BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 2515
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   May 19, 2010

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                Felipe Fuentes, Chair

               AB 2515 (V. Manuel Perez) - As Amended:  April 29, 2010 

          Policy Committee:                              Environmental  
          Safety and Toxic Materials                    Vote: 9-0

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:              No

           SUMMARY  

          This bill authorizes the Department of Public Health (DPH) to  
          conduct an expedited process to temporarily allow point-of-use  
          drinking water treatment systems.  Specifically, this bill:

          1)Authorizes DPH to adopt criteria, not subject to the  
            Administrative Procedures Act (APA), to permit point-of-use  
            drinking water treatment systems.

          2)Limits use of any such criteria as follows:

             a)   DPH may use the criteria until January 1, 2014, or until  
               DPH's regulations on point-of-use drinking water treatment  
               systems take effect, whichever is earlier.

             b)   DPH must publish the criteria on its Web site and  
               provide opportunity for public review and comment,  
               including at least one public hearing.

             c)   The criteria incorporates current-law limitations on  
               DPH's regulation of point-of-use drinking water treatment  
               systems: (i) to be used for a water systems with less than  
               200 service connections, (ii) the use is allowed under the  
               federal Safe Drinking Water Act, and (iii) the water system  
               has submitted preapplications with DPH for funding to  
               correct the violations the point-of-use treatment is to  
               address.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          Minor, absorbable costs to DPH.








                                                                  AB 2515
                                                                  Page  2


           COMMENTS  

           1)Rationale  . The author describes this bill as an attempt to  
            help the small, generally low-income residents of eastern  
            Coachella Valley.  Most area residents lack clean drinking  
            water, the author reports, because the area's groundwater is  
            contaminated by naturally-occurring arsenic.  The author  
            contends point-of-use drinking water treatment systems may be  
            appropriate for many living in the region.  Residents cannot  
            employ these systems, the author continues, because DPH has  
            yet to adopt regulations permitting their use.  The author  
            intends this bill to provide an expedited process that  
            temporarily allows use such point-of-use systems until DPH  
            issues regulations governing their use.

           2)Background  .  

              a)   Regulation of Drinking Water  .  In California, two state  
               entities-the Office of Environmental Health Hazard  
               Assessment (OEHHA) and DPH-are responsible for assuring  
               that the state's drinking water is safe, pure, and potable.  
                OEHHA scientifically assesses the risks to human health  
               posed by contaminants that may be found in the state's  
               public drinking water systems and that are regulated, or  
               proposed to be regulated, under DPH's safe drinking water  
               regulatory program. Based on that scientific assessment,  
               OEHHA adopts contaminant-specific goals that specify, based  
               solely on public health considerations, the maximum levels  
               of concentration at which various contaminants can be found  
               in drinking water without adversely affecting human health.  


                DPH manages the risk to human health identified in OEHHA's  
               health goals by setting primary drinking water standards.   
               In this way, OEHHA's public health goals form the  
               scientific basis of DPH's regulation of drinking water to  
               ensure public health and safety. 

               Current law directs DPH to adopt regulations governing the  
               use of point-of-entry and point-of-use treatment by public  
               water systems in lieu of centralized treatment where it can  
               be demonstrated that centralized treatment is not  
               immediately economically feasible.  Use of such systems is  
               to be limited to the following:








                                                                 AB 2515
                                                                  Page  3


                  (1)       Water systems with less than 200 service  
                    connections.
                  (2)       Usage allowed under the federal Safe Drinking  
                    Water Act and its implementing regulations and  
                    guidance.
                  (3)       Water systems that have submitted  
                    preapplications to DPH for funding to correct the  
                    violations for which the point-of-use treatment is  
                    provided.

               DPH has yet to adopt regulations governing point-of-entry  
               and point-of-use treatment by public water systems.

              b)   Administrative Procedures Act  .  The Administrative  
               Procedure Act (APA) establishes rulemaking procedures and  
               standards for California state agencies. APA requirements  
               are designed to provide the public with a meaningful  
               opportunity to participate in the adoption of state  
               regulations and to ensure that regulations are clear,  
               necessary and legally valid.  Arguably, APA requirements  
               lengthen the rulemaking process.   

          3)Supporters include California Rural Legal Assistance  
            Foundation and Poder Popular of the Coachella Valley.

           4)There is no registered opposition to this bill.  

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Jay Dickenson / APPR. / (916) 319-2081