Bill Summary for H 627 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

Apr 17 2023

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
House Bill 627 (Public) Filed Monday, April 17, 2023
Intro. by Brody, Dahle, N. Jackson, Cairns.

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Bill summary

Sets forth 20 wastewater rules and requires the Commission for Public Health (Commission) to implement those rules as discussed below. Requires the Commission to enact permanent rules so that they are consistent with how the act requires that each rule to be implemented. Exempts each of the new rules from the review by the Rules Review Commission under the APA. Applies the delayed effective date provisions of the APA (GS 153B-21.3) to each of the new rules. Sunsets each section of the act when permanent rules consistent with each of its provisions become effective. 

Requires the Commission to implement 15A NCAC 18E.0102 (pertaining to applicability of certain wastewater rules), the Applicability Rule, as follows. Specifies that the rules of 15A NCAC 18E do not apply to any wastewater system for which an Improvement Permit, Construction Authorization, Operation Permit, Notice of Intent to Construct, Authorization to Operate, Certificate of Completion, or an equivalent approval (collectively, the Approvals) has been issued prior to January 1, 2024, unless the design daily flow or wastewater strength is increased. Sets forth how to determine whether wastewater strength has increased. Requires wastewater systems permitted prior to January 1, 2024, to comply with the setback requirements in place at the time the relevant permit or authorization was issued. Specifies that wastewater systems that were installed prior to July 1, 1977, and existing wastewater systems with permits that cannot be found are not considered to meet certain conditions set forth in Rule 18E .0302(c)(5) or (c)(6) of Subchapter E of Chapter 18 of Title 15A of the North Carolina Administrative Code. Requires all wastewater systems to comply with 15A NCAC 18E.1303(a)(1).

Requires the Commission to implement the following definitions for 15A NCAC 18E .0105 (the definitions rule). Accessory dwelling unit means a secondary dwelling unit established in conjunction with and clearly subordinate to a primary dwelling unit, whether a part of the same structure as the primary dwelling unit or a detached dwelling unit on the same lot; requires the design daily flow for an accessory dwelling unit to be based on 120 gallons per day per bedroom, or 60 gallons per day per person when occupancy exceeds two persons per bedroom. Applicant means the individual who submits an application to the local health department for an Improvement Permit, Construction Authorization, Operating Permit, Notice of Intent to Construct, Authorization to Operate, or existing system authorization. Serial distribution means a distribution method in which effluent is loaded into one trench and fills it to a predetermined level before passing through a pipe to the succeeding trench at the same or a lower elevation.

Sets forth places where applications for an Improvement Permit and Construction Authorization must be submitted under 15A NCAC 18E.0202.

Requires that 15A NCAC 18e .0203, Improvement Permit Rule, be implemented so that an improvement permit includes the usable depth to a limiting condition for a long term acceptance rate for initial and repair systems and percent slope.

Requires an Existing System Approvals for Reconnections and Property Additions Rule (15A NCAC 18E.0206) to be implemented as follows. Permits the local health department, an Authorized On-Site Wastewater Evaluator, or a certified inspector to issue an approval for an existing system reconnection when the new or improved facility is within the same footprint of the previous existing facility and when there is no increase in design daily flow or wastewater strength. Requires an applicant to obtain additional authorizations and certifications when there is an increase in design daily flow or wastewater strength, if the location of the facility is not positioned in the same footprint of the previous existing facility, or prior to the relocation of a structure or the expansion of an existing facility's footprint that requires the issuance of a building permit but does not increase design daily flow or wastewater strength. Specifies required content of written documentation necessary for such additional approvals. Applies this rule to the issuance of the existing system approvals for modifications or expansions.

Requires an Alternative Wastewater System Permitting Options Rule (15A NCAC 18E .0207) to be implemented to provide for two methods to obtain wastewater system approval, either by using a professional engineer or an authorized on-site wastewater evaluator. Specifies requirements related to technologies employed in the preparation of an engineering report. Bars certain changes to the applicant site and requires engineer or wastewater evaluator approval for other modifications. Allows for certain permits to be obtained. Requires that alternate wastewater systems issued under GS 130A-336.2 (pertaining to alternate wastewater system approvals for nonengineered systems) follow rules established by the NC On-Site Wastewater Contractors and Inspectors Certification Board.

