April 10, 2012
To: Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife
Honorable Jared Huffman: Chair &
Honorable Committee Members
Re: Hearing on: AB 2398
On behalf of the members and supporters of Russian River Watershed Project Committee, I hereby submit this letter in opposition to parts of AB 2398. As Chair of RRWPC, I have the authority to take this action.
RRWPC has several major concerns about this legislation. In this letter, we quote from the legislation and then point out our concerns, questions, and in some cases, recommended language changes. We would like to emphasize that we are not opposed to recycled wastewater, as long as stringent protections are in place to guarantee its safe use.
There are several issues running throughout that give us cause for concern:
- Declassification of tertiary wastewater as a waste,
- Reporting limits of 50,000 gallons of runoff does little to protect the environment and cumulatively can cause significant damage on impaired waterways,
- Need to consider recent scientific studies indicating that low dose exposures to endocrine disrupting chemicals are harmful to humans and wildlife in many circumstances,
- Concern that the Science Panel has found it unnecessary to monitor endocrine disrupting chemicals in tertiary wastewater,
- Concern that state scientific panel may have the final word on endocrine disruptors without adequate peer review of their work,
- Focus on wastewater reuse and virtually no consideration of more stringent conservation measures as a means for extending water supply,
- Concern regarding apparent inadequate opportunities for public review, especially if reclamation permits are eliminated,
- Minimal consideration of federal law governing impacts to the environment by recycled tertiary wastewater, and other environmental impacts to water quality by reuse,
- Mostly inattention to anti-degradation concerns,
- Inadequate attention to problems and minimal direction on how to protect the environment from incidental runoff of tertiary wastewater, especially in urban areas,
- Failure to differentiate between rural and urban irrigation issues, and
- Possibly inconsistent and/or conflicting interactions between the various codes and sections. We also found considerable repetition.
RRWPC represents many of the concerned citizens in the community about the safety of potable reuse, especially of tertiary wastewater. In fact, that is our primary concern, that the safety of tertiary for many reuse purposes has not been adequately demonstrated. This proposed legislation fails to clearly indicate the magnitudes of difference between advanced treated purified water and that which is merely disinfected after secondary treatment.
Through the years we have noted that the Department of Public Health appears to focus more on acute illness and not nearly as much, if at all, on chronic illnesses such as cancer. Very low doses of endocrine disrupting chemicals have been implicated in cancer (especially reproductive), heart disease, birth defects, reproductive anomolies, obesity, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and much more. It behooves the State to conscienciously address the many new studies coming out over the last several years. (We have significant concerns that at least one Panel member has been advocating the safety of the wastewater based on the fact that only small amounts of endocrine disrupting chemicals have been found.)
COMMENTS (IN CAPS) ON MAIN BODY OF LEGISLATIVE TEXT:
Page 4: (a) “Waste” includes sewage and any and all other waste substances, liquid, solid, gaseous, or radioactive, associated with human habitation, or of human or animal origin, or from any producing, manufacturing, or processing operation of whatever nature.
IT IS UNCLEAR WHY TERTIARY WASTEWATER IS CONSIDERED WASTE UNDER FEDERAL LAW AND NOT WASTE FOR THE PURPOSE OF IRRIGATION IN THIS PROPOSED LEGISLATION? ON WHAT BASIS IS RECYCLED WATER EXCLUDED FROM THIS DEFINITION OF “WASTE”.
(e) “Pollution” means an alteration of the quality of the waters of the state by waste to a degree which unreasonably affects: (1) such waters for beneficial uses, or (2) facilities which serve such beneficial uses. “Pollution” may include “contamination.”
WHY IS TERTIARY WASTEWATER NOT CONSIDERED A POLLUTANT UNDER THIS DEFINITION IF IT CARRIES NUTRIENTS INTO A WATER BODY THAT IS IMPAIRED FOR NUTRIENTS?
Page 5: 5411. A person shall not discharge sewage or other waste, or the effluent of treated sewage or other waste, in any manner that will result in contamination, pollution or a nuisance. This section does not apply to the use of recycled water, as defined in Section 18005 of the Water Code, and in accordance with the requirements of the Water Recycling Act of 2012 (Division 8 (commencing with 19 Section 18000) of the Water Code) or the requirements of this division.
WHAT IS THE SCIENTIFIC JUSTIFICATION FOR EXCLUDING RECYCLED TERTIARY WATER ESPECIALLY SINCE FEDERAL LAW CONTINUES TO DO SO?
