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Revised Express Terms Summary for SPRTK

6 NYCRR Part 750 and Part 621

REVISED SUMMARY OF EXPRESS TERMS

Implementation of ECL Section 17-0826-a - Mandatory sewage release reporting and notification by publicly owned treatment works and operators of publicly owned sewer systems

The final rule revises provisions of 6 NYCRR Part 750 to implement ECL section 17-0826-a, known as the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act (SPRTK). Under SPRTK, publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) and operators of publicly owned sewer systems (POSSs) are required to report untreated and partially treated sewage discharges to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the local health department, or if there is none, the New York State Department of Health, immediately, but in no case later than two hours from discovery of the discharge. Partially treated sewage discharged directly from a POTW that is in compliance with a DEC approved plan or permit does not need to be reported. SPRTK specifies the necessary minimum content of these two hour reports to the extent the information is knowable with existing systems and models. Furthermore, SPRTK requires POTWs and operators of POSSs to notify the chief elected official, or authorized designee, of the municipality in which the discharge occurred and the chief elected official, or authorized designee, of any adjoining municipality that may be affected of untreated and partially treated sewage discharges as soon as possible, but no later than four hours from discovery of the discharge. For discharges that may present a threat to public health, the same notification must also be provided to the general public within the same time frame through appropriate electronic media as determined by DEC. The rule making provisions to implement SPRTK are summarized below.

750-1.1

Subdivision (f) of section 750-1.1 is amended to reference POSS registrations which are the new regulatory mechanism for POSSs.

750-1.2

New definitions are added to section 750-1.2 to clarify the scope and meaning of the rule. Some paragraphs within subdivision (a) of this section are renumbered as a result of these new definitions. Paragraph (20) of subdivision (a) defines the term 'Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO)' and paragraph (21) of subdivision (a) defines the term 'Combined Sewer System (CSS).' SPRTK reporting and notification requirements apply to CSO discharges from CSSs to the extent these discharges are knowable with existing systems and models, so it is necessary to define these terms. The term 'Publicly Owned Sewer System (POSS)' is defined in paragraph (70) of subdivision (a). Under this definition, a 'POSS' means "a sewer system owned by a municipality and which discharges to a POTW owned by another municipality." The existing definition of 'municipality' in current 6 NYCRR 750-1.2(a)(51) applies to the new definition of 'POSS' and continues to apply to the current definition of 'POTW' which remains unchanged. Thus, both POTWs and POSSs include systems that are owned by a "county, town, city, village, district corporation, special improvement district, sewer authority or agency thereof." The new definition of 'POSS,' however, distinguishes POSSs from POTWs because POTWs are defined to include sewers that discharge to the POTW only if those sewers are owned by the same municipality that owns the POTW. Finally, paragraphs (63) and (96) of subdivision (a) define the terms 'partially treated sewage' and 'untreated sewage' to specify the type of waste addressed by the rule. The new definition of 'partially treated sewage' replaces the definition of 'partially treated' since Part 750 only uses the term 'partially treated' when referring to sewage. The new definition for 'partially treated sewage' is at least as stringent as the previous definition of 'partially treated' and aligns with SPRTK's goal to protect public health. The final rule revises the definitions of 'untreated sewage' and 'partially treated sewage' slightly from the previously proposed rule to clarify these terms.

750-1.22

The rule adds a new Section 750-1.22 to establish a registration program for POSSs and obligates owners and operators of these facilities to comply with specified reporting and notification requirements in amended Section 750-2.7. New Section 750-1.22 requires owners of existing POSSs to register the facility with DEC within 30 days from the effective date of the rule. This section also obligates owners of POSSs to obtain DEC approval and a new or amended registration before commencing construction of a new or modified POSS. Furthermore, this section requires owners of POSSs to notify DEC 30 days prior to a transfer in ownership or operation of the facility; establishes registration procedures regarding POSSs; and provides DEC authorized representatives with express authority to inspect POSSs and their records. Finally, this section requires owners and operators of POSSs to comply with the applicable reporting and notification provisions in subdivisions (b) and (d) of Section 750-2.7. Current Section 750-1.22 and subsequent sections of Subpart 750-1 are renumbered to accommodate this new section.

750-2.6

Subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 750-2.6 are amended to specify that this section applies to SPDES permittees that are not POTWs. POSSs are only required to obtain registrations, not SPDES permits. Thus, the revisions make clear that the special reporting requirements in Section 750-2.6 continue to apply to non-POTW SPDES permittees (such as privately-owned commercial and industrial facilities), but that this section does not address POTWs or POSSs.

750-2.7

Subdivision (b) of section 750-2.7 is amended to implement the new reporting and notification obligations that apply to owners and operators of POTWs and POSSs.

Amended paragraph (b)(1) continues to limit two hour reporting for non-POTW SPDES permittees to discharges that would affect bathing areas during the bathing season, shellfishing or public drinking water intakes. A small number of minor revisions have been made to this paragraph and Subparagraphs (i) through (v) to eliminate obsolete language and to clarify that the content of two hour reports filed by non-POTW SPDES permittees is the same as that for POTWs and POSSs.

