BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                AB 119

                               Senator Jerry Hill, Chair
                               2013-2014 Regular Session
           BILL NO:    AB 119
           AUTHOR:     Asm. Comm. On Environmental Safety and Toxic  
           AMENDED:    April 16, 2013
           FISCAL:     Yes               HEARING DATE:     June 12, 2013
           URGENCY:    No                CONSULTANT:        Rachel Machi 

            SUMMARY  :    
            Existing law  ,

              1)   Under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA),  
                requires the federal Environmental Protection Agency (US  
                EPA) to set standards for drinking water quality and oversee  
                the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement  
                those standards.  California has authority over drinking  
                water, delegated by US EPA.

              2)   Establishes the Drinking Water Program within the  
                Department of Public Health (DPH) to regulate public  
                drinking water systems.

           3)Requires a water treatment device manufacturer who claims that  
             a drinking water treatment device will reduce contaminants or  
             makes other health related performance claims, to be certified  
             by DPH as to the efficacy of the device.

           4)Requires water treatment device manufacturers to pay a fee to  
             DPH for each treatment device application for certification.
           This bill  modifies the current approval process by DPH for  
           in-home water treatment devices.  Specifically,  this bill  : 

           1)Requires DPH to approve for sale water treatment devices that  
             make health claims, provided that the manufacturer of the  
             device submits specified information to the department.  


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           2)Requires submittal of the following information to DPH along  
             with an annual fee:

              a)   Manufacturer's name, contact information and website;

              b)   Name and model of each water treatment device;

              c)   The specific contaminant to be removed or reduced by the  
                device; and

              d)   The name of the accredited third party testing  
                organization that tested the device, including information  
                regarding the protocol and standards used in the testing of  
                the device, test results, and any retest information.

           3)Allows DPH to charge an annual fee up to $4,000 per water  
             treatment device manufactured to be used to maintain the  
             information about water treatment devices on its Internet Web  
             site and to provide funding to environmental health officers to  
             enforce this Chapter.

           4)Authorizes DPH to set and adjust the fee on the treatment  
             device manufacturer by publishing the fee announcement on its  
             Internet Web site.  The fee modification would not be subject  
             to the rulemaking procedure of the Administrative Procedure  

           5)Provides that the fees collected by DPH may be used to maintain  
             an Internet Web site of water treatment devices and for the  
             enforcement of the approval requirements by state or local  
             health officials.
             COMMENTS  :
             1)Purpose of Bill  .  According to the author, "This bill is  
             intended to streamline DPH's existing water treatment device  
             certification program, as the current certification program  
             provides no additional value to California consumers and has  
             prevented many residents, particularly those living in areas  
             where centralized water treatment plants are cost-prohibitive,  
             from being able to purchase state-of-the-art at-home water  
             treatment devices."


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             According to Clean Water Action, a proponent of the bill, "The  
             current program requires CDPH to independently certify each  
             point-of-use water treatment device before it can be sold in  
             retail outlets in the state.  While the purpose of this program  
             was laudable, in fact the certification program provides no  
             added value, as it simply duplicates testing already performed  
             by third party accrediting entities and serves to delay the  
             availability of new devices in the state.  The list of  
             certified devices maintained by CDPH on its Internet Web site  
             is of value, but is out of date almost as soon as it is  

            2)Point of Use (POU)/ Point of Entry Treatment (POE)  .  A POU  
             treatment device is any unit installed on a single water faucet  
             or bubbler that changes the water quality. POE treatment device  
             is any unit installed that changes the water quality of all  
             potable water entering a building.  POE and POU treatment  
             devices such as carbon filters are sometimes installed to  
             enhance the aesthetic quality (taste and odor) of potable water  
             supplied by a local water system.  In other cases, POE and POU  
             treatment devices have been authorized to be installed to meet  
             drinking water standards in place of centralized treatment.

            3)California household water treatment devices  .  According to the  
             DPH, there are currently hundreds of California-certified  
             drinking water treatment devices.  Certified devices include  
             "point of use" and "point of entry" systems, which range from  
             pour-through pitchers and faucet-mount, carbon-filter systems  
             to reverse osmosis, ultraviolet disinfection and household  
             water softeners.  

              Contaminants removed by certified devices include organic  
             chemicals such as MTBE, pesticides, herbicides and solvents;  
             inorganics such as lead, mercury, and perchlorate; and  
             waterborne pathogens, such as bacteria, virus and protozoan  
             cysts, such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

            4)Limitations of POU/POE treatment  .  While POU/POE treatment has  
             advanced in recent years it does not provide equivalent  
             treatment to centralized treatment.  

               a)    Multiple contaminants  .  POU/POE treatment technologies  
                 can provide sufficient treatment for one specific  


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                 contaminant.  However, they are not designed to treat the  
                 complex myriad of contaminants that may be in drinking  
                 water.  So while it may address a primary contaminant of  
                 concern, other contaminants may not be sufficiently  
                 removed. Additionally, contaminants in water affect the  
                 water quality individually and cumulatively.  POU/POE  
                 treatment systems are not designed to address the  
                 cumulative impacts to water quality.

               b)    Adjustment for quality  .  Water quality levels are not  
                 static.  Centralized treatment systems are regularly  
                 monitored and the treatment is adjusted as changes in the  
                 water quality and levels of the range of contaminants  
                 change.  POU/POE treatment systems cannot be adjusted as  
                 the water quality changes, so their efficacy may vary.