5411.5. (a) Any person who, without regard to intent or negligence, causes or permits any sewage or other waste, or the effluent of treated sewage or other waste to be discharged in or on any waters of the state, or discharged in or deposited where it is, or probably will be, discharged in or on any waters of the state, as soon as that person has knowledge of the discharge, shall immediately notify the local health officer or the director of environmental health of the discharge. (EMPHASIS ADDED)
YET ON PAGE 61 OF THE BILL, IT STATES THAT THE REPORTING LIMIT IS 50,000 GALLONS. IT WOULD SEEM THAT IN MANY CASES, URBAN SPILLS WOULD BE WAY UNDER THAT AMOUNT AND THEREFORE WOULD NOT GET REPORTED.
(d) To ensure the development of dependable, scientifically valid data regarding the presence of emerging constituents in groundwater throughout the state, monitoring for emerging constituents shall be included in the Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment Program rather than in salt and nutrient management plans.
SEC. 15. Section 10781.1 is added to the Water Code, to read:
10781.1. In order to improve comprehensive groundwater monitoring and increase the availability to the public of information about groundwater contamination, the state board shall do all of the following:
(a) In consultation with other responsible agencies, as specified in subdivision (c), integrate existing monitoring programs and design new program elements as necessary to establish a comprehensive monitoring program capable of assessing each groundwater basin in the state through direct and other statistically reliable sampling approaches. The interagency task force established pursuant to subdivision (c) shall determine the constituents to be included in the monitoring program……
(b) The state board shall determine the emerging constituents to be monitored consistent with the recommendations of the advisory panel pursuant to the Recycled Water Policy (Resolution 2009-0011).
Monitoring required pursuant to this subdivision shall replace all required monitoring of emerging constituents by local entities implementing water supply management in the state’ s groundwater basins pursuant to salt and nutrient management plans or regional water quality control plans, required pursuant to the state board’s Recycled Water Policy (Resolution 2009-0011) and regional water quality control plans under Article 3 (commencing with Section 13242). The state and regional boards shall rely on this statewide database of ambient groundwater quality to the extent practicable.
YET THE SCIENTIFIC PANEL ON ENDOCRINE DISRUPTING CHEMICALS HAS DETERMINED THAT RECYCLED IRRIGATION WATER DOES NOT NEED TO BE MONITORED. MONITORING GROUNDWATER IS IMPORTANT AND NECESSARY, BUT HOW DOES THIS CORRESPOND TO THE SITUATION WHERE THE WASTEWATER ENTERING THE GROUNDWATER IS NOT TO BE MONITORED?
ALL USES OF RECYCLED WATER SHOULD REQUIRE A PERMIT. RECYCLED WATER MUST CONTINUE TO BE CONSIDERED A WASTE AT THE POINT WHERE IT RUNS OFF THE AREA OF ITS APPLICATION WHICH NEEDS TO BE CAREFULLY DEFINED IN THE PERMIT.
PAGE #8: (3) Holds at least one duly noticed public hearing in the area where the advanced treated purified water is proposed to be used or supplied for human consumption and receives public testimony on that proposed use. The department shall make available to the public, not less than 30 days prior to the date of the first hearing held pursuant to this subdivision, the evaluations and findings made pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (c). The department shall receive and consider any written comments and public testimony regarding the issuance of the proposed permit.
ONE HEARING AND ONLY 30 DAYS TO REVIEW AND COMMENT IS UNREALISTIC. ALSO, IT APPEARS THAT BY ELIMINATED RECLAMATION PERMITS, YOU MAY ALSO BE ELIMINATING PUBLIC REVIEW. THIS IS PROBLEMATIC.
PAGE 9: …the Water Code, if the department, in consultation with the regional board and after a public hearing, finds a proposed raw water augmentation project will not degrade the quality of the receiving water as a source of water supply for domestic purposes, the department may permit the advanced treated purified water recharge project on a case-by-case basis. (LINES 2-6)
“NO DEGRADATION” IS MUCH TOO LOOSE A DEFINITION/CRITERIA. NO PERMITS SHOULD BE ISSUED UNTIL CRITERIA FOR IMPLEMENTING ANTI-DEG AND TMDLS ARE ESTABLISHED.
Page 14: (Suggest the the words in caps be added): SECTION 1O781 (A) “Development of dependable, PEER REVIEWED, and scientifically valid information…”
(d) To ensure the developmen tof dependable,scientifically valid data regarding the presence of emerging constituents in groundwater throughout the state, monitoring for emerging constituents shall be included in the Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment Program rather than in salt and nutrient management plans.
THIS MONITORING SHOULD CONSIDER THAT NEW STUDIES INDICATE THAT EXPOSURES TO CECS IN THE PARTS PER TRILLION RANGE CAN HAVE HARMFUL EFFECTS ON HUMANS AND WILDLIFE.
b) The state board shall determine the emerging constituents to be monitored consistent with the recommendations of the advisory panel pursuant to the Recycled Water Policy (Resolution 2009-0011).
