The bill modernizes and simplifies the laws related to individual sewage treatment systems. Section 1 of the bill:
- Replaces the terms "individual sewage disposal system" (or "ISDS") with "on-site wastewater treatment system" (or "OWTS") and updates other OWTS-related terms and definitions;
- Eliminates references to disposal of sewage to more accurately convey that sewage is treated;
- Explicitly authorizes performance-based approaches to the regulation of OWTSs;
- Requires the division of administration in the department of public health and environment (department) to periodically advise the water quality control commission (commission) in the department regarding whether the commission should consider adopting new rules to reflect scientific advances in OWTSs;
- Removes specific topics and parameters for which the commission and local boards of health are required to promulgate rules, thus allowing those entities greater regulatory flexibility to regulate OWTSs;
- Reorganizes existing law for increased clarity, including relocating provisions pertaining to the issuance of variances from OWTS rules;
- Withdraws from local boards of health, and places within the purview of the commission, the authority to specify by rule mandatory tests that must be performed on OWTSs and allows local boards of health to adopt rules requiring additional studies;
- Strikes references to a distinct "emergency use permit" and instead incorporates the ability of a local public health agency to allow use of a malfunctioning OWTS under the terms of, and concurrent with, a repair permit;
- Condenses language pertaining to fees that a local board of health may collect for OWTS-related services, and allows the amount of such fees to be sufficient to offset the indirect costs (in addition to direct costs) incurred; and
- Repeals specific provisions relating to, while reaffirming, the authority of a local board of health to prohibit permits for an OWTS when the OWTS will constitute a hazard to public health or water quality.
Sections 2 through 8 contain conforming amendments.