               c)    POU does not treat all water  .  Because POU treatment  
                 systems attach to the faucet, their treatment is limited to  
                 water that comes through that faucet.  Showers, washing  
                 machines and other faucets, such as those in bathrooms,  
                 will not be treated.  POU treatment devices are not  
                 appropriate in households where the treated contaminant  
                 presents health risks when inhaled, such as volatile  
                 organic compounds (VOCs) or hexavalent chromium, that may  
                 be released into the air and inhaled, especially in warm  
                 water like a shower because in those households only the  
                 drinking water would be treated.  With many contaminants  
                 that could pose an additional risk, especially in homes  
                 with children, these systems are meant as a very temporary  
                 stopgap measure until centralized water treatment can be  

               d)    Lack of accountability and monitoring  .  Centralized  
                 treatment facilities are regularly inspected and monitored  
                 to ensure sufficient maintenance by either DPH or the  
                 county environmental health jurisdictions.  There is no  
                 built in inspection, monitoring or maintenance when water  
                 systems use POU/POE treatment.  Ensuring proper working  
                 order to POU/POE systems is crucial.  If filters are not  
                 changed when needed, some systems can build up contaminants  
                 in the system and release them into the water in high  


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            5) Amendments needed  .  

               a)       Consumer information  .  As noted above, POE and POU  
                 devices have limitations to the amount and types of  
                 contamination treated as well as varying levels of  
                 sophistication.  These limitations are further complicated  
                 by insufficient maintenance, improper use or the failure of  
                 the device.  Such cases could lead to concentrated exposure  
                 to contamination, exacerbating potential risks that the  
                 device is meant to treat.  While manufacturers of POE and  
                 POU devices are currently required to provide consumers  
                 detailed information about the health and safety claims of  
                 the device, when consumers are shopping for a filtration  
                 system it is important for them to have information about  
                 the contamination the device is meant to treat, the risks  
                 associated with a device that does not work and the DPH  
                 Internet Web site information to find more information.   
             An amendment is needed to require that the filters or screens  
             and devices have a label on the outside of the package that  
             provides this information to consumers prior to purchase.  
               b)   Hard Water and Water Softeners  .  "Hard" water is water  
                that contains a lot of calcium, magnesium or other minerals.  
                Groundwater acquires these metals by dissolving them from  
                surrounding soil and rock.  Hard water causes two problems:

                   a)        Dissolved calcium and magnesium precipitate out  
                     of hard water as scale, which builds up on the insides  
                     of pipes, water heaters, tea kettles, coffee makers and  
                     industrial machinery. Scale reduces flow through pipes  
                     and is a poor conductor of heat. Eventually, pipes can  
                     become completely clogged.

                   b)        Hard water reduces soap's ability to lather,  
                     whether in the shower, sink, dishwasher or washing  
                     machine, and reacts with soap to form a sticky scum.

             Hard water is treated by filtering it by distillation or  
             reverse osmosis or by running it through a water softener.  


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             Water softeners break down salt into sodium ions and chloride and  
             then release the polluted water into septic systems or sewers.   
             Sewers transport it to treatment plants, which deal with the  
             water and discharge it into groundwater or surface water.  

             There, chloride may harm freshwater organisms and plants,  
             including altering reproduction rates, increasing species  
             mortality and altering local ecosystems. 

             In February 2009, SWRCB adopted a statewide policy to encourage  
             greater use of recycled water.  SWRCB's policy includes  
             requirements for regional salt management plans, as increased  
             salt loads in the source water makes recycling more difficult.

             In areas with hard water, one source of salt is generated from  
             a certain type of water softener - referred to as a  
             self-regenerating softener.  Salt released from this type of  
             softener can contribute on average one pound per day of salts.   
             Depending on the other salt sources and the number of softeners  
             in a region- this can present a significant salt problem.

             California and local jurisdiction have statute and regulations  
             that regulate the certification and use of water softener  

             An amendment is needed to clarify that this Chapter is meant to  
             apply to POU/POE devices, (i.e. that remove contamination) not  
             to water softener devices that are adding contamination.

               c)   Is the Fee Sufficient?   The bill contains a provision  
                requiring a $4,000 fee annually per manufacturer of covered  
                devises.  DPH asserts that this fee is sufficient to  
                continue to fund the current level of staffing to provide  
                for the provisions of this bill requiring annual review and  
                update of the Internet Web site and enforcement following a  
                complaint.  Stakeholders would like to see the Internet Web  


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                site up dated on a quarterly basis.  Additionally, as the  
                state will be doing less oversight than is required under  
                current statute, the fee should provide for additional  
                enforcement as necessary.

             An amendment is needed to either increase the fee or change the  
             fee structure to a per device fee to ensure that this program  
             is comprehensive and protective.
            6) Double Referral to Senate Health Committee  .  If this measure  
              is approved by this committee, the do pass motion must include  
              the action to re-refer the bill to the Senate Health  
            SOURCE  :        Clean Water Action
           SUPPORT  :  Association of California Water Agencies
                          Barrier North America, LLC
                          Dow Chemical Company
                          Ecowater Systems
                          OKO H2O Div. -Worldway Industrial Corp.
                          Pacific Water Quality Association
                          The Clorox Company
                          TST Water, LLC - Temecula
                          Water Quality Association
                          3M Purification, Inc.
           OPPOSITION  :    None on file