THE FOLLOWING SECTION APPEARS TO FORBID CEC STUDIES BY REGIONAL BOARDS. THIS REQUIREMENT SHOULD BE ALTERED TO ALLOW OTHER STUDIES TO TAKE PLACE IF DESIRED. PROBLEMATIC TO RELY ON STATE ONLY IF OTHER ALTERNATIVES ARE AVAILABLE.
Monitoring required pursuant to this subdivision shall replace all required monitoring of emerging constituents by local entities implementing water supply management in the state’ s groundwater basins pursuant to salt and nutrient management plans or regional water quality control plans, required pursuant to the state board’s Recycled Water Policy (Resolution 2009-0011) and regional water quality control plans under Article 3 (commencing with Section 13242).
PAGE 16: 2) The interagency task force shall consist of a representative of each of the following entities:
THIS TASK FORCE SHOULD INCLUDE REPRESENTATION FROM LOCAL REGIONAL BOARDS AS WELL AS STATE BOARD. THERE SHOULD BE REGIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEES THAT GIVE INPUT TO STATE COMMITTEE.
Page 17: (d) “Waste” includes sewage and any and all other waste substances, liquid, solid, gaseous, or radioactive, associated with human habitation, or of human or animal origin, or from any producing, manufacturing, or processing operation, including waste placed within containers of whatever nature prior to, and for purposes of, disposal.
ANY RUNOFF OF TERTIARY WASTEWATER THAT IS NOT APPROPRIATELY IRRIGATED ON DESIGNATED LANDSCAPE, AND WHICH IS NOT PERMITTED, AND WHICH DOES NOT MEET ALL WASTE DISCHARGE REQUIREMENTS, SHOULD BE CONSIDERED WASTE.
Page 18: (n) “Recycled water”means water which, as a result of treatment of waste, MEETS ALL CONTROL PLAN REQUIREMENTS MAKING IT is suitable for a direct beneficial use or a controlled use that would not otherwise occur and is therefor considered a valuable resource.
THERE ARE CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE DISCHARGES INTO IMPAIRED WATER BODIES, FOR WHICH A TMDL HAS NOT YET BEEN COMPLETED, HAVE NOT YET HAD FINAL LIMITS PLACED ON THEM. YET IF THE WASTEWATER IS DECLARED TO NO LONGER BE A WASTE, HOW CAN DISCHARGES OF IRRIGATION WATER BE ALLOWED TO FURTHER IMPAIR THE WATER BODY?
Page 19: (C) Any discharge to surface water of a quantity less than a reportable quantity as determined by regulations issued pursuant to Section 311(b)(4) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.
IF THESE NUMBERS ARE THE SAME AS THOSE LISTED LATER IN THIS BILL AS REPORTING LIMITS, (50,000 GALLONS), THEN THEY WILL CREATE CONSIDERABLE HARM, ESPECIALLY WHEN DISCHARGED INTO IMPAIRED WATER BODIES. ALSO, THIS DOES NOT ADDRESS PROBLEM OF RUNOFF CARRYING TOXIC CHEMICALS APPLIED TO THE LAND TO ADDRESS PEST NUISANCE CONTROL (i.e., pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc.)
No discharge shall be deemed a discharge of a reportable quantity until regulations set a reportable quantity for the substance discharged. (lines 30-32)
THIS APPEARS TO CONTRADICT REPORTABLE QUANTITY DEFINITION LATER ON IN THE BILL. (PAGE 61)
Page 20: (2) Water reclamation requirements prescribed pursuant to Section 13523.
DOES THIS INTEND TO ELIMINATE RECLAMATION PERMITS TO BE ISSUED ANY MORE BY STATE AND/OR REGIONAL BOARDS?
(b) The notification required by subdivision(a)may be provided by mailing a draft of the waste discharge requirements, water reclamation requirements, time schedule order, or order issued pursuant to Section 13320 to each person who has requested notice of the specific item, or by posting a draft of the respective requirements or order on the official Internet site maintained by the state board or regional board, and providing notice of that posting by electronic mail to each person who has requested notice.
(c) This section does not require the state board or the regional board to provide more than one notice or more than one public comment period prior to the adoption of waste discharge requirements, water reclamation requirements, a time schedule order, or an order issued pursuant to Section 13320.
WE STRONGLY OBJECT TO THE REMOVAL OF WATER RECLAMATION REQUIREMENTS FOR RECYCLERS!
Page 25: The regional board, after any necessary hearing, shall prescribe requirements as to the nature of any proposed discharge, existing discharge, or material change in an existing discharge, except discharges into a community sewer system, with relation to the conditions existing in the disposal area or receiving waters upon, or into which, the discharge is made or proposed. The requirements shall implement any relevant water quality control plans that have been adopted, and shall take into consideration the beneficial uses to be protected, the water quality objectives reasonably required for that purpose, other waste discharges, the need to prevent nuisance, and the provisions of Section 13241.
