BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  SB 918
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   August 4, 2010

                                Felipe Fuentes, Chair

                     SB 918 (Pavley) - As Amended:  June 1, 2010 

          Policy Committee:                              Environmental  
          Safety and Toxic Materials                    Vote: 7-0
                        Water, Parks and Wildlife             10-2

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


          This bill requires the Department of Public Health (DPH) to  
          adopt criteria for the use of recycled water.  Specifically,  
          this bill:

          1)Directs DPH to adopt uniform water recycling criteria, as  

             a)   for indirect potable reuse for groundwater recharge, by  
               year's end, 2013.
             b)   for surface water augmentation in a reservoir used as a  
               source of drinking water, by year's end, 2016, which DPH  
               must submit, prior to adoption, to the expert panel  
               described below. 

          2)Requires DPH to report to the Legislature, by December 31,  
            2016, and following public review, on the feasibility of  
            developing uniform water recycling criteria for direct potable  
            reuse of recycled water. 

          3)Requires DPH to convene and administer an expert panel, as  
            specified, that will

             a)    advise DPH in development of criteria for surface water  
             b)   determine whether DPH's proposed surface water  
               augmentation criteria adequately protects public health;
             c)   advise DPH in its investigation of the feasibility of  
               developing criteria for direct potable reuse of recycled  


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          4)Authorizes DPH to appoint an advisory group of representatives  
            of entities for water supply and water quality, public and  
            environmental health, environmental justice, and business to  
            counsel DPH in its development of criteria for direct potable  
            reuse of recycled water.

          5)Authorizes DPH to reimburse panel members and certain group  
            members for travel expenses.

          6)Redirects upon appropriation, from the State Water Resources  
            Control Board (SWRCB) to DPH, all funds generated from civil  
            liability for waste discharge violations, from July 1, 2011,  
            to June 30, 2017, to implement the provisions of the bill. 

           FISCAL EFFECT
          1)Annual costs to DPH ranging from $170,000 to $300,000  
            (equivalent to a senior engineer fully dedicated to the  
            project and a manager performing differing amounts of work in  
            different years) from 2011-12 through 2016-17 to develop  
            criteria for indirect potable reuse.  (Waste Discharge Permit  
            Fund (WDPF)

          2)Annual costs to DPH ranging from $170,000 to $250,000  
            (equivalent to one senior engineer and one midlevel engineer  
            providing assistance less than full time) from 2011-12 through  
            2016-17 to investigate and prepare report on direct potable  
            reuse.  (WDPF)

          3)Annual costs to DPH of about $150,000 during 2011-12 and  
            2012-13 to convene expert panel and provide administrative  
            support.  (WDPF)

          4)Annual reduction in fine revenue to SWRCB of an unknown  
            amount, but likely in the range of approximately $500,000 to  
            $700,000 (about equal to DPH's annual costs to implement this  
            bill) from 2011-12 to 2016-17.  This reduction results from  
            the bill's dedication to DPH of civil penalty revenue from  
            waste discharge violations.  Absent this bill, those funds  
            would be available to the board to clean up and abate water  
            pollution.  (WDPF)



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           1)Rationale  .  According to the author, California discharges  
            nearly 4 million acre feet of wastewater into the ocean each  
            year, much of which could be recycled.  The author contends,  
            such water recycling does not occur because the state has not  
            adopted uniform safety standards for the potable use of  
            recycled water, creating uncertainty and thereby discouraging  
            local communities from tapping into this major water source.   
            The author intends this bill to provide uniform guidelines  
            that provide greater certainty around the use of recycled  
            water for potable use in order to encourage it.

           2)Background-Recycled Water  .  Recycled water is former  
            wastewater that has been treated to remove pollutants and  
            pathogens.  According to the policy committee analysis, uses  
            of recycled water can be divided into three categories: 

              a)   Non-potable reuse  , such as lawn, crop, or ornamental  
               plant irrigation and industrial processes.  This is the  
               most common use for recycled water in California.

              b)   Indirect potable reuse  that is later, and after  
               additional treatment, used to supply a drinking water  
               system.  This use has been practiced in Southern California  
               since 1962 and has expanded recently.  Examples of indirect  
               potable reuse include groundwater recharge, in which  
               recycled water typically percolates down to a groundwater  
               basin, and surface water, in which recycled water is mixed  
               with other water in a vessel such as a reservoir.

              c)   Direct potable reuse  , meaning the introduction of  
               recycled water directly into a drinking water system,  
               without additional dilution or filtration.  Direct potable  
               reuse is not practiced in California or the US.  There is  
               one operational direct potable use system in the world, in  
               Windhoek, Namibia.

            Existing law requires DPH to establish uniform statewide  
            recycling criteria for each type of use of recycled water  
            where the use involves the protection of public health.

           3)More Oversight of Progress Needed  .  The bill dedicates all  
            funds generated from civil liability for waste discharge  
            violations, from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2017, to DPH, upon  
            appropriation, to implement the provisions of the bill.  While  
            development criteria for use of recycled water may be a  


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            worthwhile use of these funds, it will nonetheless come at the  
            expense another worthwhile activity currently funded by these  
            penalty revenues-clean up and abatement of water pollution.   
            For this reason, it is important the Legislature be able to  
            carefully oversee DPH's progress towards development of the  
            criteria to ensure the funds are put to good and efficient use  
            and to make adjustments to DPH's appropriation accordingly.   
            The committee may want to consider amending the bill to  
            require DPH, in consultation with SWRCB, to report on its  
            progress towards developing the criteria for recycled water  
            use as part of the annual budget process.

           4)Support  .  This bill is supported by the Planning and  
            Conservation League and numerous water districts and local  
            governments that seek to increase use of recycled water.

           5)There is no registered opposition to this bill.  

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