BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”



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          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING
          AB 2398 (Hueso)
          As Amended  May 21, 2012
          Majority vote 

           WATER, PARKS & WILDLIFE   9-1   ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY     8-1    
           
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          |Ayes:|Huffman, Campos, Fong,    |Ayes:|Wieckowski, Miller,       |
          |     |Gatto, Roger HernŠndez,   |     |Campos, Chesbro, Davis,   |
          |     |Hueso, Jones, Lara,       |     |Feuer, Bonnie Lowenthal,  |
          |     |Yamada                    |     |Morrell                   |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |Nays:|Beth Gaines               |Nays:|Donnelly                  |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
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           APPROPRIATIONS      12-5                                        
           
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          |Ayes:|Fuentes, Blumenfield,     |     |                          |
          |     |Bradford, Charles         |     |                          |
          |     |Calderon, Campos, Davis,  |     |                          |
          |     |Gatto, Ammiano, Hill,     |     |                          |
          |     |Lara, Mitchell, Solorio   |     |                          |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |Nays:|Harkey, Donnelly,         |     |                          |
          |     |Nielsen, Norby, Wagner    |     |                          |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
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           SUMMARY  :  Makes major changes to the state's regulation of the 
          use of recycled water.  This bill deletes much of the existing 
          statutory and regulatory language governing recycled water, and 
          the Water Recycling Act of 2012 (WRA) consolidates similar, and 
          in some cases identical, provisions into the WRA which is a new 
          division of the Water Code.  Generally, this bill defines highly 
          treated recycled water as Advanced Treated Purified Water (ATPF) 
          and subjects its use to regulation by the Department of Public 
          Health (DPH), and defines less-treated, but still relatively 
          clean recycled water, known as disinfected tertiary recycled 
          water, as not waste water and subjects its use to regulation by 
          the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB).  This bill 
          provides monitoring and enforcement authority to DPH and SWRCB 








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          as well as fee authority to cover their permitting costs and 
          other related responsibilities.  

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Provides the State Board has the ultimate authority over state 
            water rights and water quality policy under the Porter-Cologne 
            Water Quality Control Act (Porter-Cologne).  However, 
            Porter-Cologne also establishes nine Regional Boards to 
            oversee water quality on a day-to-day basis at the local and 
            regional level.

          2)Requires the Regional Boards, and sometimes the SWRCB, to 
            prepare and periodically update Basin Plans (water quality 
            control plans).  Each Basin Plan establishes:

             a)   Beneficial uses of water designated for each water body 
               to be protected;


             b)   Water quality standards, known as water quality 
               objectives, for both surface water and groundwater; and,

             c)   The actions necessary to maintain these standards in 
               order to control point sources (end-of-pipe discharges) and 
               non-point sources of pollution to the state's waters.

          1)Mandates permits issued to control pollution (i.e., 
            waste-discharge requirements and National Pollutant Discharge 
            Elimination System (NPDES) permits) must implement Basin Plan 
            requirements (i.e., water quality standards), taking into 
            consideration beneficial uses to be protected.

          2)Requires any person proposing to discharge waste within any 
            region to file a report of waste discharge with the 
            appropriate Regional Board.  No discharge may take place until 
            the Regional Board issues waste discharge requirements or a 
            waiver of the waste discharge requirements.

          3)Empowers the Water Boards, under the auspices of the U.S. 
            Environmental Protection Agency, to grant Clean Water Act 
            NPDES permits for certain point-source discharges. In 
            practice, California routinely issues NPDES permits to 
            selected point-source dischargers and either waste discharge 








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            requirements or conditioned water quality certification for 
            other discharges. 

          4)Requires any discretionary decision by a public agency with 
            the potential for significant impacts of the environment to 
            undergo environmental review pursuant to the California 
            Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), unless otherwise exempt.
            
          FISCAL EFFECT  :   According to the Assembly Appropriations 
          Committee:

          1)Annual special fund costs to DPH to develop and implement a 
            program to issue permits for raw water augmentation projects, 
            including a) conducting engineering evaluations; b) 
            establishing uniform water recycling criteria; c) reporting on 
            the feasibility of developing drinking water criteria for 
            potable reuse involving treated water augmentation; d) 
            convening and administering an expert panel on public health 
            issues and scientific and technical matter; e) appointing an 
            advisory group; and, f) conducting studies and investigations. 
             (Augmentation Permit Fund, created by this bill.)