TERTIARY WASTEWATER GOES THROUGH A PIPE AND IS TRANSPORTED TO AN AREA UPON WHICH IT WILL BE DISCHARGED THROUGH SPRAYS. FREQUENTLY OVER SPRAY OCCURS AND RUNOFF ENDS UP IN AREAS OF HIGH PUBLIC USE AND DOWN STORM DRAINS. THIS IS THE EXACT SAME SUBSTANCE WHICH IS CONSIDERED A WASTE UNDER FEDERAL LAW AND REQUIRES AN NPDES PERMIT. HOW CAN THIS BILL DECLASSIFY THIS MATERIAL BY SIMPLY DECLARING IT AS A NON-WASTE? FURTHERMORE, AS THIS RUNOFF OCCURS, IT CARRIES WITH IT THE TOXIC CHEMICALS THAT HAVE BEEN APPLIED TO THE LANDSCAPE AND THAT TOO ENDS UP IN OUR CREEKS.
Page 25: And: (h) The state board or a regional board may prescribe general waste discharge requirements for a category of discharges if the state board or that regional board finds or determines that all of the following criteria apply to the discharges in that category:
(1) The discharges are produced by the same or similar operations.
(2) The discharges involve the same or similar types of waste.
(3) The discharges require the same or similar treatment standards.
THESE ARE THE CASE FOR TERTIARY WASTEWATER THAT IS EITHER DISCHARGED OR RECLAIMED. DOES THAT MEAN THAT WASTE DISCHARGE REQUIREMENTS WILL BE IMPLEMENTED FOR RECYCLED WATER? HOW IS THIS CONSISTENT WITH THE DETERMINATION THAT IT IS NO LONGER CONSIDERED A WASTE? IS THERE AN INCONSISTENCY HERE?
Page 27: The notification required by this section shall not apply to a discharge in compliance with waste discharge requirements or other provisions of this division.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF REQUIREMENTS THAT DO NOT APPLY BECAUSE OF RECLASSIFICATION OF IRRIGATED RECYCLED WASTEWATER AS NOT A WASTE.a
Page 28: (f) (1) The state board shall adopt regulations establishing reportable quantities of sewage for purposes of this section. The regulations shall be based on the quantities that should be reported because they may pose a risk to public health or the environment if discharged to groundwater or surface water. Regulations establishing reportable quantities shall not supersede waste discharge requirements or water quality objectives adopted pursuant to this division. For purposes of this section, “sewage” means the effluent of a municipal wastewater treatment plant or a private utility wastewater treatment plant, as those terms are defined in Section 13625, except that sewage does not include recycled water, as defined in Section 18005. (emphasis added)
PLEASE SEE COMMENTS ON THIS PAGE AND PRIOR PAGE. IT’S INTERESTING THAT SEWAGE IS USUALLY CONSIDERED UNTREATED AND HERE IT IS SUBSTITUTED FOR TERTIARY WASTEWATER.
Page 29: SEC. 21. Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 13500) of Division 7 of the Water Code is repealed.
THIS REPEALED SECTION COVERS RECLAMATION PERMITS FOR SURFACE AND GROUNDWATER. AS WITH PRIOR CHANGES, WE PROTEST ELIMINATION OF REGULATIONS FOR RECYCLED TERTIARY WASTEWATER.
Page 30: (b) The people of the state have a primary interest in the development of new basic water supplies, as that term is used in Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 12880) of Part 6 of Division 6, including maximizing recycled water use to supplement existing water supplies and to minimize the impacts of growing demand for new water on sensitive natural water bodies. As such, the state is to encourage development of water recycling facilities so that recycled water may be made available to help meet the water requirements of the state.
WHY IS THE FOCUS ON RECYCLED WATER RATHER THAN CONSERVATION, WHICH IS BARELY MENTIONED IN THIS ENTIRE BILL? WHILE RECYCLING WASTEWATER WILL TAKE SOME STRAIN OFF DIMINISHED FLOWS IN RIVERS, IT WILL ALSO EXACERBATE POLLUTION CONCERNS. FURTHERMORE, THE AGRICULTURAL LANDS THAT USE THE MOST WATER, ARE UNLIKELY TO BE IN PROXIMITY TO THE FACILITIES THAT WILL CARRY THE WATER TO THEIR LANDS. THE LONGER THE PIPELINE, THE GREATER THE COST.
(c) Recycled water has been beneficially used in the state since 14 19__, and proven to be a safe, cost-effective, and reliable method of helping to meet California’s water supply needs.
