S-1855.1          _______________________________________________


                            SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 5551



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1991 Regular Session


By Senate Committee on Agriculture & Water Resources (originally sponsored by Senators Madsen, Barr and Williams; by request of Department of Health).


Read first time March 5, 1991.Concerning safe drinking water.

     AN ACT Relating to public water system operating permits; amending RCW 70.119A.030 and 70.119A.060; adding new sections to chapter 70.119A RCW; creating a new section; and providing a contingent effective date.




     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  The legislature finds that:

     (1) The responsibility for ensuring that the citizens of this state have a safe and reliable drinking water supply is shared between local government and state government, and is the obligation of every public water system;

     (2)  A rapid increase in the number of public water systems supplying drinking water to the citizens of this state has significantly increased the burden on both local and state government to monitor and enforce compliance by these systems with state laws that govern planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, financing, management, and emergency response;

     (3) The federal safe drinking water act imposes on state and local governments and the public water systems of this state significant new responsibilities for monitoring, testing, and treating drinking water supplies; and

     (4) Existing drinking water programs at both the state and local government level need additional authorities to enable them to more comprehensively and systematically address the needs of the public water systems of this state and assure that the public health and safety of its citizens are protected.

     Therefore, annual operating permit requirements shall be established in accordance with this chapter.  The operating permit requirements shall be administered by the department and shall be used as a means to assure that public water systems provide safe and reliable drinking water to the public.  The department and local government shall conduct comprehensive and systematic evaluations to assess the adequacy and financial viability of public water systems.  The department may impose permit conditions, requirements for system improvements, and compliance schedules in order to carry out the purpose of this act.


     Sec. 2.  RCW 70.119A.030 and 1989 c 422 s 6 are each amended to read as follows:

     (1) The secretary or his or her designee or the local health officer may declare a public health emergency.  As limited by RCW 70.119A.040, the department may impose penalties for violations of laws or regulations that are determined to be a public health emergency.

     (2) As limited by RCW 70.119A.040, the department may impose penalties for failure to comply with an order of the department, or of an authorized local board of health, when the order:

     (a) Directs any person to stop work on the construction or alteration of a public water system when plans and specifications for the construction or alteration have not been approved as required by the regulations, or when the work is not being done in conformity with approved plans and specifications;

     (b) Requires any person to eliminate a cross-connection to a public water system by a specified time; or

     (c) Requires any person to cease violating any regulation relating to public water systems, ((or)) to take specific actions within a specified time to place a public water system in compliance with regulations adopted under chapters 43.20 and 70.119 RCW, to apply for an operating permit as required under section 4 of this act or to comply with any conditions or requirements imposed as part of an operating permit.


     Sec. 3.  RCW 70.119A.060 and 1990 c 132 s 4 are each amended to read as follows:

     (1) In order to assure safe and reliable public drinking water and to protect the public health, public water systems shall:

     (a) Protect the water sources used for drinking water;

     (b) Provide treatment adequate to assure that the public health is protected;

     (c) Provide and effectively operate and maintain public water system facilities;

     (d) Plan for future growth and assure the availability of safe and reliable drinking water;

     (e) Provide the department with the current names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the owners, operators, and emergency contact persons for the system, including any changes to this information, and provide to users the name and twenty-four hour telephone number of an emergency contact person; and

     (f)  Take whatever investigative or corrective action is necessary to assure that a safe and reliable drinking water supply is continuously available to users.

     (2) The department and local health jurisdictions shall carry out the rules and regulations of the state board of health adopted pursuant to RCW 43.20.050(2)(a) and other rules adopted by the department relating to public water systems.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.  (1) No person may operate a group A public water system unless the person first submits an application to the department and receives an operating permit as provided in this section.  A new application must be submitted upon any change in ownership of the system.  Any person operating a public water system on the effective date of this section may continue to operate the system until the department takes final action, including any time necessary for a hearing under subsection (3) of this section, on a permit application submitted by the person operating the system under the rules adopted by the department to implement this section.

