BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 803
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          Date of Hearing:   April 16, 2013

                   ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON WATER, PARKS AND WILDLIFE
                                Anthony Rendon, Chair
                     AB 803 (Gomez) - As Amended:  April 9, 2013
           
          SUBJECT  :   Water recycling

           SUMMARY  :   Harmonizes recycled water spill reporting standards,  
          statutorily supersedes specified recycled water terms as defined  
          in regulation, and codifies Regional Water Quality Control Board  
          (RWQCB) authority to permit recycled water advanced treatment  
          projects.   Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Enacts the Water Recycling Act of 2013.

          2)Eliminates inconsistent recycled water spill reporting  
            thresholds by making those in the Health and Safety Code the  
            same as those in the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act  
            (Porter-Cologne).

          3)Supersedes, by statute, specified recycled water definitions  
            currently found in Title 17 of the California Code of  
            Regulations (CCR) and adds new definitions as follows:
             a)   "Auxillary Water Supply" is revised to include recycled  
               water;
             b)   "Air-gap Separation" technology is redefined;
             c)   "Changeover Device" is defined as a fitting or assembly  
               that is used to change a supply of water from one source to  
               another such that non-potable and potable supplies cannot  
               be connected at the same time.
             d)   "Cross-Connection" is limited to actual  
               cross-connections and not potential cross-connections  
               between potable water supplies and nonpotable or unapproved  
               water supplies;
             e)   "Recycled Water" is redefined to match the definition in  
               Porter-Cologne;
             f)   "Water Supplier" is redefined from a person to an  
               entity; and,
             g)   "User Supervisor" is added to define a person  
               responsible for the avoidance of cross-connections during  
               the installation, operation and maintenance of systems.

          4)Supersedes a recycled water table in CCR Title 17 and revises  
            it to include a category of non-residential premises.








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          5)Specifies, in CCR Title 17, how and when a changeover device  
            that switches between a potable and nonpotable system may be  
            used including, but not limited to, emergency situations and  
            when the alternative water supply is locked and a water supply  
            is a necessity.

          6)Supersedes, by statute, specified recycled water definitions  
            currently found in CCR Title 22 as follows:
             a)   "Coagulated wastewater" includes biological processes in  
               addition to chemical processes;
             b)   "Conventional treatment" states a sedimentation process  
               and filtration process will be used but no longer specifies  
               sedimentation will occur between coagulation and  
               filtration;
             c)   "Dual plumbed system" includes uses for outdoor  
               irrigation at individual residences but only where  
               supervised by an owner or tenant.  Supervision by a  
               homeowner's association or equivalent is expressly  
               prohibited;
             d)   "Filtered wastewater" deletes language referring to  
               coagulation.  Also deletes limits on exceeding rates of  
               filtration, as measured in gallons per minute, and instead  
               relies on prohibitions against exceeding turbidity levels  
               in Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTUs), which measure the  
               cloudiness of liquids;
             e)   "Peak dry weather design flow" is quantified as a  
               maximum flow measured over three hours in a 24-hour dry  
               weather period; and,
             f)   "Regulatory agency" is expanded to include the  
               California Department of Public Health having potential  
               jurisdiction over recycling plants in addition to the  
               RWQCBs.

          7)Supersedes, by statute, specified CCR Title 22 recycled water  
            use terms, as follows: 
             a)   Irrigation is no longer restricted to surface  
               irrigation;
             b)   Recycled water used for other purposes references  
               "vehicle washing" instead of "commercial car washes."
             c)   Allows hose bibs that carry recycled water if those hose  
               bibs have adequate signage, notification, and inspection to  
               ensure the general public is on notice that the water is  
               not potable;
             d)   Permits the use of recycled water in individual dwelling  








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               units or the use of recycled water for nonpotable uses  
               located in a food or beverage processing facility; 
             e)   Modifies the prohibition on public water supplies being  
               used as a backup on dual-plumbed recycled water systems to  
               allow two different types of plumbing separation  
               technologies; and,
             f)   Greater detail is provided on how and when to test  
               dual-plumbed systems in order to prevent cross-connection  
               with potable systems.

