Bill Summary for S 729 (2013-2014)

Summary date: 

May 14 2014

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2013-2014 Session
Senate Bill 729 (Public) Filed Wednesday, May 14, 2014
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO (1) PROHIBIT RECOVERY OF COSTS RELATED TO UNLAWFUL DISCHARGES FROM COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; (2) ESTABLISH A MORATORIUM ON CERTAIN RATE CASES; (3) CREATE THE COAL ASH MANAGEMENT COMMISSION TO REVIEW AND APPROVE COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS CLASSIFICATIONS AND CLOSURE PLANS AND OTHERWISE STUDY AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS ON LAWS GOVERNING MANAGEMENT OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS; (4) REQUIRE EXPEDITED REVIEW BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES OF ANY PERMIT NECESSARY TO CONDUCT ACTIVITIES REQUIRED BY THIS ACT; (5) ESTABLISH VARIOUS REPORTING REQUIREMENTS TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, INCLUDING A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES ON ITS OPERATIONS, ACTIVITIES, PROGRAMS, AND PROGRESS WITH RESPECT TO ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER THIS ACT FOR COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; (6) PROHIBIT LOCAL GOVERNMENT REGULATION OF MANAGEMENT OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS OR COAL COMBUSTION PRODUCTS; (7) PROHIBIT CONSTRUCTION OF NEW OR EXPANSION OF EXISTING COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2014; (8) PROHIBIT THE DISPOSAL OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS INTO COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS AT COAL-FIRED GENERATING UNITS THAT ARE NO LONGER PRODUCING COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2014; (9) PROHIBIT DISPOSAL OF STORMWATER TO COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 31, 2018; (10) REQUIRE ALL ELECTRIC GENERATING FACILITIES TO CONVERT TO GENERATION OF DRY FLY ASH ON OR BEFORE DECEMBER 31, 2017, AND DRY BOTTOM ASH ON OR BEFORE DECEMBER 31, 2020, OR RETIRE; (11) REQUIRE THE ASSESSMENT OF GROUNDWATER AT COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; (12) REQUIRE CORRECTIVE ACTION FOR THE RESTORATION OF GROUNDWATER QUALITY AT COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; (13) REQUIRE A SURVEY OF DRINKING WATER SUPPLY WELLS AND REPLACEMENT OF CONTAMINATED WATER SUPPLIES; (14) REQUIRE THE IDENTIFICATION, ASSESSMENT, AND CORRECTION OF UNPERMITTED DISCHARGES FROM COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; (15) REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES TO, AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE, BUT NO LATER THAN DECEMBER 31, 2015, PRIORITIZE FOR THE PURPOSE OF CLOSURE AND REMEDIATION COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS, INCLUDING ACTIVE AND RETIRED SITES, BASED ON THESE SITES' RISKS TO PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, AND WELFARE, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND NATURAL RESOURCES; (16) REQUIRE OWNERS OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS TO SUBMIT A PROPOSED PLAN FOR CLOSURE OF ALL IMPOUNDMENTS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES; (17) REQUIRE CLOSURE AND REMEDIATION OF CERTAIN COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE, BUT NO LATER THAN AUGUST 1, 2019; (18) REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES TO ESTABLISH A SCHEDULE AND PROCESS FOR CLOSURE AND REMEDIATION OF ALL COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS BASED UPON THE DEPARTMENT'S RISK ASSESSMENT OF THESE SITES, BASELINE REQUIREMENTS SET BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, EVALUATION OF PROPOSED CLOSURE PLANS SUBMITTED BY IMPOUNDMENT OWNERS, AND INPUT FROM THE PUBLIC AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS; (19) ESTABLISH MINIMUM STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS FOR STRUCTURAL FILL PROJECTS USING COAL COMBUSTION PRODUCTS AND REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES TO INVENTORY AND INSPECT CERTAIN STRUCTURAL FILL PROJECTS; (20) PLACE A MORATORIUM ON CERTAIN PROJECTS USING COAL COMBUSTION PRODUCTS AS STRUCTURAL FILL UNTIL AUGUST 1, 2015, AND DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMISSION TO STUDY THE ADEQUACY OF CURRENT LAW GOVERNING USE OF COAL COMBUSTION PRODUCTS AS STRUCTURAL FILL AND FOR BENEFICIAL USE; (21) PLACE A MORATORIUM ON THE EXPANSION AND CONSTRUCTION OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS LANDFILLS UNTIL AUGUST 1, 2015, AND DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES TO ASSESS THE RISKS TO PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, AND WELFARE, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND NATURAL RESOURCES OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS LOCATED BENEATH THESE LANDFILLS TO DETERMINE THE ADVISABILITY OF CONTINUED OPERATION OF THESE LANDFILLS; (22) STRENGTHEN THE REPORTING AND NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE TO DISCHARGES OF WASTEWATER TO WATERS OF THE STATE; (23) REQUIRE CERTAIN EMERGENCY CALLS TO BE RECORDED; (24) REQUIRE DEVELOPMENT OF EMERGENCY ACTION PLANS FOR HIGH AND INTERMEDIATE HAZARD DAMS AND AMEND OTHER DAM SAFETY LAW REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE TO COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; (25) TRANSFER SOLID WASTE RULE-MAKING AUTHORITY FROM COMMISSION FOR PUBLIC HEALTH TO ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMISSION; (26) AMEND COMPLIANCE BOUNDARY PROVISIONS; (27) PROVIDE FOR VARIOUS STUDIES; (28) REQUIRE THE STATE CONSTRUCTION OFFICE AND THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO DEVELOP TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS FOR USE OF COAL COMBUSTION PRODUCTS; AND (29) PROVIDE RESOURCES FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS ACT.
Intro. by Apodaca, Berger.

