BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                 SENATE HEALTH
                               COMMITTEE ANALYSIS
                        Senator Elaine K. Alquist, Chair

          BILL NO:       SB 918                                       
          AUTHOR:        Pavley                                       
          AMENDED:       March 17, 2010                              
          HEARING DATE:  March 24, 2010                               
                                Water recycling 


          Requires the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)  
          to develop and adopt uniform water recycling criteria for  
          indirect potable water reuse, and investigate the  
          feasibility of developing uniform water recycling criteria  
          for direct potable reuse. 

                             CHANGES TO EXISTING LAW
          Existing federal law:
          Establishes the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to protect  
          public health by regulating the nation's public drinking  
          water supply. The act requires actions to protect drinking   
                  water and its sources, including rivers, lakes,  
          reservoirs, springs, and ground water wells.

          Establishes the Clean Water Act (CWA), which prescribes the  
          basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants  
          into the waters of the United States and regulating quality  
          standards for surface waters.
          Existing state law:
          Requires CDPH to establish uniform statewide recycling  
          criteria for each type of use of recycled water use, as  


          STAFF ANALYSIS OF SENATE BILL  918 (Pavley)    Page 2



          Establishes the Water Recycling Act of 1991, creating a  
          statewide goal to recycle a total of 700,000 acre-feet of  
          water per year by the year 2000 and 1,000,000 acre-feet of  
          water per year by the year 2010. Requires each urban water  
          supplier to prepare, and update every five years, an urban  
          water management plan with specified components, including   
             information on recycled water and its potential for use  
          as a water source in the service area of the urban water  

          Establishes The Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act to  
          give authority to the State Water Resources Control Board  
          (state board) over state water rights and water quality  
          policy, and establishes nine regional water quality control  
          boards (regional boards) to oversee water quality on a  
          day-to-day basis at the local/regional level.

          Finds any person who causes or permits a hazardous  
          substance to be discharged into waters of the state to be  
          strictly civilly liable for those impermissible discharges.  
           Finds any person civilly liable who is found in violation  
          of specified clean-up orders or waste discharge  
          requirements in waters of the state, with certain  

          Prevents a regional board from imposing civil liability in  
          an amount less than the minimum amount prescribed in  
          statute, unless certain findings are made. Requires the  
          Attorney General, upon request, to petition the superior  
          court to impose, assess and recover the sums.

          Requires funds generated by these civil penalties to be  
          deposited into the Waste Discharge Permit Fund, to be  
          expended by the state board upon appropriation by the  
          Legislature, to assist regional boards in cleaning up or  
          abating the effects of waste in waters in the state. 
          This bill:
          Requires CDPH to complete and adopt criteria for uniform  
          water recycling of indirect potable water reuse according  
          to a specified schedule. 

          Requires CDPH to investigate and report to the Legislature  
          on the feasibility of developing uniform water recycling  


          STAFF ANALYSIS OF SENATE BILL  918 (Pavley)    Page 3


          criteria for direct potable reuse, and requires a public  
          review draft report.  The final report shall be provided to  
          the Legislature by December 31, 2015 and be made public. 

          Requires CDPH to convene an expert panel to advise on  
          scientific and technical matters related to the development  
          of the aforementioned criteria, comprised of specified  
          experts. Allows CDPH to also appoint an advisory group,  
          task force, or other group comprised of representatives of  
          water and wastewater agencies, local public health  
          officers, and related public health and environmental  

          Provides that funds generated by these civil penalties  
          between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2015 shall be made  
          available to CDPH upon appropriation by the Legislature,  
          for the purpose of completing these uniform water recycling  
          criteria requirements, and not to exceed specified amounts.  

          Makes findings and declarations regarding the state board's  
          updated water recycling policy and the goal of increasing  
          the use of recycled water in the state over 2002 levels by  
          at least 1,000,000 acre-feet per year by 2020, and by at  
          least 2,000,000 acre-feet per year by 2030.

          Makes various non-substantive technical changes.

