OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5130

AN ACT CONCERNING THE SEWAGE SPILL RIGHT-TO-KNOW ACT AND EXPANDING CONTINUING EDUCATION PROGRAMS FOR WASTEWATER OPERATORS.

SUMMARY

This bill adds to the reporting requirements applicable to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) following a reported unanticipated sewage spill incident.

By law, after a spill DEEP must post on its website notice of the incident, which may include information such as the discharge location and estimated discharge volume, date and time of incident, geographic area impacted, extent to which the discharge was treated and steps taken to contain it, and public safety precautions that should be taken, among other things.

Beginning July 1, 2018, DEEP must (1) post this information within 24 hours after the unanticipated spill begins and (2) at the same time it posts the information online, issue the information in the form of a press release. Also as of July 1, 2018, sewage spill incident reports must be submitted to DEEP electronically, in a form the commissioner prescribes.

The bill establishes a certification renewal process and a continuing education program for certified wastewater treatment facility operators, which DEEP must begin administering on October 1, 2019.

The bill also makes several technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage for the sewage spill notice requirements and October 1, 2018 for the wastewater operator provisions.

WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT OPERATORS

The bill expands DEEP's authority over certified wastewater treatment facility operators by requiring the commissioner or his designee to administer a certification program that includes an examination and certification renewal process and a continuing education program. Current law and regulations only require that these operators pass an examination and meet certain education requirements as part of their certification (CGS 22a-416; Conn. Agencies Regs. 22a-416-4).

Under the bill, the commissioner must adopt regulations to establish the programs and they must be designed to enable operator certification and enhance professional development. The bill requires the commissioner or his designee to administer the education program, which must include a requirement that operators complete training on the type of municipal facility at which they are employed and on all applicable state and federal requirements and guidelines.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Environment Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

30

Nay

0

(02/28/2018)