THIS MAY BE TRUE FOR ADVANCED PURIFIED RECYCLED WATER, BUT IT CERTAINLY NOT TRUE FOR TERTIARY. THIS BILL FAILS TO CONSIDER ALL THE CURRENT SCIENCE ON ENDOCRINE DISRUPTION. IT FAILS TO CONSIDER REPORTS OF EXTENSIVE TOXICITY IN OUR WATERWAYS. OUR LOCAL LAGUNA DE SANTA ROSA IS IMPAIRED BY SIX CONSTITUENTS AND THE RUSSIAN RIVER BY THREE, AND YET THIS BILL ELIMINATES PROTECTIONS FROM RUNOFF AND THE TOXINS CARRIED WITH IT.
(e) The benefits of using recycled water include, but are not limited to, a reduced demand for water in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that is otherwise needed to maintain water quality and support regional economies of the state; reduced discharges of waste into inland surface waters and the ocean; the enhancement and protection of groundwater basins, recreation, fisheries, wetlands, and riparian areas; a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; the protection of investments in agriculture, greenbelts, and recreation; the provision of jobs; and enhancement of the state’s economy through the development and implementation of recycled water projects.
THIS PROGRAM MAY HELP SOME AREAS, BUT IT’S GOING TO GREATLY HARM THE RUSSIAN RIVER AREA. IT’S GOING TO ALLOW FOR INCREASED DISCHARGES OF WASTE INTO THE RIVER AT A TIME WHEN STREAM FLOWS CANNOT ASSIMILATE MORE WASTE. THE NUTRIENTS AND POLLUTANTS THAT RUN OFF WILL GREATLY EXACERBATE WATER QUALITY PROBLEMS IN THE SUMMER AND HAVE A DEVASTATING IMPACT ON OUR POPULAR RECREATIONAL AREA. IT WILL NOT ALLOW MORE FLOW TO STAY IN THE RIVER, BECAUSE THE BIOLOGICAL OPINION IS DEMANDING THAT SUMMER FLOWS BE LOWERED IN THE RUSSIAN RIVER. PLEASE CONSIDER THESE ISSUES AS YOU ENCOURAGE EXTENSIVE REUSE AND RECLASSIFY IRRIGATED WASTEWATER AS NOT BEING A WASTE. IN FACT, FOR US IT IS A GREATER WASTE IN THE SUMMER THAN IN THE WINTER!
Page 31: (i) The use of recycled water in accordance with this division is presumed not to have adverse impacts on public health, the environment, or on the protection of beneficial uses, and to meet applicable water quality objectives in the basin plans adopted by the state board and regional boards.
ON WHAT IS THIS PRESUMPTION BASED? HOW WILL WATER QUALITY OBJECTIVES BE MET? HOW WILL HUMAN HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT BE PROTECTED IF EXTENSIVE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE ON ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS IS IGNORED, MONITORING OF TOXINS FROM THIS “WASTE” ELIMINATED, AND HUMAN HEALTH EFFECTS ASSUMED RATHER THAN INVESTIGATED?
Page 31-32: (l) It is the intent of the Legislature to establish a clear statutory framework for the permitting and regulation of recycled water. This division shall fully cover the requirements, permitting, and enforcement applicable to recycled water other than advanced treated purified water. Advanced treated purified water, as defined in this division, shall be permitted as a source of supply in accordance with Section ____ Sections 26302 and 26303 of the Health and Safety Code. The
(m) The recycling of water, the supply, storage, or use of recycled water in accordance with the requirements of this division shall not be considered a discharge of waste or sewage for purposes of Section 13264 or 13271, or a nuisance, except as provided in this division.
I WAS TRYING TO ACCESS THE SECTIONS ABOVE BUT COULDN’T LOCATE THEM. NEVERTHELESS, I BELIEVE THEY ONLY DEAL WITH HUMAN HEALTH EFFECTS FROM SOME CONVENTIONAL POLLUTANTS AND DO NOT DEAL WITH ENDOCRINE DISRUPTING CHEMICALS AND THEIR KNOWN EFFECTS. FURTHERMORE, THEY DO NOT DEAL WITH ALL THE HARMFUL ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS, WHICH MAY BE EVEN MORE SIGNIFICANT.
Page 32: (a) “Advanced treated purified water” means water of wastewater origin treated with a treatment method at least as effective as membrane filtration, reverse osmosis, advanced oxidation, or disinfection and that includes engineered reliability features as approved by the State Department of Public Health.
WE ARE NOT CLEAR ON THE ENGINEERED RELIABILITY FEATURES, BUT DISINFECTION ALONE, AS IN TERTIARY WASTEWATER, AS IMPLIED IN THIS DEFINITION FOR “PURIFIED” WASTEWATER, CANNOT PROVIDE THE SAME PURIFIED WATER AS THE OTHER PROCESSES.