          8)Memorializes RWQCB authority to permit Advanced Treated  
            Purified Water (ATPW) projects at the point where the highly  
            treated water enters a conveyance facility exiting the  
            treatment plant.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Requires, under the Health and Safety Code, immediately  
            notification to a local health officer or the director of  
            environmental health if there is any discharge of sewage or  
            other waste, or the effluent of treated sewage or other waste,  
            to the waters of the state.

          2)Requires, under Porter-Cologne, that tertiary treated recycled  
            water is only reportable at 50,000 gallons or more and that  
            recycled water that is treated to less than a tertiary level  
            is reportable at 1,000 gallons.

          3)Specifies, in CCR Titles 17 and 22, definitions, including  
            technical definitions, and compliance procedures related to  
            recycled water.

          4)Authorizes the RWQCBs to permit waste discharges to the waters  
            of the state. 

          5)Classifies recycled water, including ATPW, as a waste.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown  


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








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          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 issued California's Water: An LAO Primer, which  
          found that if you used a "least cost, highest gain" criterion  
          for long-term water supply options then "investing in the  
          long-term solution of recycled municipal water would be the  
          first funding priority."

          In January 2012 the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued a  
          report entitled: Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the  
          Nation's Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater.  In  
          that report the NAS states that, nationwide, approximately 12  
          billion gallons of municipal wastewater effluent is discharged  
          each day to an ocean or estuary and that reusing these coastal  
          discharges could directly augment public supply by 27 percent.  
          Unlike water that is discharged into a stream and potentially  
          used by another downstream party, water discharged to the ocean  
          is considered "irrecoverable." 

          Also in January 2012, 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.  
           

          Despite recycled water's potential, its classification as a  
          waste may continue to create some barriers to increased use.   
          For example, ATPW, a highly-purified recycled water, is still  
          classified as a waste subject to discharge permitting.  Raw  
          water supplies are not considered a waste, even if they are of  
          lower water quality than ATPW.  This creates a conundrum where  
          if ATPW is blended with raw water and the entire blend is  
          treated as a waste, the blended water may be incapable of  
          meeting discharge requirements even when the ATPW alone was  
          expected to meet them.  This bill proposes to eliminate that  
          potential dilemma by clarifying that ATPW can be permitted as a  
          discharge at the point it leaves the treatment plant but prior  
          to blending with other water supplies.









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           Prior Legislation  :  AB 2398 (Hueso/2012) would have  
          comprehensively reorganized the State's recycled water statutes  
          into a new Division of the Water Code.  AB 2398 was held in the  
          Senate with a commitment by the author to convene a stakeholder  
          working group that could identify administrative and statutory  
          impediments to water recycling and propose solutions.

           Supporting Arguments  :  The author states that this bill will  
          remove barriers to the increased use of recycled water while  
          maintaining public health and safety.  Supporters add that this  
          bill will achieve that goal by eliminating obsolete and  
          inconsistent regulatory requirements and specifying that ATPW  
          shall be permitted at its point of discharge.  Supporters state  
          that "until such time as DPH acts through its regulatory  
          process" this bill will impose "sensible restrictions on  
          non-potable hose bibs in cemeteries and updated definitions of  
          water treatment processes."  Supporters also emphasize that  
          "despite the enormous success we have achieved with recycled  
          water, there is still more we hope to do" and that this bill  
          will "advance the viability of recycled water in California and  
          is consistent with the state's goal of providing a more reliable  
          water supply."  

           Opposing Arguments  :  Opponents raise technical concerns related  
          to the proposed changes in this bill related to backflow devices  
          and other plumbing measures and maintain those changes will be  
          inadequate to prevent possible contamination of potable water  
          supplies by cross-connection to nonpotable sources.  Opponents  
          state that this bill fails to provide sufficient checks on  
          backflow prevention assemblies, which "are mechanical devices  
          that require periodic testing and maintenance to ensure they are  
          protecting our potable water supply."  

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          WateReuse (sponsor)
          American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees,  
          AFL-CIO
          Association of California Water Agencies
          California Association of Sanitation Agents
          California Coastkeeper Alliance
          California Municipal Utilities Association
          California Water Association








                                                                  AB 803
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          Desert Water Agency
          East Bay Municipal Utility District
          Eastern Municipal Water District
          El Dorado Irrigation District
          Irvine Ranch Water District
          Olivenhain Municipal Water District
          Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District
          San Diego County Water Authority
          West Basin Municipal Water District

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