                                 FISCAL IMPACT
          This bill has not been analyzed by a fiscal committee. 

                            BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION  

          The state's growing demand for water, lack of new water  
          resources, and frequent calls for water conservation in low  
          and consecutive low rainfall years have resulted in efforts  
                  to augment potable supplies with recycled water.  
          According to the author, California discharges nearly four  
          million acre feet of wastewater into the ocean each year,  
          much of which could be recycled. Water recycling has been  
          recognized as a cost-effective and drought-proof method of  


          STAFF ANALYSIS OF SENATE BILL  918 (Pavley)    Page 4


          helping to meet California's needs. 

          Recycled water
          Recycled water, sometimes called reclaimed water, is former  
          wastewater (sewage) that has been treated to remove solids  
          and certain impurities, and then allowed to recharge the  
          aquifer rather than being discharged to surface water. This  
          recharging is often done by using the treated wastewater  
          for irrigation. Recycled water is used for many purposes  
          including agricultural irrigation, landscape irrigation,  
          groundwater recharge, and seawater intrusion barriers.   
          Before recycled water can be used for these beneficial  
          uses, the regional water quality control boards and CDPH  
          require treatment to remove pollutants that could be  
          harmful to the beneficial use.

          Federal water quality
          The objective of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act,  
          commonly referred to as the Clean Water Act (CWA), is to  
          restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological  
          integrity of the nation's waters by preventing point and  
          nonpoint pollution sources, providing assistance to  
          publicly owned treatment works for the improvement of   
          wastewater treatment, and maintaining the integrity of  
          wetlands. It is the national policy that area wide  
          treatment management planning processes be developed and  
          implemented to assure adequate control of sources of  
          pollutants in each state.

          The 1972 amendments to the act introduced a permit system  
          for regulating point sources of pollution. Point sources  
          include: industrial facilities (including manufacturing,  
          mining, oil and gas extraction, and service industries),  
          municipal governments and other government facilities (such  
          as military bases), and some agricultural facilities, such  
          as animal feedlots.  Point sources may not discharge  
          pollutants to surface waters without a permit from the  
          National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).  
          This system is managed by the United States Environmental  
          Protection Agency (EPA) in partnership with state  
          environmental agencies. EPA has authorized 46 states to  
          issue permits directly to the discharging facilities. 

          Due to the sheer numbers of potential chemicals that exist,  
          the EPA contends that traditional wastewater treatment  
          processes used in public water systems for recycled water  


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          are not the only solution for all potable water quality  
          concerns, particularly since current analytical methods are  
          insufficient to identify all potential contaminants at  
          concentrations of health significance. For instance, trace  
          organic compounds, including pharmaceuticals, hormones,  
          antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and personal care  
          products (antibacterial soaps, sunscreen, bath gels, etc.)  
          can be present in municipal wastewaters. None of these  
          individual compounds are regulated or monitored by maximum  
          contaminant levels (MCLs) in the SDWA. 

          State water quality
          The Drinking Water Program within the CDPH Division of  
          Drinking Water and Environmental Management (DDWEM)  
          regulates California's public water systems; promotes and  
          provides information on water conservation; oversees water  
          recycling projects; and certifies drinking water treatment  
          and distribution operators, among other things. DDWEM  
          allows disinfected-tertiary or advanced treated recycled  
          water for "indirect drinking use" such as water recharge.  
          Tertiary treatment includes treatment processes beyond  
          secondary or biological processes which further improve  
          effluent quality, and can include detention in lagoons and  
          conventional filtration via sand, among others.

