that resulted in the regulation of that contaminant.

(C)  The public water system’s address and phone number to enable customers to obtain further information concerning contaminants and potential health effects.

(4)  Information on the levels of unregulated contaminants, if any, for which monitoring is required pursuant to state or federal law or regulation.

(5)  Disclosure of any variances or exemptions from primary drinking water standards granted to the system and the basis therefor.

(b)  On or before July 1, 1998, and every three years thereafter, public water systems serving more than 10,000 service connections that detect one or more contaminants in drinking water that exceed the applicable public health goal, shall prepare a brief written report in plain language that does all of the following:

(1)  Identifies each contaminant detected in drinking water that exceeds the applicable public health goal.

(2)  Discloses the numerical public health risk, determined by the office, associated with the maximum contaminant level for each contaminant identified in paragraph (1) and the numerical public health risk determined by the office associated with the public health goal for that contaminant.

(3)  Identifies the category of risk to public health, including, but not limited to, carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, and acute toxicity, associated with exposure to the contaminant in drinking water, and includes a brief plainly worded description of these terms.

(4)  Describes the best available technology, if any is then available on a commercial basis, to remove the contaminant or reduce the concentration of the contaminant. The public water system may, solely at its own discretion, briefly describe actions that have been taken on its own, or by other entities, to prevent the introduction of the contaminant into drinking water supplies.

(5)  Estimates the aggregate cost and the cost per customer of utilizing the technology described in paragraph (4), if any, to reduce the concentration of that contaminant in drinking water to a level at or below the public health goal.

(6)  Briefly describes what action, if any, the local water purveyor intends to take to reduce the concentration of the contaminant in public drinking water supplies and the basis for that decision.

(c)  Public water systems required to prepare a report pursuant to subdivision (b) shall hold a public hearing for the purpose of accepting and responding to public comment on the report. Public water systems may hold the public hearing as part of any regularly scheduled meeting.

(d)  The department shall not require a public water system to take any action to reduce or eliminate any exceedance of a public health goal.

(e)  Enforcement of this section does not require the department to amend a public water system’s operating permit.

(f)  Pending adoption of a public health goal by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 116365, and in lieu thereof, public water systems shall use the national maximum contaminant level goal adopted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for the corresponding contaminant for purposes of complying with the notice and hearing requirements of this section.

(g)  This section is intended to provide an alternative form for the federally required consumer confidence report as authorized by 42 U.S.C. Section 300g-3(c).

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 755, Sec. 12. Effective January 1, 1997.)

116475.
  

(a)  The Emergency Clean Water Grant Fund is hereby established in the General Fund and, notwithstanding Section 13340 of the Government Code, is continuously appropriated to the department, without regard to fiscal years, to provide financial assistance to public water systems and to fund emergency actions by the department to ensure that safe drinking water supplies are available to all Californians who are served by public water systems.

(b)  The department may expend funds in the Emergency Clean Water Grant Fund for the purposes specified in subdivision (a), including, but not limited to, payment for all of the following actions:

(1)  The provision of alternative water supplies and bottled water.

(2)  Improvements of the existing water supply system.

(3)  Hookups with adjacent water systems.

(4)  Design, purchase, installation, and operation and maintenance of water treatment technologies.

(c)  The department shall develop and revise guidelines for the allocation and administration of moneys in the Emergency Clean Water Grant Fund. These guidelines shall include, but are not limited to, all of the following:

(1)  A definition of what constitutes an emergency requiring an alternative or improved water supply.

(2)  Priorities and procedures for allocating funds.

(3)  Repayment provisions, as appropriate.

(4)  Procedures for recovering funds from parties responsible for the contamination of public water supplies.

The guidelines are not subject to Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

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

116480.
  

(a) The department shall expend moneys available in the Emergency Clean Water Grant Fund only for the purpose of taking corrective action necessary to remedy or prevent an emergency or imminent threat to public health due to the contamination or potential contamination of the public water supply.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the department may enter into written contracts for remedial action taken or to be taken pursuant to subdivision (a), and may enter into oral contracts, not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) in obligation, when, in the judgment of the department, immediate remedial action is necessary to remedy or prevent an emergency specified in subdivision (a). The contracts, written or oral, may include provisions for the rental or purchase of tools and equipment, either with or without operators, for the furnishing of labor and materials and for engineering consulting necessary to accomplish the work.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 614, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2008.)

116485.
  

Any remedial action taken or contracted for by the department pursuant to Section 116480 shall be exempt from the following provisions:

(a)  State Contract Act provided for pursuant to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 10100) of Part 2 of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code.

(b)  Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 4525) of Division 5 of Title 1 of the Government Code.

(c)  Section 14780 of the Government Code and Article 5 (commencing with Section 10355) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code.

(d)  Article 4 (commencing with Section 10335) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code.

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

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