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Bill summary

Includes a number of "whereas clauses" regarding adequately addressing the issue of coal ash storage in North Carolina.

Amends GS 143-215.1C to require the owner or operator of any wastewater collection or treatment works to report (1) a discharge of 1,000 gallons or more of untreated wastewater or wastewater containing coal combustion products or (2) a spill of any amount of untreated wastewater or wastewater containing coal combustion products that reaches state waters to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours after first knowledge of the discharge. Provides that this reporting requirement is in addition to any other reporting requirements applicable to the owner or operator. Makes additional conforming changes to GS 143-215.C to clarify its notification requirements.

Amends subsection (c) of GS 143-215.1C regarding publishing notice of the discharge of untreated waste. Requires notice of discharges of 15,000 gallons more of untreated wastewater or waste to surface waters. Defines untreated waste as it is defined in GS 143-213(18): (1) sewage, (2) industrial waste, (3) toxic waste, and (4) other waste as specified in the definition. Requires that the owner or operator issue a press release regarding the spill within 24 hours (was, 48 hours) after first knowledge of the spill.

Enacts new GS 143-215.1D, Coal combustion products impoundment water monitoring program. Sets the schedule and procedures for owners of coal ash impoundments located at all investor-owned public utilities (owner or owners) to conduct groundwater monitoring. Additionally, requires these owners to conduct and submit a water supply receptor survey to the Division of Water Resources (Division) within 60 days of enactment of this Act. Requires an owner to replace the water supply with a supply of potable drinking water for any well that exceeds the groundwater standards.Requires owners to submit an annual report to the Division no later than January 31 of each year that includes (1) a summary of all monitoring data collected over the year, (2) status of Plans and Final Corrective Action Plans, and (3) a summary of water supply receptor survey results.

Enacts new GS 143-215.1E, Identify and address unpermitted wastewater discharges at coal combustion products impoundment sites. Sets out aplan that mandates the schedule and procedures for owners to follow in identifying and addressing unpermitted wastewater discharges.

Makes a conforming change, repealing Section 3.(b) of SL 2009-390, which provided that certain nonnuclear electric generating facilities under the NC Utilities Commission were not required to submitapplication, certificate, or other materials in connection with the continued normal operationand maintenance of those facilities.

Adds two new subsections to GS 143-215.31. New subsection (f) requires owners of high and immediate hazard dams to develop, at their own expense, an Emergency Action Plan (Plan) for their dam and submit the Plan in triplicate copy to DENR by January 1, 2015. Specifies what provisions the Plan must minimally contain. Subjects a dam owner who fails to provide DENR with a Plan in triplicate copy by January 1, 2015, to enforcement procedures under GS 143-215.36. Requires that dam owners update their Plan annually and submit the updated Plan to DENR each year subsequent to January 1, 2015. Subsection (g) exempts documents or parts of documents submitted in the Plan that contain sensitive public security information from disclosure under the North Carolina Public Records Act.

Amends GS 143-215.27, Repair, alteration, or removal of dam, to require notice to DENR of proposed repairs necessary to safeguard life and property as soon as possible and no later than 24 hours after first knowledge that emergency repairs are necessary. Additionally requires that the repairs be made to conform to DENR's orders.

Amends GS 143-215.32 to require the inspection of each coal combustion products impoundment weekly and after storms for the occurrence of any abnormal conditions. Requires that documentation of any observed abnormalities be provided to a registered professional engineer for further investigation and appropriate action. Requires an annual inspection by an independent registered professional engineer of each coal combustion products impoundment located at investor-owned public utilities. Requires that the inspection report be submitted to DENR within 30 days of completion and that it be placed on a publicly accessible internet site.

Amends the definition of solid waste as defined in GS 130A-290(a)(35) to include combustion products removed from impoundments subject to permits under Section 402 of the Water Pollution Control Act, as amended (PL 92-500), and permits granted under GS 143-215.1 by the Environmental Management Commission. Makes a conforming change to GS 143-213(18), which defines waste.

Establishes a temporary moratorium on the use of coal combustion products as a structural fill unless the fill is used under an airport runaway or base or sub-base of a concrete or asphalt paved road, constructed under the authority of a public entity. Makes the moratorium under this section in effect until the rules are amended by the Commission for Public Health for the management of coal combustion productss. Provides that the moratorium does not apply to structural site fills of less than 5,000 cubic yards. Effective when this act becomes law and applies only to coal combustion products structural fills that have not begun construction or have not recived a permit to begin construction on or before that date.

Enacts new GS 143-215.74Q to establish procedures and policies for closure of coal combustion products impoundments to protect groundwater and surface water. Directs DENR to establish the priority for the closure of active and inactive investor-owned coal combustion products impoundments. Directs the owner of the active or inactive coal ash ponds to propose the schedule for beginning closure activities and to submit a schedule that conforms to the time frame established by DENR. Provides a schedule for submitting a closure plan and specifies the elements that the closure plan must contain. Requires that the owner also provide a post-closure plan for a minimum of 30 years. Specifies the contents of the post-closure plans.

Enacts new GS 143-215.37A delineating procedures for decommissioning a coal combustion products impoundment facility in order to make the decommissioned facility exempt from the North Carolina Dam Safety Law of 1967. Specifies what the decommissioning request must minimally contain. Provides that the Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources must conduct a preliminary review of the decommission request for completeness and approval of the proposed geotechnical investigation plan scope of work. Upon receiving the geotechnical report, the Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources is directed to complete the submittal review.

Includes a schedule for the submission of the closure plan for the following: Riverbend, Asheville, Dan River, and Sutton.

Appropriates $1.4 millionfor the 2013-14 fiscal year from the General Fund to DENR to establish nineteen permanent conditions and associated operating costs to implement this act.

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