Page 33: (h) “Impoundment” means a facility in which recycled water is stored or used for aesthetic enjoyment or landscape irrigation, or which otherwise serves a similar function, and is not intended to be used as part of a potable water supply.
NORTH COAST REGIONAL BOARD HAS BECOME VERY CONCERNED WITH THE PROTECTION OF GROUND WATER WITH UNLINED IMPOUNDMENTS. IF THIS IS THE CASE, ONE CAN ASSUME THAT THERE IS A RISK OF UNLINED IMPOUNDMENTS THAT CONTAIN TERTIARY WASTEWATER CAUSING HARM TO THE ENVIRONMENT. HOW IS THIS ADDRESSED IN THIS BILL?
(i)“Incidental runoff” means unintended minor amounts of runoff from recycled water use areas, such as unintended, minimal overspray from sprinklers that escapes the designated recycled water use area.
THIS DEFINITION LEAVES OUT DETAILS FROM THE DEFINITION THAT ARE SIGNIFICANT. AT THE VERY LEAST, THE STATE’S RECYCLED WATER POLICY, A PORTION OF WHICH IS QUOTED BELOW, SHOULD BE REFERRED TO FOR A MORE DETAILED DEFINITION.
The State’s Recycled Water Policy states:
Landscape Irrigation Projects
Control of incidental runoff.
Incidental runoff is defined as unintended small amounts (volume) of runoff from recycled water use areas, such as unintended, minimal over-spray from sprinklers that escapes the recycled water use area. Water leaving a recycled water use area is not considered incidental if it is part of the facility design, if it is due to excessive application, if it is due to intentional overflow or application, or if it is due to negligence. Incidental runoff may be regulated by waste discharge requirements or, where necessary, waste discharge requirements that serve as a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, including municipal separate storm water system permits, but regardless of the regulatory instrument, the project shall include, but is not limited to, the following practices:
(1) Implementation of an operations and management plan that may apply to multiple sites and provides for detection of leaks, (for example, from broken sprinkler heads), and correction either within 72 hours of learning of the runoff, or prior to the release of 1,000 gallons, whichever occurs first,
(2) Proper design and aim of sprinkler heads,
(3) Refraining from application during precipitation events, and
(4) Management of any ponds containing recycled water such that no discharge occurs unless the discharge is a result of a 25-year, 24-hour storm event or greater, and there is notification of the appropriate Regional Water Board Executive Officer of the discharge.
The North Coast Basin Plan defines “incidental runoff” as, “…accidental discharges from potable water sources due to unexpected line breaks, incidental runoff of potable or recycled water from landscape irrigation due to an unexpected break in irrigation line or sprinkler head……Due to the unplanned nature of incidental discharges, this category of non-storm water discharges poses a slightly greater risk to water quality due to the potential for higher levels of pollutants and less opportunity to control the rate, volume, and timing of the discharge.”
RRWPC HAS CONSISTENTLY REQUESTED THAT THE TERM “INCIDENTAL” BE NUMERICALLY DEFINED. YET UNTIL NOW, IT HAS NOT. BY SETTING THE “REPORTING LIMIT” AT 50,000 GALLONS IN THIS BILL, IT APPEARS THAT IRRIGATORS DO NOT HAVE TO REPORT TRULY “INCIDENTAL” DISCHARGES. WE HAVE PHOTOGRAPHICALLY DOCUMENTED SANTA ROSA’S IRRIGATION FLOWING INTO THE STREET AND DOWN THE DRAIN FIVE TIMES DURING ALMOST FREEZING TEMPERATURES DURING THE COURSE OF LESS THAN A MONTH. THIS SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED ‘INCIDENTAL’ DISCHARGE.
(o) “Potable water” means water that is satisfactory for drinking, culinary, and domestic purposes and meets the requirements of the health authority having jurisdiction.
AGAIN, THIS DOES NOT ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF POSSIBLE ENVIRONMENTAL HARM. IF IT MEETS ALL THE HUMAN HEALTH REQUIRMENTS, THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE IRRIGATED WATER IS SAFE FOR AQUATIC AND WILDLIFE.
(q) “Raw water augmentation”means the planned introduction of recycled water into any raw water or raw water conveyance facility, treatment facility, or storage reservoir.
DISCHARGE INTO A RESERVOIR WOULD STILL REQUIRE AN NPDES PERMIT. THAT WOULD REQUIRE EXTENSIVE DOCUMENTATION THAT NO HARM WOULD OCCUR TO THE ENVIRONMENT.
