Substitute House Bill No. 5184

Public Act No. 00-90

An Act Concerning The Certification Of Water Treatment Plant And Water Distribution System Operators.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 25-32 of the general statutes, as amended by section 63 of public act 99-2 of the June special session, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The Department of Public Health shall have jurisdiction over all matters concerning the purity and adequacy of any water supply source [of water supply] used by any municipality, public institution or water company for obtaining water, the safety of any distributing plant and system for public health purposes, the adequacy of methods used to assure water purity, and such other matters relating to the construction and operation of such distributing plant and system as may affect public health. [The qualifications of the operators of water treatment plants or water distribution systems which treat or supply water used or intended for use by the public shall be subject to the approval of said department pursuant to regulations adopted by the commissioner in accordance with chapter 54.]

(b) No water company shall sell, lease, assign or otherwise dispose of or change the use of any watershed lands, except as provided in section 25-43c, as amended by [this act] public act 99-2 of the June special session, without a written permit from the Commissioner of Public Health. [Said] The commissioner shall not grant a permit for the sale, lease or assignment of class I land, except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, and shall not grant a permit for a change in use of class I land unless the applicant demonstrates that such change will not have a significant adverse impact upon the present and future purity and adequacy of the public drinking water supply and is consistent with any water supply plan filed and approved pursuant to section 25-32d. The commissioner may reclassify class I land only upon determination that such land no longer meets the criteria established by subsection (a) of section 25-37c because of abandonment of a water supply source or a physical change in the watershed boundary. Not more than fifteen days before filing an application for a permit under this section, the applicant shall provide notice of such intent, by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the chief executive officer and the chief elected official of each municipality in which the land is situated.

(c) The [Commissioner of Public Health] commissioner may grant a permit for the sale, lease, assignment or change in use of any land in class II subject to any conditions or restrictions in use which the commissioner may deem necessary to maintain the purity and adequacy of the public drinking water supply, giving due consideration to: (1) The creation and control of point or nonpoint sources of contamination; (2) the disturbance of ground vegetation; (3) the creation and control of subsurface sewage disposal systems; (4) the degree of water treatment provided; (5) the control of watershed land by the applicant through ownership, easements or use restrictions or other water supply source protection measures; (6) the effect of development of any such land; and (7) any other significant potential source of contamination of the public drinking water supply. The commissioner may reclassify class II land only upon determination that such land no longer meets the criteria established by subsection (b) of section 25-37c because of abandonment of a water supply source or a physical change in the watershed boundary.

(d) The commissioner may grant a permit for the sale of class I or II land to another water company, to a state agency or to a municipality if the purchasing entity agrees to maintain the land subject to the provisions of this section, any regulations adopted pursuant to this section and the terms of any permit issued pursuant to this section. Such purchasing entity may not sell, lease, assign or change the use of such land without obtaining a permit pursuant to this section.

(e) The commissioner shall not grant a permit for the sale, lease, assignment or change in use of any land in class II unless (1) the land in class II is being sold, leased or assigned as part of a larger parcel of land also containing land in class III and use restrictions applicable to the land in class II will prevent the land in class II from being developed, or (2) the applicant demonstrates that the proposed sale, lease, assignment or change in use will not have a significant adverse impact upon the purity and adequacy of the public drinking water supply and that any use restrictions which the commissioner requires as a condition of granting a permit can be enforced against subsequent owners, lessees and assignees, and (3) the commissioner determines, after giving effect to any use restrictions which may be required as a condition of granting the permit, that such proposed sale, lease, assignment or change in use will not have a significant adverse effect on the public drinking water supply, whether or not similar permits have been granted.

(f) [The term "public water supply source"] As used in this section, (1) "water supply source" includes all springs, streams, watercourses, brooks, rivers, lakes, ponds, wells or underground waters from which water is taken, and all springs, streams, watercourses, brooks, rivers, lakes, ponds, wells or aquifer protection areas, as defined in section 22a-354h, thereto and all lands drained thereby; and [the term] (2) "watershed land" means land from which water drains into a public drinking water supply.