Amended paragraph (b)(2) provides that POTWs and POSSs are in compliance with the rule's electronic reporting and notification requirements if they register to use the DEC approved electronic media and submit timely and sufficient reports and notifications when required. The final rule also now clarifies in this paragraph that a CSO is considered untreated sewage for purposes of two hour reporting, four hour notifications and CSO advisories.

Amended subparagraph (b)(2)(i) requires owners and operators of POTWs and POSSs to report untreated and partially treated sewage discharges to DEC and the local health department, or if there is none, the New York State Department of Health, immediately, but in no case later than two hours from discovery of the discharge. Partially treated sewage discharged directly from a POTW that is in compliance with a DEC approved plan or permit does not need to be reported. Clauses (a) through (e) of this subparagraph set forth the necessary content of the reports to the extent the information is knowable with existing systems and models. Consistent with SPRTK, clause (d) in the final rule now contains an exception for wet weather CSO discharges from the requirement to provide a brief description of the measures taken and planned to contain the discharge.

Amended clause (b)(2)(ii)(a) implements SPRTK's four hour notification requirement with respect to municipalities. This provision requires owners and operators of POTWs and POSSs to notify the chief elected official, or authorized designee, of the municipality in which the discharge occurred and the chief elected official, or authorized designee, of any adjoining municipality that may be affected of untreated and partially treated sewage discharges to surface water as soon as possible, but no later than four hours from discovery of the discharge. However, this notification does not apply to partially treated sewage discharged directly from a POTW that is in compliance with a DEC approved plan or permit. For purposes of this clause, a 'municipality' means "a city, town or village" and an 'adjoining municipality' means "any municipality that is adjacent to the municipality in which the discharge occurred."

Amended clause (b)(2)(ii)(b) implements SPRTK's four hour notification requirement for the general public. This provision obligates owners and operators of POTWs and POSSs to notify the general public as soon as possible, but no later than four hours from discovery of discharges of untreated and partially treated sewage to surface water, except that this notification is not required for partially treated sewage discharged directly from a POTW that is in compliance with a DEC approved plan or permit.

Amended subparagraph (b)(2)(iii) of the final rule now provides that "[f]or combined sewer overflows for which real-time telemetered discharge monitoring and detection does not exist, owners and operators of POTWs and POSSs must expeditiously issue advisories to the general public through appropriate electronic media as determined by the department when, based on actual rainfall data or predictive models, enough rain has fallen that combined sewer overflows may discharge." Under this subparagraph, these advisories may be made on a waterbody basis rather than by individual combined sewer overflow points.

Amended Subdivision (b), Subparagraph (2)(iv) requires owners and operators of POTWs and POSSs to submit daily reports for each day that the discharge continues after the date that the initial discharge report is made. On the day the discharge terminates, a termination report may be made in lieu of the daily report. Daily and termination reports must be made within 24 hours of the previous report and include the same content as the initial discharge report, except that the DEC may modify or waive daily and termination reports on a case by case basis if acceptable alternate reporting methods are available. Daily and termination reports are not required for wet weather CSO events.

Subdivision (c) is amended to eliminate 24 hour oral reporting by POTW SPDES permittees of those discharges that are covered by the new two hour reporting. The other existing 24 hour oral reporting requirements for POTWs that are not affected by SPRTK have been left unchanged. Consistent with this approach, the final rule relocates subparagraph (1)(ii) to subparagraph (2)(i) within this subdivision, while excepting sewage discharges already reported within two hours. Furthermore, the current 24 hour oral reporting requirements for non-POTW SPDES permittees are not impacted by SPRTK and remain the same.

Subdivision (d) is amended to extend the requirement to file a five-day written incident report to owners and operators of POSSs; provides that these reports must be submitted to DEC (rather than the regional water engineer specifically); and requires that such reports be submitted on a form prescribed by DEC. Furthermore, this subdivision provides that DEC may waive the requirement for a five-day written incident report for both SPDES permittees and POSSs in situations where applicable reporting requirements have been satisfied. The final rule also now expressly specifies that five day written incident reports are not required for wet weather CSOs that are in compliance with a DEC approved plan or permit.

750-2.8

New Subdivision (g) is added to Section 750-2.8 to set forth operation and maintenance requirements for POSSs.

750-2.10

New Subdivision (j) is added to Section 750-2.10 to provide that owners of new or modified POSSs must comply with the registration requirements of Section 750.1.22 before construction and connection to any existing POTW or POSS.

Other Revisions

Various United States Environmental Protection Agency guidance documents and federal regulations are listed as references in current section 750-1.24. The rule renumbers this section to be section 750-1.25. Consequently, the rule also amends the various provisions throughout Subpart 750-1, Subpart 750-2, and Part 621 that cross reference this section to denote the proper renumbered section. In addition, the headings of Subpart 750-1 and 750-2 are amended to reference POSS Registrations. The Table of Contents for Subpart 750-1 is also amended to reflect the addition of new section 750-1.22 and renumbering of subsequent sections of this Subpart. Furthermore, the Table of Contents for Subpart 750-2 is amended to modify the heading language for sections 750-2.6 and 750-2.7 to clarify the scope of the rule making. This heading language is also amended at the locations where these sections appear in the regulations.


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