          State regulations
          The use of recycled water for groundwater recharge by  
          surface or subsurface application is regulated under  
          several state laws designed to ensure the protection of  
          public health and water quality. CDPH regulates projects  
          under the State Water Recycling Criteria (Title 22) and  
          draft groundwater recharge regulations. The draft recharge  
          regulations, which are used as guidance in evaluating  
          projects, specifically address protection of public health  
          in terms of chemicals, microorganisms, and constituents of  
          emerging concern, such as personal care products,  
          pharmaceuticals, and compounds that impact human growth and  
          reproduction. In January 2007, CDPH posted a revised draft  
          of the Groundwater Recharge Regulations on its website and  
          formed an expanded Groundwater Recharge Regulations Working  
          Group (advisory group) to discuss and revise the draft  
          regulations. In August 2008, CDPH posted a revised draft of  
          the regulations on its website and asked for public  
          comments to be submitted in October 2008. Since that time,  
          CDPH has been reviewing the comments and preparing  
          responses. In 2009, CDPH submitted the draft to CDPH's  


          STAFF ANALYSIS OF SENATE BILL  918 (Pavley)    Page 6


          legal services group for review. Once a final draft has  
          been prepared based on the legal services input, the  
          complete regulatory package must be prepared and the formal  
          regulatory process can begin. 

          Per the CDPH website, the main steps in the formal  
          regulatory process will include review of the proposed  
          regulation by CDPH's Office of Regulations and Hearings,   
          CDPH's Budget Office, the Department of Finance, the Health  
          & Human Services Agency and the Office of Administrative  
          Law (OAL), prior to publication in the California  
          Regulatory Notice Register. There is a 45-day public  
          comment period, followed by preparation of responses to  
          comments. The final regulations package goes for approval  
          by the CDPH Director's Office. Once signed, the package  
          goes to OAL for final review for Administrative Procedure  
          Act compliance, which can take up to 30 working days.  
          Following OAL approval, the regulation is filed with the  
          Secretary of State, and becomes effective 30 days later.  
          The timeframe for completing this process is at a minimum  
          two to three years, based on adoption of other CDPH  
          Related bills
          AB 1100 (Duvall) of 2009, would have defined potable reuse  
          demonstration water and allowed it to be bottled for  
          consumption, subject to distribution limits and labeling  
          requirements, for educational purposes only. Failed passage  
          in Senate Environmental Quality Committee.
          AB 410 (De la Torre) of 2009 would have set a statewide  
          water recycling target to a total of 1,300,000 acre-feet of  
          water per year by the year 2020, and 2,000,000 acre-feet of  
          water per year by the year 2030. Would require the  
          Department of Water Resources to assess progress toward  
          meeting that target every five years, based on information  
          provided in urban water management plans. Pending in the  
          Senate Appropriations Committee.

          Prior legislation
          AB 2270 (Laird) of 2008 would have required additional  
          reporting on recycled water and allow local limitations on  
          salinity inputs. Vetoed

          AB 921 (Wayne) Chapter 295, Statutes of 1998, prohibited  
          the department from issuing
          a permit to a public water system or from amending a valid  


          STAFF ANALYSIS OF SENATE BILL  918 (Pavley)    Page 7


          existing permit for the use of a reservoir as a source of  
          supply that is directly augmented with recycled water, as  
          specified, unless specified requirements imposed on the  
          department are satisfied.

          Arguments in support
          WateReuse California contends that this bill reinforces a  
          science-based approach to evaluating the safety of recycled  
          water and will help California meet current and future  
          water supply demand.  They note that CDPH has made  
          significant progress on groundwater recharge criteria using  
          scientific research, independent expert guidance and a  
          stakeholder panel. This bill provides CDPH with the  
          resources to finish its work on water recycling criteria  
          for groundwater recharge and surface water augmentation.

          County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles claims it is  
          critical for the state to support the increased use of  
          recycled water in the future, since it is one of the few  
          sources of "new" water supply.  The type of use with the  
          largest potential that is currently allowed involves  
          indirect potable reuse, either via groundwater recharge,  
          direct injection, or surface water augmentation.

           1.  Double referral.  This bill is double referred to  
          Environmental Quality Committee.

          Support:  Planning and Conservation League (Co-sponsor)
                    WateReuse California (Co-sponsor)
                    California Association of Sanitation Agencies
                 California Water Association
                 County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County
                 East Bay Municipal Utility District
                    Sierra Club California

          Oppose:  None received

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