Bill Summary for H 760 (2015-2016)

Summary date: 

May 6 2015

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
House Bill 760 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 14, 2015
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FURTHER REGULATORY RELIEF TO THE CITIZENS OF NORTH CAROLINA BY PROVIDING FOR VARIOUS ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS, BY ELIMINATING CERTAIN UNNECESSARY OR OUTDATED STATUTES AND REGULATIONS AND MODERNIZING OR SIMPLIFYING CUMBERSOME OR OUTDATED REGULATIONS, AND BY MAKING VARIOUS OTHER STATUTORY CHANGES.
Intro. by Millis, J. Bell, Riddell.

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Bill summary

House amendments make the following changes to the 2nd edition:

Amendment #2

Amends and expands the conditions that must be met by a facility in order for it to be exempt from Swine Waste Management System Performance Standards as promulgated by the Environmental Management Commission, deleting the requirement that all of the necessary permits be obtained before bringing the animals on site and that the permits do not allow a level of production greater than the largest production for which the farm has received a permit in the past. Adds the following six conditions: (1) that the system depopulated after January 1, 2005, and ceased operation no longer than 10 years prior to the current date; (2) that the system was in compliance with individual or general permits issued under GS 143-215.10C prior to the time the system ceased operation; (3) the Division of Water Resources issues an individual permit or certificate of coverage pursuant to GS 143-215.10G for operation before any animals are brought on the facility; (4) that the permit for the animal waste management system does not allow production to the exceed the greatest steady state live weight previously permitted as specified; (5) that no component of the animal waste management system and swine farm can be constructed on land located within the 100-year floodplain as specified; and (6) that the inactive animal waste management system was not closed by using the expenditure of public funds or a settlement agreement, court order, cost share agreement, or grant condition.

Amendment #3

Amends GS 143-214.23 concerning the Riparian Buffer Protection Program, adding subsection (a1), providing that this section only applies to riparian buffers required pursuant to an applicable buffer rule as defined in GS 143-214.18. Provides that the provisions of the section do not apply to riparian buffers that are required by (1) an ordinance adopted by a unit of local government as part of a specified Total Maximum Daily Load approved by the US EPA or (2) a condition of a permit issued by the Environmental Management Commission.

Amends the introductory language for proposed GS 143-214.18, concerning definitions for GS 143, Article 21, Part 1, to provide that the term applicable buffer rule refers to any of the specified rules that are applicable to land within the watershed regulated by the rules (previously stated that it referred to any of the specified rules that are applicable to a tract of land).

Amends proposed GS 143-214.19 concerning protective riparian buffers for coastal wetlands in the Neuse River Basin or the Tar-Pamlico River Basin, deleting all of the provisions in subsection (b) and replacing them with language that provides that if state law requires a protective riparian buffer for coastal wetlands in the Neuse River Basin or the Tar-Pamlico River Basin, then the protective riparian buffer for any of the coastal wetlands or marshland in the specified basins must be delineated from the normal high water level or the normal water level as appropriate (previously, the coastal wetlands and marshlands were not to be treated as part of the surface waters and were to be included in the measurement of the protective riparian buffer; also specified delineation requirements).

Amends proposed GS 143-214.27 concerning permissible conditions that can be imposed by the Commission on any permit issued under this Article or for a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) approved by the EPA, providing that the Commission can impose as a condition of a permit issued under he Article or an implementation measure for a TMDL a more restrictive riparian buffer requirement than what is established by the applicable buffer rule or a riparian buffer requirement in a river basin where no riparian buffer standards are established as provided in the subsection (previously, provided that DENR could impose a more restrictive riparian buffer requirement than that established for the river basin within which the activity or facility receiving the permit is located, or a riparian buffer requirement in a river basin where no riparian buffer standards have been established as set forth in this subsection). Also requires the Commission to make a finding that the conditions imposed are necessary in order to meet nutrient reduction goals or to alleviate the impairment for which the TMDL has been approved (previously, required a finding that the condition is necessary in order to meet the nutrient reduction goals for the river basin within which the activity or facility receiving the permit is located). 

