Chapter 221, Laws of 2009

61st Legislature
2009 Regular Session



Passed by the House March 5, 2009
  Yeas 96   Nays 1

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Passed by the Senate April 17, 2009
  Yeas 45   Nays 0

President of the Senate

I, Barbara Baker, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1283 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.

Chief Clerk
Approved April 25, 2009, 11:29 a.m.

Governor of the State of Washington
April 27, 2009

Secretary of State
State of Washington



Passed Legislature - 2009 Regular Session
State of Washington61st Legislature2009 Regular Session

By House Environmental Health (originally sponsored by Representatives Rolfes, Campbell, Kretz, Upthegrove, and Ormsby; by request of Department of Health)

READ FIRST TIME 02/23/09.   

     AN ACT Relating to public water supply system operators; amending RCW 70.119.020, 70.119.030, 70.119.110, 70.119.130, and 70.119.160; and adding new sections to chapter 70.119 RCW.


Sec. 1   RCW 70.119.020 and 1999 c 153 s 67 are each amended to read as follows:
     ((As used)) The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires ((another meaning:)) otherwise.
     (1) "Backflow assembly tester" means a person in charge of inspecting, testing, maintaining, and repairing backflow assemblies, devices, and air gaps that protect the public water system.
"Certificate" means a certificate of competency issued by the secretary stating that the operator has met the requirements for the specified operator classification of the certification program.
     (((2)))(3) "Certified operator" means an individual holding a valid certificate and employed or appointed by any county, water-sewer district, municipality, public or private corporation, company, institution, person, federal agency, or the state of Washington and who is designated by the employing or appointing officials as the person responsible for active daily technical operation.
     (((3)))(4) "Cross-connection control specialist" means a person in charge of developing and implementing cross-connection control programs.
     (5) "Department" means the department of health.
     (((4)))(6) "Distribution system" means that portion of a public water system which stores, transmits, pumps and distributes water to consumers.
     (((5)))(7) "Groundwater under the direct influence of surface water" means any water beneath the surface of the ground with:
     (a) Significant occurrence of insects or other macroorganisms, algae, or large diameter pathogens such as giardia lamblia; or
     (b) Significant and relatively rapid shifts in water characteristics such as turbidity, temperature, conductivity, or pH which closely correlate to climatological or surface water conditions.
     (((6)))(8) "Group A water system" means a system 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. ((Group A water system does not include a system serving fewer than fifteen single-family residences, regardless of the number of people.
))(9) "Nationally recognized association of certification authorities" shall mean an organization which serves as an information center for certification activities, recommends minimum standards and guidelines for classification of potable water treatment plants, water distribution systems and waste water facilities and certification of operators, facilitates reciprocity between state programs and assists authorities in establishing new certification programs and updating existing ones.
     (((8)))(10) "Operator" includes backflow assembly tester, certified operator, and cross-connection control specialist as these terms are defined in this section.
"Public water system" means any system, excluding a system serving only one single-family residence and a system with four or fewer connections all of which serve residences on the same farm, providing piped water for human consumption, including any collection, treatment, storage, or distribution facilities under control of the purveyor and used primarily in connection with the system; and collection or pretreatment storage facilities not under control of the purveyor but primarily used in connection with the system.
     (((9)))(12) "Purification plant" means that portion of a public water system which treats or improves the physical, chemical or bacteriological quality of the system's water to bring the water into compliance with state board of health standards.
     (((10)))(13) "Secretary" means the secretary of the department of health.
     (((11)))(14) "Service" means a connection to a public water system designed to serve a single-family residence, dwelling unit, or equivalent use. If the facility has group home or barracks-type accommodations, three persons will be considered equivalent to one service.
     (((12)))(15) "Surface water" means all water open to the atmosphere and subject to surface runoff.

