Bill Summary for H 268 (2019-2020)

Summary date: 

Apr 11 2019

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
House Bill 268 (Public) Filed Tuesday, March 5, 2019
AN ACT TO DISAPPROVE CERTAIN WASTEWATER TREATMENT AND DISPERSAL RULES ADOPTED BY THE NORTH CAROLINA COMMISSION FOR PUBLIC HEALTH, TO CREATE A TASK FORCE TO RECOMMEND NEW WASTEWATER TREATMENT AND DISPERSAL RULES, TO CREATE STANDARDS FOR AN ON-SITE WASTEWATER EVALUATOR; AND TO MAKE TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS.
Intro. by Brody, Wray.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.

Changes the act's long and short titles. Adds the following.

Establishes the 10-member On-Site Wastewater Task Force (Task Force). Provides for the Task Force's membership, meetings, support, and expenses. Directs the Task Force to study and issue a report to recommend new wastewater rules to the Commission of Public Health (Commission) to replace specified approved and disapproved rules, as well as new rules to prohibit municipalities from prohibiting the design and installation of on-site wastewater treatment and dispersal systems. Requires the Task Force to hold its first meeting no later than October 31, 2019, and transmit its report to the specified NCGA committees and the Commission no later than February 1, 2020, at which time the Task Force is terminated. Specifies that the rules for on-site wastewater treatment and dispersal found in Chapter 18A, Title 15A of the Administrative Code remain in effect until the Commission takes action on the recommendations made by the Task Force. 

Enacts GS 130A-336.2 to allow a licensed soil scientist certified under conditions developed and administered by the NC On-Site Wastewater Contractors and Inspectors Certification Board (Certification Board) to prepare singed and sealed soil and site evaluations, specifications, plans, and reports, at the direction of the owner of the proposed wastewater system, for the proposed wastewater system site layout, construction, operation, and maintenance of a wastewater system in accordance with the statute and rules adopted under the statute. Prohibits an Authorized On-Site Wastewater Evaluator (Evaluator) from performing any of the functions performed by a professional engineer for engineered wastewater systems. Requires prior notice of intent to construct a wastewater system using an Evaluator to the local health department with jurisdiction over the proposed location. Directs the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to develop a common form to use for the notice that contains minimum information specified. Gives the local health department five days to determine the completeness of the notice and to return an incomplete notice. Allows the local health department five days to review additional information submitted to cure the deficiencies. Deems failure of the local department to act within the timeframe completeness.

Details requirements, restrictions, and other parameters of the Evaluator in the evaluation the soil and site, construction and activities, including requiring the preparation of a signed and sealed statement of special inspections and assisting the owner in selecting a contractor.

Details the responsibilities of the on-site water system contractor, including submitting a signed and dated statement of responsibility to the owner of the wastewater system prior to the commencement of work that contains acknowledgement of the requirements of the system as specified by the Evaluator.

Grants immunity for DHHS, its authorized agents, and local health department for wastewater systems developed by the Evaluator. Specifies that the statute does not relieve DHHS, its authorized agents, or local health departments from any of their obligations under state or administrative law. 

Allows a local health department to conduct a site visit of the wastewater system at any time. Requires an Evaluator to make periodic visits to observe the progress and quality of construction and allows the Evaluator to employ independent inspectors to observe and direct the construction. Places liability on Evaluator for any errors or omissions made by independent contractors they employ. Requires that all construction and inspection reports must be signed by the authorized inspector or Evaluator with copies furnished to the owner and the certified contractor, and included in the submittal package to the local health department.

Maintains that the wastewater system is subject to local health department rules in effect at the time the owner submits the notice of intent to construct the system. Requires the local health department to notify the owner of any compliance issues.

Requires the Evaluator to establish a written operation and management program and provide the program to the owner. Provides for the owner contracting with a certified water pollution control system operator if necessary under the Commission's rules. Places responsibility on the owner for continued adherence to the operations and management program established by the Evaluator. 

Establishes a requirement for a post-construction conference to be held by the Evaluator with the owner, the certified contractor, the certified water pollution control system operator, if any, and local health department representatives. Requires the conference to include start-up and certification of system components. Details required documentation the Evaluator must provide the owner at the conference, including a signed and sealed copy of reports on the soil and site evaluations, layouts, drawings, specifications, and any special inspection reports or corrections made during construction. Requires the owner to sign and notarize a document confirming acceptance and receipt of the report. Requires the owner to submit copies of  the Evaluator's report and the operations and management program, a fee, and the notarized letter to the local health department. Requires the local health department to issues the owner an authorization to operation within five days of receipt of the required documents and fees.

Allows the local health department to assess a fee for the system of up to 30% of the cumulative total of the fees established for similar systems to support the department's work under the statute.

Specifies that change in ownership an authorized system has no affect so long as the site and type of facility the system serves are unchanged.

Provides for owners' remedies against Evaluators, certified contractors, and certified pollution control systems operators to the remedies provided in the statutes and rules governing each individual profession. Clarifies that they are subject to professional discipline. 

Grants the Commission rulemaking authority to implement the statute. Specifies that the Certification Board has exclusive authority to adopt rules regarding certification of and issuance of permits for on-site wastewater treatment and dispersal systems in instances where review by professional engineers is not necessary by Evaluators. 

Establishes an annual reporting requirement for DHHS to report to the Environmental Review Commission and the specified NCGA committee, beginning January 1, 2020, on the program, as specified. Directs DHHS to obtain activity reports from the local health departments showing the wastewater systems developed under the statute. 

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