Amendment #4

Adds a new section to the act, On-site Wastewater Amendments and Clarifications. Amends GS 130A-335 to add that any proposed site for a residence, business, or place of public assembly located in an area not served by an approved wastewater system for which a new system is proposed may be evaluated for soil conditions and site features by a licensed soil scientist. Allows wastewater systems to be approved pursuant to the private option permit criteria in new 130A-336.1 and the rules adopted by the Commission for Public Health (Commission), instead of being regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under rules adopted by the Commission. Requires the rules adopted by the Commission for approval under the private option permit criteria to be as stringent as the rules for wastewater systems established by the Commission. Adds that the Department may file complaints with the NC Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors and the NC Board of Licensed Soil Scientists.

Enacts new GS 130A-336.1 allowing a licensed professional engineer to, on behalf of the owner of a proposed wastewater system who wishes to use the private option permit, to prepare drawings, specifications, plans, and reports for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the system. Requires, before constructing, siting, or relocating a wastewater system, when using the private option permit, to submit a notice of intent with the local health department. Specifies items that must be included on the form which is to be developed by the Department, including a copy of the owner’s contract with the professional engineer, liability insurance with a limit of no less than $1 million per claim, and a soils evaluation. Sets out requirements of the professional engineer. Establishes liability that attaches to the licensed soil scientist, the professional engineer, and the owner of the wastewater system. Requires the professional engineer designing the system to establish a written operations and management program, and to hold a postconstruction conference with specified parties that includes startup of the system and any required verification of system design or components. Sets out requirements concerning documentation and recordkeeping. Requires the system operator to give the local health department four items, upon which the local health department must issue the owner a letter of confirmation stating that the documents and information have been received and that the wastewater system may operate. Allows the local health department to assess a fee of up to 10% of the fee for an improvement permit and specifies the allowable uses of the fee. Requires the Commission to adopt rules to conform to the statute. Requires the Department to report to the Environmental Review Commission and the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services annually, beginning January 1, 2017, on the implementation and effectiveness of the statute and specifies information to be included in the initial report.

Makes conforming changes to GS 130A-338 and GS 130A-339.

Requires the Commission, in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Service and local health departments, to study the minimum on site wastewater system inspection frequency to evaluate the feasibility and desirability of eliminating duplicative inspections, taking into consideration specified factors. Requires a report to the Environmental Review Commission and the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services by January 1, 2016.

Amends GS 130A-336 to require the improvement permit and the authorization for wastewater system construction to remain valid without expiration if the design wastewater flow and characteristics and the description of the proposed facility the system will serve remain unchanged. Provides that if a local health department repeatedly fails to issue or deny improvement permits for provisional or innovative systems within 90 days after receiving applications, then Department of Environment and Natural Resources may withhold public health funding from that local health department.

Amends GS 130A-342 to require a permitted system with a design flow of less than 1,500 gallons per day to be operated by a Grade I Operator and allows the Commission to establish additional standards for a system that has a design flow of 1,500 gallons or greater per day.

Adds a new section to the act, Amend Approval of On-Site Wastewater Systems.

Amends GS 130A-343 by amending the definitions of accepted wastewater dispersal system (was, accepted wastewater system), provisional wastewater system (was, controlled demonstration wastewater system), conventional wastewater system, and innovate wastewater system. Deletes the term experimental wastewater system and adds the term nationally recognized certification body. Requires the Commission to adopt rules for the approval and permitting of innovative, conventional, provisional, and accepted wastewater systems (was, experimental, controlled demonstration, innovative, and accepted wastewater systems). Requires notification to the local health department within 30 days of modification or revocation of an approval of a wastewater system or system component. Deletes all provisions concerning experimental systems. Amends the provisions concerning controlled demonstration systems to make the applicable to provisional systems and makes the following changes. Allows a manufacturer of a wastewater system to apply to have the system provisionally approved for use in the state. Requires any system approved based on its approval by a nationally recognized certification body to be designed and installed in a manner consistent with the system evaluated and approved by that body. Requires the proposal to include procedures for obtaining specified information necessary to achieve innovative status upon completion of the provisional status. Requires the applications for provisional systems based on approval by a nationally recognized certification by be approved within 90 days. Specifies the process for applying for innovative system status. Requires the Department to notify the manufacturer to items needed to complete the application or that the application is complete, within 30 days of receiving the application. Requires the Department to approve or deny the application within 90 days (was, 180 days) after receiving a completed application. Makes conforming changes. Provides that a manufacturer of an innovative wastewater dispersal system that has been in general use in the state for a minimum of (was, for more than) five years to petition to have the system designated as an accepted system. Adds specifics to the items that the manufacturer must provide to the Commission concerning prior evaluation of the performance of the system. Allows the Department to initiate a review of a nonproprietary wastewater system and approve the system as a provisional wastewater system or an innovative wastewater system without having received an application from the manufacturer. Deletes the provision requiring warranty in specified circumstances. Makes conforming changes.

