Substitute House Bill No. 6944

Public Act No. 99-188

An Act Concerning the Sale of Bottled Water, Authorizing Municipalities to Operate Sports Franchises, Enlarging the Franchise Area of the Waterworks System of the City of Groton and Concerning Regulations on Automatic Fire Extinguishing Systems.

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

Section 1. (NEW) (a) Any water company, as defined in section 25-32a of the general statutes, may engage in the sale of bottled water or establish an entity under chapter 601 of the general statutes for the purpose of engaging in the sale of bottled water within or outside of its franchise area. The costs and expenses of a water company associated with the sale of bottled water shall be exclusive of the costs and expenses associated with the establishment of rates and charges for the use of the waterworks system pursuant to section 7-239 of the general statutes, as amended by section 2 of this act.

(b) Any municipality may exercise the authority provided for in subsection (a) of this section notwithstanding the provisions of any special act, municipal charter or home rule ordinance. A municipality shall establish such entity upon approval of the chief executive officer of the municipality and by adoption of an ordinance approved by a vote of two-thirds of the members present at a meeting of the legislative body of the municipality or the board of selectmen or city or town council, in the case of a municipality in which the legislative body is a town meeting.

Sec. 2. Subsection (a) of section 7-239 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The legislative body shall establish just and equitable rates or charges for the use of the waterworks system authorized herein, to be paid by the owner of each lot or building which is connected with and uses such system, and may change such rates or charges from time to time. Such rates or charges shall be sufficient in each year for the payment of the expense of operation, repair, replacements and maintenance of such system and for the payment of the sums herein required to be paid into the sinking fund. No such rate or charge shall be established until after a public hearing at which all the users of the waterworks system and the owners of property served or to be served and others interested shall have an opportunity to be heard concerning such proposed rate or charge. Notice of such hearing shall be given, at least ten days before the date set therefor, in a newspaper having a circulation in such municipality. Such notice shall set forth a schedule of rates or charges, and a copy of the schedule of rates or charges established shall be kept on file in the office of the legislative body and in the office of the clerk of the municipality, and shall be open to inspection by the public. The rates or charges so established for any class of users or property served shall be extended to cover any additional premises thereafter served which are within the same class, without the necessity of a hearing thereon. Any change in such rates or charges may be made in the same manner in which they were established, provided, if any change is made substantially pro rata as to all classes of service, no hearing shall be required. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the sale of bottled water.

Sec. 3. Subparagraph (C) of subdivision (4) of subsection (c) of section 7-148 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(C) Provide for entertainment, amusements, concerts, celebrations and cultural activities, including the direct or indirect purchase, ownership and operation of the assets of one or more sports franchises.

Sec. 4. Notwithstanding the provisions of number 429 of the special acts of 1903, the city of Groton's franchise area shall be enlarged to include only the franchise jurisdiction for any waterworks system or portion thereof sold or transferred to the city of Groton. The franchise jurisdiction of the acquired waterworks system shall be reduced to exclude only the system or portion thereof sold or transferred to the city of Groton. The city of Groton may not acquire any waterworks system or portion thereof located outside of the Groton corporate limits by exercise of the authority provided in section 25-42 or 48-6 of the general statutes or by any other eminent domain procedure authorized pursuant to the general statutes. The city of Groton may acquire any waterworks system pursuant to this section only if (1) approved by the mayor of the city of Groton; (2) approved by a two-thirds vote of the city council of the city of Groton; and (3) the owner or owners of the waterworks system that is to be acquired are willing to sell or transfer all or part of their system to the city of Groton. The city of Groton may sell or otherwise furnish water or enter into contracts for management services with any water system, water company or transient noncommunity water system located outside of the city of Groton's franchise area. Such acquisitions, transfers, sales or services shall be subject to any and all state agency regulatory approvals.

Sec. 5. Section 19a-37a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The Commissioner of Public Health shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 establishing standards to prevent contamination of public water supplies which may result from the installation of automatic fire extinguishing systems in any building served by a public water system as defined in subsection (a) of section 25-33d. Such regulations shall: [also] (1) Delete the requirement for a reduced pressure principle backflow preventer (RPD) on fire sprinkler systems with siamese connections unless chemicals are added to such systems; (2) require owners to install a doublecheck valve assembly (DCVA) on fire sprinkler systems with siamese connections unless chemicals are added to such systems; (3) allow owners to install an RPD instead of a DCVA on fire sprinkler systems with siamese connections; and (4) provide that any person engaged in the installation of an automatic fire extinguishing system shall notify the water company servicing the building of such installation, and shall be subject to all applicable rules and regulations of such water company.

(b) The commissioner shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 providing for a civil penalty of not more than two thousand dollars if a required device is not installed on existing systems by July 1, 1999, or if the required device is not installed on new systems after the effective date of this act.

Sec. 6. This act shall take effect from its passage, except that sections 1 and 2 shall take effect October 1, 1999.

Approved June 23, 1999

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