senate Bill S6986

Relates to the water quality standards for coliform; repealer

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 11 / Apr / 2014
    • REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
  • 13 / May / 2014
    • 1ST REPORT CAL.632
  • 14 / May / 2014
    • 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • 19 / May / 2014
    • ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • 21 / May / 2014
    • PASSED SENATE
  • 21 / May / 2014
    • DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • 21 / May / 2014
    • REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Summary

Relates to the water quality standards for coliform.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S6986
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Assembly Environmental Conservation
Law Section:
Environmental Conservation Law
Laws Affected:
Rpld §17-0301 sub 5 ¶c sub¶¶ 1, 2, 4 & 7, amd §17-0301, En Con L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6986

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in
relation to the water quality standards for coliform; and to repeal
certain provisions of such law relating thereto

Purpose of the Bill:

The bill would regulated water quality standards for coliform.

Summary of Provisions:

Section 1 of the bill would repeal subparagraphs 1, 2, 4, and 7 of
Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) § 17-0301(5)(c) which establish
specific coliform standards for sources of water supply used for
drinking, culinary or food processing, recreation, and shellfishing
for market purposes. This section would also renumber subparagraphs 3,
5, and 6 as subparagraphs 1, 2, and 3.

Section 2 of the bill would amend the opening paragraph and
subparagraphs 1 and 3 of ECL § 17-0301(5)(c), as renumbered by Section
1 of the bill, to make technical and conforming changes.

Section 3 of the bill provides for an immediate effective date.

Existing Law:

ECL § 17-0301 gives the Department of Environment Conservation (DEC)
with the regulatory authority to adopt standards of water quality and
purity to protect the public use and benefit of the State's waters.
It provides DEC with the discretion to select which pollutants to
regulate and the appropriate standards to apply, except for coliform.
Unlike other pollutants, the standards for coliform are specifically
set forth in in the several subparagraphs of ECL § 17-0301(5)(c).

Legislative History:

This is a new bill.

Statement in Support:

Currently, criteria for pollutants for which DEC establishes water
quality standards are established in regulation. Coliform levels,
however, are fixed by statute. The specificity in the current law with
regard to coliform is unnecessary and imposes standards that are
contrary to currently accepted science for protecting public health
and the quality of the State's waters for swimming.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recommended since
1986 that different indicators of fecal bacteria (other than
coliform), and at different levels than that prescribed in the ECL,
are most appropriate for the protection of human health for primary
contact recreation (swimming). EPA further revised their Recreational
Water Quality Criteria recommendations in November 2012; DEC is
required by the federal Clean Water Act to adopt EPA's criteria by
December 2015. These new EPA criteria are in conflict with the
specific numeric criteria for coliform set forth in the ECL. The EPA


criteria are based on the most recent science and are more accurate
predictors of human gastrointestinal illness resulting from swimming
than the long-outdated coliform standards in the ECL.

Standards for indicators of fecal bacteria are already in two separate
sections of DEC's regulations at 6 NYCRR Part 703, "Surface Water and
Groundwater Quality Standards and Groundwater Effluent Limitations"
and 6 NYCRR Part 47, "Certification of Shellfish Lands." ECL § 13-0307
directs DEC to ascertain the sanitary condition of all shellfish lands
in the marine district in accordance with regulations promulgated
pursuant to ECL § 13-0319. DEC has promulgated standards for the
sanitary conditions of shellfish lands for several decades in order to
protect public health and remain in compliance with the requirements
of the National Shellfish Sanitation Program. Any changes to the
standards set forth in regulation would be subject to State
Administrative Procedure Act requirements, including notice of any
proposed changes and the opportunity for public comment.

The bill would result in no lessening of protection for the State's
waters and their best usage for swimming and. shellfishing for human
consumption. Adopting coliform standards through rulemaking (which
includes public comment) provides greater flexibility for DEC to set
the most appropriate standards to protect water quality and human
health, reflecting the most recent science and EPA's recommendations,
oversight and approval of New York's water quality standards program.

Budget Implications:

None.

Local impact:

The bill would have no impact on local governments.

Effective Date:

The bill would take effect immediately.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  6986

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             April 11, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced by Sen. GRISANTI -- (at request of the Department of Environ-
  mental  Conservation)  --  read  twice  and  ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation

AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation  to  the
  water quality standards for coliform; and to repeal certain provisions
  of such law relating thereto

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Subparagraphs 1, 2, 4 and 7 of paragraph c of subdivision 5
of section 17-0301 of the environmental conservation  law  are  REPEALED
and subparagraphs 3, 5 and 6 are renumbered subparagraphs 1, 2 and 3.
  S 2. The opening paragraph and subparagraphs 1 and 3 of paragraph c of
subdivision  5 of section 17-0301 of the environmental conservation law,
subparagraphs 1 and 3 as renumbered by section  one  of  this  act,  are
amended to read as follows:
  [Organisms  of the coliform group or any other organisms] PATHOGENS OR
INDICATORS FOR PATHOGENS from wastes of animal or human origin shall not
exceed the [following prescribed] standards for usage of the  classified
waters of the state[:].
  (1) [Sources of water] SURFACE WATERS USED for bathing, fishing, boat-
ing,  and  any  other  usages except shellfishing for market purposes in
tidal salt waters[: For such sources the monthly median  coliform  value
for  one hundred ml of sample shall not exceed two thousand four hundred
from a minimum of five examinations and  provided  that  not  more  than
twenty  percent  of  the  samples  shall exceed a coliform value of five
thousand for one hundred ml of sample and provided further that  surface
waters]  receiving treated sewage discharges which pass through residen-
tial communities where there is a potential exposure  of  population  to
the  surface  waters  shall  be  protected  by  the requirement that all
[effluents] EFFLUENT from sewage treatment plants THAT ARE  REQUIRED  TO
PROVIDE  A  MINIMUM OF EFFECTIVE SECONDARY TREATMENT shall be adequately
disinfected prior to discharge into the surface waters  [in  order  that
the monthly median coliform value for one hundred ml of sample shall not
exceed two thousand four hundred from a minimum of five examinations and

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD13966-03-4

S. 6986                             2

provided that not more than twenty percent of the samples shall exceed a
coliform  value of five thousand for one hundred ml of sample] SUCH THAT
THE WATER QUALITY STANDARDS FOR PATHOGENS OR  INDICATORS  FOR  PATHOGENS
THAT APPLY TO THE RECEIVING WATER ARE ALSO MET IN THE EFFLUENT.
  (3) When the [above prescribed] standards are exceeded the commission-
er  shall  make  an  investigation to determine the source or sources of
pollution. When it shall appear to the commissioner after investigation,
that there has been a violation of any of the provisions of titles 1  to
11, inclusive, and title 19 of this article he OR SHE shall take further
proceedings as provided in section 17-0905.
  S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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