Requires the Commission for Public Health to review and amend its rules to conform to the section.

Makes this section effective when it becomes law and requires the effective date of any rules amended under the section to be effective no later than June 1, 2016.

Requires the Commission for Public Health, in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services and local health departments, to study the costs and benefits of requiring treatment standards greater than those listed by nationally recognized standards and report to the Environmental Review Commission and the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services on or before January 1, 2016. 

Amendment #5

Amendment #5 amends Amendment #1, deleting language that previously provided for the repeal of GS 105-275(45), which provided a property tax exclusion for solar energy systems.  

Amends GS 62-3(27a) concerning the definition for small power producer, providing that for the purposes of that section renewable resources, in addition to including hydroelectric power, also means solar electric, solar thermal, wind, geothermal, ocean current, wave energy resources, and biomass derived from agricultural waste, animal waste, wood waste, spent pulping liquors, combustible residues, liquids, or gases not derived from fossil fuel, energy crops, or landfill methane. Effective January 1, 2017, applying to facilities that have applied for a certificate of public convenience and necessity on or after that date.

Amends GS 62-156(b)(1) concerning terms of contracts for power sales by small power producers to public utilities, adding language that provides that the Utilities Commission can require public utilities to provide standard contracts to small power facilities which generate electricity from swine and/or poultry waste that has a capacity of no greater than five megawatts. Provides that the Utilities Commission can require electric public utilities to provide standard contracts for small power producers that have a capacity no greater than 100 kilowatts that generate electricity from all other renewable energy resources. Enacts new subsection (b)(5), providing that contracts cannot require payment for capacity when the utility lacks a capacity need. Effective January 1, 2017, applying to facilities that have applied for a certificate of public convenience and necessity on or after that date.

Amendment #8

Amends proposed language in GS 153A-32, 153A-356, 160A-412, and 160A-416, all concerning duties and responsibilities of municipal and county inspection departments, replacing references to the NC State Building Code, with language that refers to the NC State Building Code and the NC Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings. Makes a technical correction in GS 160A-412, replacing "county" with "city."

Amendment #11

Adds representatives of the surveying industry to the broad group of stakeholders to be engaged by the Department of Insurance, the Building Code Council, and the Coastal Resources Commission in their joint study of how flood elevations and building heights for structures are established and measured in the coastal region of the state.

Amendment #12

Makes clarifying changes to GS 113-136(k) regarding the authority of law enforcement officers, protectors, and inspectors to inspect weapons, equipment, fish, or wildlife. Makes it unlawful to refuse to allow law enforcement officers, protectors, and inspectors to inspect weapons or equipment if the enforcement officials reasonably believes the items are possessed incident to an activity that is regulated by law or have a reasonable suspicion that a violation has been committed. Provides an exception, permitting an officer to inspect a shotgun without a reasonable suspicion that a violation has been committed, in order to confirm whether the shotgun is plugged or unplugged.  Clarifies that it is unlawful to refuse to permit law enforcement officers, protectors, and inspectors to inspect fish or wildlife for the purpose of determining compliance with bag limits and size limits. Specifies that except as authorized by GS 113-137, this section does not confer authority on law enforcement officers, protectors, and inspectors to inspect the following items in the absences of an individual in apparent control of the item to be inspected: (1) weapons; (2) equipment, except that left unattended in the normal operation of equipment, including but not limited to traps, trot lines, crab pots, and fox pens; (3) fish; and (4) wildlife.

Deletes provision that required the Wildlife Resources Commission to study to what extent reasonable suspicion that a violation has been committed should be required before a wildlife protector, marine fisheries inspector, or other law enforcement officer may inspect weapons, equipment, fish, or wildlife under GS 113-136(k).

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