Sec. 2   RCW 70.119.030 and 1997 c 218 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
     (1) A public water system shall have a certified operator if:
     (a) It is a group A water system; or
     (b) It is a public water system using a surface water source or a groundwater source under the direct influence of surface water.
     (2) The certified operators shall be in charge of the technical direction of a water system's operation, or an operating shift of such a system, or a major segment of a system necessary for monitoring or improving the quality of water. The operator shall be certified as provided in RCW 70.119.050.
     (3) A certified operator may provide required services to more than one system or to a group of systems. The amount of time that a certified operator shall be required to be present at any given system shall be based upon the time required to properly operate and maintain the public water system as designed and constructed in accordance with RCW 43.20.050. The employing or appointing officials shall designate the position or positions requiring mandatory certification within their individual systems and shall assure that such certified operators are responsible for the system's technical operation.
     (4) The department shall, in establishing by rule or otherwise the requirements for public water systems with fewer than one hundred connections, phase in such requirements in order to assure that (a) an adequate number of certified operators are available to serve the additional systems, (b) the systems have adequate notice and time to plan for securing the services of a certified operator, (c) the department has the additional data and other administrative capacity, (d) adequate training is available to certify additional operators as necessary, and (e) any additional requirements under federal law are satisfied. The department shall require certified operators for all group A systems as necessary to conform to federal law or implementing rules or guidelines. Unless necessary to conform to federal law, rules, or guidelines, the department shall not require a certified operator for a system with fewer than one hundred connections unless that system is determined by the department to be in significant noncompliance with operational, monitoring, or water quality standards that would put the public health at risk, as defined by the department by rule, or has, or is required to have, water treatment facilities other than simple disinfection.
     (((5) Any examination required by the department as a prerequisite for the issuance of a certificate under this chapter shall be offered in each region where the department has a regional office.
     (6) Operators not required to be certified by this chapter are encouraged to become certified on a voluntary basis.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3   A new section is added to chapter 70.119 RCW to read as follows:
     (1) Backflow assembly testers and cross-connection control specialists must hold a valid certificate and must be certified as provided by rule as adopted under the authority of RCW 70.119.050.
     (2) Backflow assembly testers who maintain or repair backflow assemblies, devices, or air gaps inside a building are subject to certification under chapter 18.106 RCW.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4   A new section is added to chapter 70.119 RCW to read as follows:
     (1) Any examination required by the department as a prerequisite for the issuance of certificate under this chapter must be offered in both eastern and western Washington.
     (2) Operators not required to be certified by this chapter are encouraged to become certified on a voluntary basis.

Sec. 5   RCW 70.119.110 and 1995 c 269 s 2906 are each amended to read as follows:
     The secretary may ((after conducting a hearing)) revoke or suspend a certificate: (1) Found to have been obtained by fraud or deceit; ((or)) (2) for fraud, deceit, or gross negligence ((in)) involving the operation or maintenance of a ((purification plant or distribution system)) public water system; (3) for fraud, deceit, or gross negligence in inspecting, testing, maintenance, or repair of backflow assemblies, devices, or air gaps intended to protect a public water system from contamination; or (4) for an intentional violation of the requirements of this chapter or any lawful rules, order, or regulation of the department. No person whose certificate is revoked under this section shall be eligible to apply for a certificate ((for one year from the effective date of the final order of)) until the completion of the revocation period.

Sec. 6   RCW 70.119.130 and 1991 c 305 s 8 are each amended to read as follows:
     Any person, including any operator or any firm, association, corporation, municipal corporation, or other governmental subdivision or agency who, after thirty days' written notice, operates a public water system which is not in compliance with RCW 70.119.030(1), shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Each month of such operation out of compliance with RCW 70.119.030(1) shall constitute a separate offense. Upon conviction, violators shall be fined an amount not exceeding one hundred dollars for each offense. It shall be the duty of the prosecuting attorney or the attorney general, as appropriate, to secure injunctions of continuing violations of any provisions of this chapter or the rules and regulations adopted ((hereunder: PROVIDED, That, except in the case of fraud, deceit, or gross negligence under RCW 70.119.110, no revocation, citation or charge shall be made under RCW 70.119.110 and 70.119.130 until a proper written notice of violation is received and a reasonable opportunity for correction has been given)) under this chapter.

Sec. 7   RCW 70.119.160 and 1993 c 306 s 4 are each amended to read as follows:
     The department of health certifies ((individuals responsible for the active daily technical operation of)) public water ((supply systems)) system operators and monitors public water ((supply)) systems to ensure that such systems comply with the requirements of this chapter and ((regulations)) rules implementing this chapter. The secretary shall establish a schedule of fees for ((certified)) operator applicants and renewal licenses and a separate schedule of fees for public water systems to support the waterworks operator certification program. The fees shall be set at a level sufficient for the department to recover the costs of the waterworks operator certification program and in accordance with the procedures established under RCW 43.70.250.

         Passed by the House March 5, 2009.
         Passed by the Senate April 17, 2009.
         Approved by the Governor April 25, 2009.
         Filed in Office of Secretary of State April 27, 2009.