(g) The [Commissioner of Public Health] commissioner shall adopt and from time to time may amend the following: (1) Physical, chemical, radiological and microbiological standards for the quality of public drinking water; (2) minimum treatment methods, taking into account the costs [thereof] of such methods, required for all sources of drinking water, including guidelines for the design and operation of treatment works and water sources, which guidelines shall serve as the basis for approval of local water supply plans by [said] the commissioner; (3) minimum standards to assure the long-term purity and adequacy of the public drinking water supply to all residents of this state; and (4) classifications of water treatment plants and water distribution systems which treat or supply water used or intended for use by the public. On or after October 1, 1975, any water company which requests approval of any drinking water source shall provide for such treatment methods as specified by the [Commissioner of Public Health] commissioner, provided any water company in operation prior to October 1, 1975, and having such source shall comply with regulations adopted by [said] the commissioner, in accordance with chapter 54, in conformance with The Safe Drinking Water Act, Public Law 93-523, and shall submit on or before February 1, 1976, a statement of intent to provide for treatment methods as specified by [said] the commissioner, to [said] the commissioner for approval. The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, requiring water companies to report elevated levels of copper in public drinking water.

(h) The [Department of Public Health] department may perform the collection and testing of water samples required by regulations adopted by the commissioner pursuant to this section, in accordance with chapter 54, when requested to do so by [the] a water company. The department shall collect a fee equal to the cost of such collection and testing. Water companies serving one thousand or more persons shall not request routine bacteriological or physical tests under this subsection.

(i) The condemnation by a state department, institution or agency of any land owned by a water company shall be subject to the provisions of this section.

(j) The commissioner may issue an order declaring a moratorium on the expansion or addition to any existing public water system that the commissioner deems incapable of providing new services with a pure and adequate water supply.

(k) The commissioner may issue, modify or revoke orders as needed to carry out the provisions of part III of this chapter. Except as [provided] otherwise provided in this part, such order shall be issued, modified or revoked in accordance with procedures set forth in subsection (b) of section 25-34.

(l) The [Commissioner of Public Health] commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to include local health departments in the notification process when a water utility reports a water quality problem.

(m) (1) On and after the effective date of regulations adopted under this subsection, no person may operate any water treatment plant or water distribution system that treats or supplies water used or intended for use by the public without a certificate issued by the commissioner under this subsection. The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, to provide: (A) Standards for the operation of such water treatment plants and water distribution systems; (B) standards and procedures for the issuance of certificates to operators of such water treatment plants and water distribution systems; (C) procedures for the renewal of such certificates every three years; and (D) standards for training required for the issuance or renewal of a certificate. Such regulations shall be consistent with applicable federal law and guidelines for operator certification programs promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and shall be adopted and filed with the Secretary of the State pursuant to section 4-172 not later than February 1, 2001.

(2) The commissioner may take any disciplinary action set forth in section 19a-17, except for the assessment of a civil penalty under subdivision (6) of subsection (a) of said section, against an operator holding a certificate issued under this subsection for any of the following reasons: (A) Fraud or material deception in procuring a certificate, the renewal of a certificate or the reinstatement of a certificate; (B) fraud or material deception in the performance of the certified operator's professional activities; (C) incompetent, negligent or illegal performance of the certified operator's professional activities; (D) conviction of the certified operator for a felony; or (E) failure of the certified operator to complete the training required under subdivision (1) of this subsection.

