BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                SB 322

                              Senator Jerry Hill, Chair
                              2013-2014 Regular Session
           BILL NO:    SB 322
           AUTHOR:     Hueso
           AMENDED:    April 22, 2013
           FISCAL:     Yes               HEARING DATE:     May 1, 2013
           URGENCY:    No                CONSULTANT:       Rachel Machi

            SUMMARY  :    
            Existing federal law  ,  
           1)Under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), sets public health  
             regulatory standards for drinking water.

           2)Under the Clean Water Act (CWA), regulates discharge of  
             pollutants into the waters of the United States and sets  
             quality standards for surface waters.

            Existing California law  :  
           1)Requires the Department of Public Health (DPH) to enforce  
             laws and regulations related to drinking water safety.

           2)Requires the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and  
             the Regional Water Quality Control Boards (regional boards)  
             to enforce water quality laws and regulations for the state's  

           3)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 2000 and 1,000,000 acre-feet of water per  
             year by 2010.  

           4)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  


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             area of the urban water supplier.

           5)Requires DPH to adopt uniform water recycling criteria for  
             indirect potable reuse for groundwater recharge on or before  
             December 31, 2013.

           6)Requires DPH to develop and adopt uniform water recycling  
             criteria for indirect potable reuse through reservoir  
             augmentation on or before December 31, 2016.

           7)Requires DPH to investigate and report to the Legislature on  
             the feasibility of developing uniform water recycling  
             criteria for direct potable reuse, and requires a public  
             review draft report to the Legislature and public by June 30,  
             2016, and a final report by December 31, 2016.

           8)Requires DPH 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 DPH 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 organizations. 

           9)Provides that funds generated by civil penalties deposited in  
             the Waste Discharge Permit Fund between July 1, 2011 and June  
             30, 2017 must be made available to DPH upon appropriation by  
             the Legislature in an amount of up to $500,000 each fiscal  
             year ($3 million dollars total), for the purpose of  
             completing these uniform water recycling criteria  
             requirements, and not to exceed specified amounts.

            This bill  :  

           1) Requires DPH in consultation with SWRCB, to investigate the  
              feasibility of developing uniform water recycling criteria  
              for direct potable reuse and to provide a final report on  
              that investigation to the Legislature no later than December  
              31, 2016. 

           2) Requires DPH to complete the public review draft of its  
              report by September 1, 2016.


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           3) Requires, no later than January 30, 2014, the National Water  
              Research Institute to convene and administer an expert panel  
              to advise in place of an expert panel convened by DPH.
           4) Requires the panel to assess any additional areas of  
              research that are needed to be able to establish uniform  
              regulatory criteria for direct potable reuse and recommend  
              an approach for accomplishing any of the additional needed  
              research in a timely manner. 

           5) Requires the inclusion of a limnologist in addition to the  
              other listed experts.

           6) Authorizes the National Water Research Institute to appoint  
              an advisory group, task force, or other group, and would  
              expand the list of specified entities from which the  
              representatives could be selected to include the department,  
              the SWRCB and the United States Environmental Protection  

           7) Provides that, on or before June 30, 2016, the National  
              Water Research Institute shall submit a draft report to DPH  
              summarizing the recommendations of the expert panel. 

           8) Provides that to the extent that state funds are available,  
              DPH shall use state funds for staff time, the expert panel  
              and the report.

           9) Authorizes the expert panel, advisory panel, and report to  
              be directly funded through nonstate donations, and would  
              require DPH to provide staff for specified activities and to  
              use state funds for those activities to the extent state  
              funds are available. 

           10)Authorizes DPH to accept funds from any source and use those  
              funds for certain purposes.

            COMMENTS  :

            1) Purpose of Bill  .  According to the author, timely completion  
              of an expert panel report and recommendations from DPH on  
              the ability to ensure a safe water supply through direct  
              potable reuse projects is critical for the planning of  


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              potable reuse projects in California. While no agencies are  
              currently proposing direct potable reuse projects, safe use  
              of advanced treated purified water for direct potable water  
              would result in significant savings in costs of constructing  
              and operating infrastructure, and reduced energy  
            2) 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 boards and DPH require  
              treatment to remove pollutants that could be harmful to the  
              beneficial use.

            3) Related Legislation  .