(r) (1) “Recycled water” means water produced by the treatment of municipal wastewater in accordance with applicable requirements, that is suitable for a direct beneficial use or a controlled use that would not otherwise occur and is therefore considered a valuable resource. For purposes of this division, recycled water includes the following:
A CONDITION SHOULD BE ADDED STATING THAT THE RECYCLED WATER IS ACTUALLY UTILIZED FOR THE BENEFICIAL USE PURSUANT TO THE PERMIT PROVIDED FOR IN THE BILL. IF THE WATER IS UNUSED AND/OR IS DISCHARGED AFTER THE USE IS TERMINATED, OR THE WASTEWATER LEAKS INTO THE GROUND, THEN THE WATER IS NO LONGER CONSIDERED “RECYCLED” BUT RATHER IT BECOMES CATAGORIZED AS WASTE.
Page 34: (2) “Recycled water” as defined in this section shall not be considered “waste” as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 13050, “waste” as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 5410 of the Health and Safety Code, or “sewage” or the “effluent of treated sewage or other waste” as used in Section 5411 of the Health and Safety
UNLESS A PERMIT IS OBTAINED, AS REQUIRED IN THIS BILL, THE WASTEWATER SHOULD CONTINUE TO BE TREATED AS “WASTE”.
(s) “Recycled water groundwater recharge project” means groundwater recharge utilizing surface application of recycled water that is not advanced treated purified water.
I BELIEVE THAT THE NORTH COAST BASIN PLAN DOES NOT INTEND, NOR ALLOW FOR TERTIARY WASTEWATER TO SEAP DOWN INTO THE GROUNDWATER AS A RESULT OF IRRIGATION. DOES THIS BILL OVERRIDE THE BASIN PLAN, OR THE OTHER WAY AROUND?
(x) “Soil aquifer treated purified water” means wastewater treated as “disinfected tertiary recycled water,” as defined or described by the State Department of Public Health, that has also undergone treatment in unsaturated and saturated soil conditions.
HOW IS IT DETERMINED THAT TREATMENT OF SOIL AQUIFER TREATED PURIFIED WATER HAS OCCURRED? WHO MAKES THIS DETERMINATION?
PAGE 4 OF THE RECYCLED WATER POLICY STATES:
c. “The Regional Water Boards are charged with protection of surface and groundwater resources and with the issuance of permits that implement CDPH recommendations…”
PERMITS WILL BE NECESSARY AND WE EXPECT THAT THOSE WILL INVOKE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW WHICH MAY DETERMINE THAT THE RECYCLED WATER DOES NOT MEET STANDARDS FOR IRRIGATION. YET ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW OF IRRIGATION PROJECTS IS BARELY MENTIONED IN THIS BILL.
Page 34-35: (z) “Storm-inducedoverflow”meansthedisplacementofwater from a nonpotable impoundment containing recycled water by the inflow of rainwater or stormwater runoff. Overflow is not considered storm induced if it is due to intentional release or due to failure to cease the placement of recycled water into the impoundment during a storm or while inflow from a storm is continuing.
TERTIARY WASTEWATER IN THIS INSTANCE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED A WASTE.
18010. (a) This division establishes a statewide goal to recycle a total of 1.5 million acre-feet of water per year by the year 2020 and 2.5 million acre-feet of water per year by the year 2030.
THE RECYCLED WATER POLICY STATES ON PAGE ONE:
Increase the use of recycled water over 2002 levels by at least one million acre- feet per year (afy) by 2020 and by at least two million afy by 2030.
DOES THIS BILL INTENTIONALLY OVERRIDE THE POLICY WHICH HAS ALREADY BEEN FORMALLY ADOPTED?
Page 36: 18015. (a) An action authorized pursuant to this division shall be consistent, to the extent applicable, with the federal Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. Sec. 1251 et seq.) and the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 300f et seq.).
TO BE CONSISTENT, REGIONAL OR STATE BOARD SHALL HAVE TO ISSUE A PERMIT.
Page 37: (d) Achievement of the state’s water recycling goals depends on the timely development of appropriate criteria for potable reuse by the State Department of Public Health.
WILL POTABLE REUSE BE PROHIBITED UNTIL THEN? WHAT HAPPENS IF CRITERIA ARE VERY LATE?
(2) Prior to adopting drinking water criteria for the use of advanced treated purified water for raw water augmentation pursuant to paragraph (1), the State Department of Public Health shall submit the proposed criteria to the expert panel convened pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 18035. The expert panel shall review the proposed criteria and shall make a finding as to whether, in its expert opinion, the proposed criteria would adequately protect public health.
HOW CAN WE BE ASSURED THAT THE SCIENTIFIC PANEL WILL REVIEW AND SERIOUSLY CONSIDER THE VAST AMOUNT OF NEW SCIENCE ON ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS AND SPECIFICALLY THE ISSUE OF LOW DOSE EFFECTS? THE PUBLIC WOULD EXPECT SUCH REVIEW.