Sec. 2. Section 25-32e of the general statutes, as amended by section 24 of public act 99-215, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) If, upon review, investigation or inspection, the Commissioner of Public Health determines that a water company has violated any provision of section 25-32, as amended by this act, section 25-32d or any regulation adopted [thereunder] under section 25-32d, or any regulation in the Public Health Code relating to the purity and adequacy of water supplies or to the testing of water supplies or any report of such testing, [he] the commissioner may impose a civil penalty not to exceed five thousand dollars per violation per day upon such water company. Governmental immunity shall not be a defense against the imposition of any civil penalty imposed pursuant to this section. The [Commissioner of Public Health] commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, establishing a schedule or schedules of the amounts, or the ranges of amounts, of civil penalties which may be imposed under this section. In adopting such regulations, the commissioner shall consider the size of or the number of persons served by the water company, the level of assessment necessary to insure immediate and continued compliance with such provision, and the character and degree of injury or impairment to or interference with or threat thereof to: (1) The purity of drinking water supplies; (2) the adequacy of drinking water supplies; and (3) the public health, safety or welfare. No such civil penalty may be imposed until the regulations required by this subsection have been adopted.

(b) In setting a civil penalty in a particular case, the commissioner shall consider all factors which [he] the commissioner deems relevant, including, but not limited to, the following: (1) The amount of assessment necessary to insure immediate and continued compliance with such provision; (2) the character and degree of impact of the violation on the purity and adequacy of drinking water supplies; (3) whether the water company incurring the civil penalty is taking all feasible steps or procedures necessary or appropriate to comply with such provisions or to correct the violation; (4) any prior violations by such water company of statutes, regulations, orders or permits administered, adopted or issued by the commissioner; (5) the character and degree of injury to, or interference with, public health, safety or welfare which has been or may be caused by such violation.

(c) If the commissioner has reason to believe that a violation has occurred, [he] the commissioner may impose a penalty if compliance is not achieved by a specified date and send to the violator, by certified mail, return receipt requested, or personal service, a notice which shall include: (1) A reference to the sections of the statute or regulation involved; (2) a short and plain statement of the matters asserted or charged; (3) a statement of the amount of the civil penalty or penalties to be imposed; (4) the initial date of the imposition of the penalty, and (5) a statement of the party's right to a hearing.

(d) The civil penalty shall be payable for noncompliance on the date specified in subsection (c) of this section and for each day thereafter until the water company against [whom] which the penalty was issued notifies the commissioner that the violation has been corrected. Upon receipt of such notification, the commissioner shall determine whether or not the violation has been corrected and shall notify the water company, in writing, of such determination. The water company may, within twenty days after such notice is sent by the commissioner, request a hearing to contest an adverse determination. If, after such hearing, the commissioner finds that the violation still exists, or if the water company fails to request a hearing, the penalty shall continue in force from the original date of imposition.

(e) The water company to [whom] which the notice is addressed shall have twenty days from the date of mailing of the notice to make written application to the commissioner for a hearing to contest the imposition of the penalty. All hearings under this section shall be conducted pursuant to sections 4-176e to 4-184, inclusive. Any civil penalty may be mitigated by the commissioner upon such terms and conditions as [he in his] the commissioner, in the commissioner's discretion, deems proper or necessary upon consideration of the factors set forth in subsection (b) of this section.

(f) A final order of the commissioner assessing a civil penalty shall be subject to appeal as set forth in section 4-183, as amended, after a hearing before the commissioner pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, except that any such appeal shall be taken to the superior court for the judicial district of New Britain and shall have precedence in the order of trial as provided in section 52-191. Such final order shall not be subject to appeal under any other provision of the general statutes. No challenge to any such final order shall be allowed as to any issue which could have been raised by an appeal of an earlier order, notice, permit, denial or other final decision by the commissioner.

(g) If any water company fails to pay any civil penalty, the Attorney General, upon request of the [Commissioner of Public Health] commissioner, may bring an action in the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford to obtain enforcement of the penalty by the court. All actions brought by the Attorney General pursuant to the provisions of this section shall have precedence in the order of trial as provided in section 52-191.

(h) The provisions of this section are in addition to and not in derogation of any other enforcement provisions of any statute administered by the commissioner. The powers, duties and remedies provided in such other statutes, and the existence of or exercise of any powers, duties or remedies under this section or under such other statute shall not prevent the commissioner from exercising any other powers, duties or remedies available to [him] the commissioner at law or in equity.

Sec. 3. This act shall take effect from its passage.

Approved May 26, 2000