Implements 15A NCAC 18E .0301, Owners Rules, by specifying that an entire initial wastewater system and repair area is not required to be on property owned or controlled by the wastewater system owner.

Implements 15A NCAC 18E .0303, Licensed or Certified Professionals, to bar a local health department from requiring any system other than those specifically identified in the rule to be designed by a professional engineer, regardless of system complexity or the local health department's experience with the proposed system type.

Implements 15A NCAC 18E .0401, Design Daily Flow, as follows. Establishes the minimum design daily flow for a single-bedroom dwelling unit as 120 gallons per day per bedroom or 60 gallons per day per person when occupancy exceeds two persons per bedroom, whichever is greater.

Implements 15A NCAC 18E .0402, Septic Tank Effluent characteristics Rule, to require the maximum nitrogen concentration for domestic strength effluent to not exceed 100 mg/L of Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen.

Implements 15A NCAC 18E .0504, Soil Wetness Conditions, to require in determining soil wetness conditions, requires that color value will be determined based on a chroma 2 or less using the Munsell Soil Color Book.

Implements 15A NCAC 18E .0506, Saprolite Rule, as follows. Requires that saprolite must be evaluated for suitability by the local health department using pits at locations approved by the authorized agent. For saprolite sites evaluated for suitability by a licensed soil scientist, other than a licensed soil scientist employed as an authorized agent, permits the evaluation to be made using borings or pits to evaluate saprolite.

Implements 15A NCAC 18E .0508, Available Space Rule, as follows. In determining available space, specifies that a wastewater system certified in accordance with NSF International Standard 350 or that has data from a two-year field demonstration documenting that the wastewater system meets NSF International Standard 350 or better may eliminate the requirement for repair area when installed in Group I soils. Specifies total nitrogen effluent standards and limits on treatment.

Implements 15A NCAC 18E .0805, Tank Leak Testing and Installation Requirements Rule as follows. Requires for a hydrostatic test the tank be filled to the specified location and allows the tank manufacturer to among specified negative pressures for vacuum tests,

Implements 15A NCAC 18E .0903, Bed Systems Rule, to require bed system sites have a soil texture of Group I, II, or III to a depth of 48 inches below the naturally occurring soil surface or to a depth of 12 inches below the infiltrative surface, whichever is deeper.

Implements 15A NCAC 18E .0905, Prefabricated Permeable Block Panel Systems Rule, to specify the minimum location of prefabricated permeable block panel system trenches.

Implements 15A NCAC 18E .0906, Sand Lined Trench Systems Rule, to specify when sand lined trench systems can be used and for calculating trench length.

Implements 15A NCAC 18E .1101, General Dosing System Requirements Rule, to allow dosing system tests to be conducted by the installer of the on-site wastewater system and does not require testing to be witnessed by the local health department. Sets out entities that must be given the option to witness the test and sets out documentation requirements.

Implements 15A NCAC 18E .1303, Owner Responsibilities for Wastewater System Operation and Maintenance Rule as follows. Requires owners of malfunctioning wastewater systems to contact the local health department, regardless of how the system was permitted. 

Implements 15A NCAC 18E .1306, System Malfunction and Repair Rules as follows. Allows for alternative methods of repair using the local health department's, professional engineer’s or authorized onsite wastewater evaluator’s best professional judgment when it is not possible to repair a wastewater system in compliance with Subchapter 18E of NCAC Chapter 15A. Requires documentation of the rules being altered to complete the repair. Specifies that the owner of the wastewater system is liable for any damages caused by a system repair and requires them to agree to all terms and conditions set forth by the local health department, professional engineer, or authorized onsite wastewater evaluator that developed the repair, including operation and maintenance requirements. Specifies that the best professional judgment alternative may not be used when: (1) the Improvement Permit, Construction Authorization, Notice of Intent to Construct, or  Authorization to Operate indicates the repair area and system type, however, this does not preclude the owner from applying for a different wastewater system than the one specified on the permit as a repair; (2) there are reductions in setback to drinking water wells less than what is required in 15A NCAC 18E.0601 (3) there are reductions in setbacks to surface water bodies greater than 50% of the allowed setback as indicated in 15A NCAC 18E.0601 or (4) there is no reasonable expectation that the repaired wastewater system will function to eliminate public health hazards.

Effective January 1, 2024.