Page 38: (b) In conducting the investigation pursuant to subdivision (a), the department State Department of Public Health shall examine all of the following:
(3) Available information on health effects (ADD) THAT INCLUDES STUDY OF IMPACTS OF LOW DOSE EXPOSURES TO FULL RANGE OF ENDOCRINE DISRUPTING CHEMICALS.
WE ALSO BELIEVE THAT THE SDPH SHOULD HAVE THEIR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS PEER REVIEWED IN REGARDS TO USE OF THE WASTEWATER FOR POTABLE REUSE INTO A DRINKING WATER SUPPLY.
Page 41: (4) The use of recycled water for these uses will not adversely affect downstream water rights, will not degrade water quality, except in accordance with the applicable water quality control plan, and is determined not to be injurious to plantlife, fish, and wildlife.
BASIN PLANS MUST BE COMPLIED WITH IN THE USE OF THIS RECYCLED WATER. THE TERM “…NOT TO BE INJURIOUS…” IS A VAGUE AND MEANINGLESS “STANDARD”. WHAT ABOUT ACCOMODATION OF TMDLS AND WATER QUALITY IMPAIRED WATER BODIES? THIS IS OF PARTICULAR CONCERN WITH TERTIARY WASTEWATER USE IN THE SUMMER TIME AND THE ISSUE OF IRRIGATION RUNOFF. HOW WILL THIS BE CONTROLLED?
Page 45: Article 2. Studies Related to Recycled Water
18110 The Department of Water Resources department shall conduct studies and investigations on the availability and quality 16 of wastewater and the uses of recycled water for beneficial purposes, including, but not limited to, groundwater recharge, municipal and industrial use, irrigation use, and cooling for thermal electric powerplants. 18111. The Department of Water Resources department shall study and investigate the technology of the use of recycled water and further the development of the technology of the recycling of water.
WHICH DEPARTMENT IS REFERRED TO HERE IF DWR IS NOT INTENDED?
Page 53: (d) Where water recycling occurs within an area covered by a municipal separate storm sewer system permit issued pursuant to the federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, the state board and regional water boards shall regulate incidental runoff to the extent necessary as a low threat nonstorm water discharge under the municipal separate storm sewer system permit.
POTENTIAL THREATS SHOULD NOT BE PREJUDGED. BILL SHOULD SIMPLY REQUIRE COMPLIANCE WITH NPDES PERMIT. ALSO, HOW WOULD THIS APPLY TO THE AGRICULTURAL REUSE? SECTION 402(p) PROHIBITS ALL NON-STORMWATER DISCHARGES WITH NO EXCEPTION FOR LOW THREAT.
Page 55: (2) An implementation plan for demonstrating that the use of recycled water in accordance with this division will not cause the receiving water to exceed any water quality objective specified for the receiving water in the applicable water quality control plan, except as provided in Section 18224. Where a salt or nutrient, or salt and nutrient, management plan is in place for the basin or subbasin, the implementation plan may consist of the implementation provisions of that plan.
DOES THIS UNILATERALLY EXEMPT ALL RECYCLED WATER PROGRAMS FROM COMPLIANCE WITH SALT STANDARDS, EVEN THOUGH SALT STANDARDS ARE FEDERAL AS WELL? HOW CAN THIS BE IMPLEMENTED?
Page 61: 18350. (a) Any person who, without regard to intent or negligence, causes or permits an unauthorized release of 50,000 gallons or more of tertiary recycled water, as defined in subdivision (c), in or on any waters of the state, or causes or permits such unauthorized release to occur where it has, or probably will, enter any waters of the state, shall, as soon as (1) that person has knowledge of the release, (2) notification is possible, and (3) notification can be provided without substantially impeding cleanup or other emergency measures, immediately notify the appropriate regional board.
ALTHOUGH CONSISTENT WITH PORTIONS OF THE CURRENT WATER CODE, THIS AMOUNT SHOULD BE MUCH LESS, FOR REASONS PREVIOUSLY STATED. IN AN URBAN AREA, WHERE HUMAN CONTACT IS MUCH MORE PREVALENT AND LIKELY, THIS IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTSABLE FOR BOTH HEALTH AND SAFETY REASONS AND FOR PREVENTION OF ENVIORONMENTAL HARM. THE RECEIVING WATER BODY IS LIKELY TO BE A SMALL CREEK WITH VERY LOW FLOWS IN SUMMER AND 50,000 GALLONS, INCLUDING RUNOFF OF SOIL AMENDMENTS AND TOXIC VECTOR CONTROL AGENTS CAN CAUSE GREAT HARM, ESPECIALLY IF IT ENDS UP IN AN IMPAIRED WATER BODY.