Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 88

February Session, 2012

 

LCO No. 875

 

*00875_______ENV*

 

Referred to Committee on Environment

 

Introduced by:

 

(ENV)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING THE PUBLIC'S RIGHT TO KNOW OF A SEWAGE SPILL.

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

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2012) (a) For the purposes of this section and section 2 of this act:

(1) "Sewage treatment plant" means any sewage treatment plant, water pollution control plant, related pumping station, utility or other public works facility;

(2) "Sewage spill" means any discharge of waste, substandard effluent or wastewater, contaminants or pollutants, sludge, suspended and settable solids, chemicals, nutrients, pathogens, toxins, or nonindigenous compounds from a sewage treatment plant to a waterway situated, touching or otherwise existing within the boundaries of this state. "Sewage spill" includes any related violation, excursion or infraction of any applicable environmental law by a sewage treatment plant in this state that reasonably initiates public health, safety or welfare concerns or environmental concerns;

(3) "NPDES permit" means a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit issued to a sewage treatment plant; and

(4) "Violation or exceedance" means any visible, demonstrative or quantitatively determinable infraction, excursion, or marked increase in parameters by a sewage treatment plant relating to any environmental law, including, but not limited to, NPDES permit regulations, limitations and restrictions, that is the direct result of a sewage spill.

(b) Whenever a violation or exceedance occurs at any sewage treatment plant within the state, the owner or operator of such sewage treatment plant shall immediately notify the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection of such violation or exceedance. Not later than twenty-four hours after receipt of any such notification, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall: (1) Notify the Commissioner of Public Health and any affected municipality of such violation or exceedance, and (2) notify the general public of such violation or exceedance by posting notice of the violation or exceedance, in conformity with subsection (c) of this section, on the Internet web site of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

(c) Any notice posted by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection on the Internet web site of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, shall contain the following information: (1) The volume and treated state of the sewage spill; (2) the date and time of the sewage spill; (3) the expected duration of the sewage spill, to the extent it is known; (4) a brief description of the steps being taken to contain such sewage spill; (5) the location, with the maximum specificity that is reasonably possible, of the occurrence, including whether it is contained within the sewage treatment plant and whether it has escaped into surrounding neighborhoods or the environment; (6) all chemicals and agents applied to absorb the sewage spill; (7) the material safety data sheet for any chemical or agent applied to absorb the sewage spill; (8) any public health, safety or welfare concerns or environmental concerns relating to the sewage spill; (9) information concerning safety precautions that residents should take, and (10) any other information deemed relevant by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2012) Not later than December thirty-first of each year, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Commissioner of Public Health, shall produce an annual report on the total number of sewage treatment plant violations and exceedances that occurred in the state during the prior calendar year. Such report shall include: (1) The total number of violations or exceedances and information on whether such violations or exceedances were rectified, and (2) the details of each violation or exceedance, including, but not limited to: (A) The volume and treated state of the respective sewage spill, (B) the duration of each violation or exceedance, (C) the location of the violation or exceedance and any potentially affected areas, (D) the remedial responses taken to rectify the violation or exceedance, and (E) any actions taken to mitigate the impact of such violation or exceedance and to avoid further violations or exceedances at the subject sewage treatment plant. Each such report shall be submitted to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2012

New section

Sec. 2

July 1, 2012

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To establish a process for informing the public about sewage spills that can have public health and environmental implications.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]