              AB 803 (Gomez) enacts the Water Recycling Act of 2013.   
              Specifically the measure makes consistent recycled water  
              spill reporting standards in the Health and Safety Code and  
              Porter Cologne Water Quality Act, 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.   This measure passed out of Assembly Water, Parks  
              and Wildlife (15-0).  It will be heard in Assembly  
              Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee on April  

              AB 1200 (Levine) requires the San Francisco Bay Regional  
              Water Quality Control Board (SF Regional Board) to authorize  
              a five-year pilot project in Sonoma County that would study  
              the effects, if any, of allowing small agricultural  
              irrigation ponds containing recycled water to occasionally  
              overflow during storm events into an area that is already  
              irrigated by recycled water.  This measure passed out of  
              Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee (15-0).  It  
              will be heard in Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic  


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              Materials Committee on April 30.

              SB 918 (Pavley), Chapter 700, Statutes of 2010 requires DPH  
              to establish standards and adopt regulations for various  
              types of water recycling.
             4) State Regulations for Groundwater Recharge  .  DPH 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. 

              a)    In January 2007, DPH posted a revised draft of the  
                 groundwater recharge regulations on its Internet web site  
                 and formed an expanded Groundwater Recharge Regulations  
                 Working Group to discuss and revise the draft  
                 regulations.  In August 2008, DPH posted a revised draft  
                 of the regulations on its Internet web site and asked for  
                 public comments to be submitted in October 2008.

              b)    In 2009, DPH submitted the draft regulations to DPH's  
                 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. 

              c)    In November 2011, DPH released revised draft  
                 regulations addressing groundwater replenishment using  
                 recycled water from domestic wastewater sources, for  
                 aquifers designated as a source of drinking water.   In  
                 December 2011, DPH held workshops throughout the state  
                 and requested written comments from all interested  
                 parties.  DPH has reviewed the comments and has revised  
                 the proposed regulations accordingly.  The proposed  
                 regulations would replace the existing regulations,  
                 adopted in 1978.   DPH is currently in the process of  
                 developing the remainder of the regulation package based  
                 on this latest draft.  

                 Through SB 918 (2010), Water Code section 13562 requires  
                 DPH to adopt revised groundwater replenishment  
                 regulations by December 31, 2013. According to the DPH's  


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                 Internet web site, however, it's unlikely this deadline  
                 will be met since DPH has not received the additional  
                 resources necessary to meet the deadline in SB 918.   
                 Nevertheless, proposed groundwater replenishment (and  
                 surface water augmentation) projects continue to move  

            5) National Water Research Institute (NWRI)  .  The NWRI was  
              established in 1991 to address water supply and quality  
              challenges facing our nation through cooperative research  
              efforts. Our mission is to create new sources of water  
              through research and technology and to protect the  
              freshwater and marine environments.

           NWRI's main source of funding is provided by the Joan Irvine  
              Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation. Mrs. Joan Irvine  
              Smith, a philanthropist from San Juan Capistrano,  
              California, encouraged the establishment of NWRI because she  
              recognized that water was critically important to a viable  
              economy and healthy environment, especially in regions like  
              arid Southern California.

           6) Amendment Needed  .  SB 322 authorizes a private research  
              institution, the NWRI, to appoint an advisory group, submit  
              a draft report to DPH instead of DPH appointing a panel.   
              The bill specifies that NWRI shall summarize the  
              recommendations of the expert panel.  The bill further  
              requires DPH to use state funds to fund the NWRI activities  
              and use state staff to do the staff work, but authorizes DPH  
              to accept funds from nonstate donations and use those funds  
              for specified activities all with the expectation that DPH  
              will develop and implement state policy on direct potable  
              reuse of recycled water.  Authorizing a private research  
              institution to convene a research panel, in lieu of a state  
              entity could result in incomplete or one-sided  
              recommendations or the perception of one-sided  
              recommendations.  In general, the Legislature directs state  
              scientists or state university scientists to do research on  
              behalf of the state.  However, the sponsor's concern is that  
              DPH will not convene the panel due to insufficient staff.   
              The bill should be amended to direct DPH to convene the  
              expert panel and make recommendations to the State regarding  
              water recycling and direct potable reuse, but allow for DPH  


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              to contract with a qualified third party, for the services.

            SOURCE  :        San Diego County Water Authority
           SUPPORT  :       None on file  

           OPPOSITION  :    None on file