          2)Annual permitting fee revenue of an unknown amount sufficient 
            to cover DPH's annual costs (Augmentation Permit Fund).

          3)Annual special fund costs to SWRCB, in the range of $450,000 
            to $900,000 (approximately equivalent to three to seven staff 
            members), to develop and implement a program for permitting 
            tertiary treated recycled water projects, including a) 
            reviewing monitoring reports; b) prescribing terms of permits 
            and monitoring requirements; c) enforcing and evaluating 
            compliance; d) analyzing laboratory samples; e) conducting 
            water monitoring and modeling; f) reviewing documents; and, g) 
            other administrative activities. (Water Recycling Permit Fund, 
            created by this bill.)

          4)Annual savings to SWRCB, in the range of $165,000 to $325,000 
            (equivalent to one to three staff members) resulting from 
            transfer of certain recycled water projects permitting to DPH 
            that, absent this bill, would be permitted by SWRCB (Waste 
            Discharge Permit Fund.)

           COMMENTS  :  The 2009 update of the California Water Plan, also 
          known as "Bulletin 160," projected that 0.9 million to 1.4 








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          million acre-feet of "new water" could be achieved by 2030 
          through the recycling of municipal wastewater that is currently 
          discharged into the ocean or saline bays.  An acre-foot is 
          enough water to flood an acre of land a foot deep and supply, on 
          average, five people for one year.  In 2008, the Legislative 
          Analyst's Office, in California's Water: An LAO Primer, found 
          that using a "least cost, highest gain" criterion for long-term 
          water supply options," investing in the long-term solution of 
          recycled municipal water would be the first funding priority."  
          This January, the National Water Research Institute (NWRI), in a 
          white paper entitled Direct Potable Reuse: Benefits for Public 
          Water Supplies, Agriculture, the Environment, and Energy 
          Conservation, concluded that treating a significant fraction of 
          the municipal wastewater now being discharged to the ocean to 
          drinking water standards and introducing direct potable reuse of 
          municipal wastewater could stabilize the water supply in 
          Southern California by augmenting reduced State Water Project 
          deliveries and ensuring against water supply interruptions due 
          to unforeseen events, such as a natural or human-made disasters. 
           

          The author of this bill states that recycled water is an 
          important component of California's sustainable water future and 
          economic strength and that this bill would expand the use of 
          recycled water in California by improving and streamlining the 
          existing regulatory and permitting process to reflect current 
          scientific study and advances in treatment technology.  The 
          author concludes that by establishing a consistent and 
          appropriate regulatory and permitting framework for this 
          important alternative water supply, this bill will help secure 
          California's water supply reliability and provide the foundation 
          for California's future economic stability.  Supporters state 
          that while many of their member agencies participate in recycled 
          water projects, the projects themselves can be difficult to get 
          off of the ground because of the complicated and fragmented 
          permitting processes that currently exist.  Supporters believe 
          that creating a streamlined process of clear regulations and 
          permits will encourage local governments to pursue recycled 
          water projects as a means of local water supply sustainability.

          Opponents are concerned that the changing the definition of 
          waste in this bill to exclude certain types of recycled water 
          could have negative impacts on the environment and human health. 
           Opponents question how tertiary treatment is differentiated 








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          from the most advanced technologies that supposedly produce 
          purified water in some Southern California treatment systems and 
          are concerned that incidental runoff will not be reported until 
          50,000 gallons has been spilled by each recycler.  Opponents 
          state that 100 gallons is the most that should be considered 
          incidental and are also concerned about the negative impacts of 
          low doses of endocrine disrupting chemicals in water and 
          wastewater.  

          Please see the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee and 
          the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials policy 
          analyses for a full discussion of this bill.  Following those 
          hearings, amendments were made to this bill on May 21, 2012, to 
          strengthen DPH and SWRCB authorities to regulate recycled water, 
          including adding additional enforcement and review provisions 
          and making technical and clarifying corrections.  

          Lastly, it should be noted that the 50,000 gallon reporting 
          requirement for unauthorized discharges of tertiary disinfected 
          recycled water is existing law under Porter-Cologne.

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Tina Cannon Leahy / W., P. & W. / (916) 
          319-2096 

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