     Those public water systems that are not group A public water systems shall have the option of obtaining a permit and be regulated under this chapter.  Systems choosing this option shall pay the same charge per service connection as those systems having fifteen connections.

     (2) The department may require that each application include the information that is reasonable and necessary to determine that the system complies with applicable standards and requirements of the federal safe drinking water act, state law, and rules adopted by the department or by the state board of health.

     (3) Following its review of the application, its supporting material, and any information received by the department in its investigation of the application, the department shall issue or deny the operating permit.  The department shall act on initial permit applications as expeditiously as possible, and shall in all cases either grant or deny the application within one hundred twenty days of receipt of the application or of any supplemental information required to complete the application.  The applicant for a permit shall be entitled to file an appeal in accordance with chapter 34.05 RCW if the department denies the initial or subsequent applications or imposes conditions or requirements upon the operator.  Any operator of a public water system that requests a hearing may continue to operate the system until a decision is issued after the hearing.

     (4) At the time of initial permit application or at the time of permit renewal the department may impose such permit conditions, requirements for system improvements, and compliance schedules as it determines are reasonable and necessary to ensure that the system will provide a safe and reliable water supply to its users.

     (5) Operating permits shall be issued for a term of one year, and shall be renewed annually, unless the operator fails to apply for a new permit or the department finds good cause to deny the application for renewal.

     (6) Each application shall be accompanied by an annual fee in accordance with the following schedule:


Number of service connections                   Charge per connection


Fifteen to fifty                                         $8.50

Fifty to one hundred                                      $7.50

One hundred to five hundred                               $6.50

Five hundred to seven hundred fifty                       $5.50

Seven hundred fifty to one thousand                       $4.50

One thousand to two thousand                         $3.00

Two thousand to three thousand                            $1.75

Three thousand to four thousand                           $1.25

Over four thousand                                        $1.00


The fee for a permit application shall not be greater than five thousand dollars for a public water supply system.  In addition to the fee schedule above, the department may charge an additional one-time fee for new water systems of up to three dollars per service connection.

     (7) The department may phase-in the implementation for any group of systems provided the schedule for implementation is established by rule.

     (8) The department shall notify existing public water systems of the requirements of RCW 70.119A.030, 70.119A.060, and this section at least one hundred twenty days prior to the date that an application for a permit is required pursuant to RCW 70.119A.030, 70.119A.060, and this section.

     (9) The department shall issue one operating permit to any approved satellite system management agency.  Operating permit fees for approved satellite system management agencies shall be one dollar per connection per year for the total number of connections under the management of the approved satellite agency.  The department shall define by rule the meaning of the term "satellite system management agency."  If a statutory definition of this term exists, then the department shall adopt by rule a definition consistent with the statutory definition.

     (10) For purposes of this section, "group A public water system" and "system" mean those water systems with fifteen or more service connections, regardless of the number of people;  or a system serving an average of twenty-five or more people per day for sixty or more days within a calendar year, regardless of the number of service connections.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 5.  The safe drinking water account is created in the general fund of the state treasury.  All receipts from the operating permit fees required to be paid under section 4 of this act shall be deposited into the account.  Moneys in the account may be spent only after appropriation.  Expenditures from the account may be used by the department of health to carry out the purposes of this act and to carry out contracts with local governments in accordance with chapter 70.119A RCW.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 6.  Until July 1, 1996, local governments shall be prohibited from administering a separate operating permit requirement for public water systems.  After July 1, 1996, local governments may establish separate operating permit requirements for public water systems provided the operating permit requirements have been approved by the department.  The department shall not approve local operating permit requirements unless the local system will result in an increased level of service to the public water system.  There shall not be duplicate operating permit requirements imposed by local governments and the department.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 7.  The department shall adopt rules necessary to implement sections 4 through 6 of this act.  The requirements of this act shall take effect upon adoption of rules pursuant to this act.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 8.  Sections 4 through 6 of this act are each added to chapter 70.119A RCW.