HCS SB 741 -- WATER POLLUTION CONTROL; SEWER DISTRICTS; SOIL AND WATER DISTRICTS
WATER POLLUTION CONTROL BONDS
This bill authorizes the Board of Fund Commissioners to issue bonds for grants and loans pursuant to several sections of Article III of the Missouri Constitution. The authorizations are for:
(1) an additional $10 million of bonds for water pollution control, drinking water system improvements, and stormwater control pursuant to Section 37(e);
(2) $20 million of bonds for rural water and sewer projects pursuant to Section 37(g); and
(3) $40 million of bonds for stormwater control plans, studies, and projects in first classification counties and the City of St. Louis pursuant to Section 37(h).
WATER POLLUTION PERMIT FEES
Water pollution permit fees will expire on December 31, 2000. The bill restructures the fees and extends the sunset date to December 31, 2007.
Under current law, owners of facilities that treat human sewage pay annual operating fees ranging from $15 to $3,000, depending on the design flow capacity of the facility. The bill exempts municipalities, sewer districts, and other publicly-owned facilities and restructures the fees to range from $100 to $3,500, depending on the design flow capacity. Additional fees for pretreatment programs are repealed. The annual operating fee for a class IA concentrated animal feeding operation is set at $5,000.
Operators of public sewer systems will collect service connection fees from customers. The annual fees will range from $0.40 to $0.80 for residential customers, depending on the number of customers served by the sewer system, and from $3 to $700 for other customers, depending on the size and number of the customer's drinking water service connections. Customers of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District will pay 50% of the fees until October 1, 2001, and full fees thereafter. The fees may be collected in monthly, quarterly, or annual increments and will be transferred to the Department of Natural Resources at least annually, less 5% for collection expenses. The Clean Water Commission may adjust the fees by rule.
New annual permit fees are established for site-specific industrial stormwater discharges of less than one million gallons per day ($1,350) and of more than one million gallons per day ($2,350). New fees are also established for federal water quality certifications ($75), permit modifications for operators that collect service connection fees ($200), and permit modifications for other operators (25% of the appropriate annual fee). Fees will be waived for water quality certifications issued for general and nationwide federal permits. Fees may also be waived for operating permit modifications if the modification was initiated by the department.
General permit fees for new facilities with minimal impacts are set at $300 for the discharge of stormwater from a land disturbance site, $50 annually for operation of a chemical fertilizer or pesticide facility, $150 for the management of an animal feeding operation, and $150 annually for the discharge of process water or stormwater from other activities. Fees for existing facilities and renewed permits are $60 annually.
The bill also gives the Clean Water Commission the authority to issue permits by rule to facilities that have minimal impacts and are in compliance with applicable rules. The filing fee is $25. Filing fees for variances are increased from $25 to $250. The commission may grant variances to reduce operating fees for facilities that use technology to reduce discharges substantially below requirements.
Further, the bill establishes new fees for operator's certificates for wastewater and concentrated animal feeding operation facilities. These include fees for initial certificate of competency exams and certificates ($45), subsequent certificate of competency exams ($20), certificate renewals ($45), applications for reciprocity with other certificate programs ($40), and reciprocated certificates ($25).
Construction permit fees are increased from $500 to $750 for small wastewater treatment plants; from $1,500 to $2,200 for large wastewater treatment plants; from $50 to $75 for sewer extensions less than 1,000 feet; from $200 to $300 for sewer extensions of 1,000 feet or more; and from $200 to $300 for sewage pumping stations. The commission may issue general construction permits with fees no greater than those for site- specific construction permits.
After January 1, 2001, the department must act within 180 days on applications for construction and site-specific operating permits and act within 60 days on applications for general construction and operating permits that do not require a public participation process. Fees are refunded if these deadlines are not met. By December 31, 2001, the commission must promulgate rules defining activity time frames for different classes of permits that are equal to or shorter than the above deadlines. The department must also respond to requests for federal water quality certifications within 60 days unless an extension to 180 days is considered necessary by the commission. The bill also prohibits water pollution permit fee revenue from being used for studies of total maximum daily loads for the Missouri or Mississippi Rivers.
SOIL AND WATER DISTRICTS COMMISSION
The bill repeals conflicting statutes on the composition of the Soil and Water Districts Commission and establishes that the commission includes 6 farmer members, with 3 from north and 3 from south of the Missouri River. Four farmer members constitute a quorum, and the chair is given full voting privileges. The bill also adds the Director of the Department of Conservation as an ex-officio commission member. The commission is authorized to provide training programs and other assistance to soil and water conservation districts.
Further, the bill requires soil and water conservation districts to obtain commission approval to continue to buy or sell farm products used in soil conservation if 3 or more businesses complain about the practice. The commission may grant approval only if the products are reasonably related to soil conservation and not readily available in the area. If the commission grants approval, no complaints about a district will be accepted for one year; and no complaints from the same businesses that initiated the approval procedure will be accepted for 3 years.
The bill allows St. Charles County or any city, town, or village within St. Charles County, by vote, to form a sewer district. The bill also decreases from one year to 3 months the minimum length of time that sewer charges may remain unpaid before a district, after notice, may discontinue a customer's service.
PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY DISTRICTS
The bill prohibits the detachment of territory included in a public water supply district that is not being served by the district if there are contractual obligations greater than $25,000 for debt pertaining to infrastructure, fixed assets, or obligations for the purchase of water, unless written consent of the holders of bonds or the creditors to such debt is obtained.
In other provisions, the bill:
(1) Removes obsolete references to the executive secretary of the Clean Water Commission;
(2) Exempts manholes and PVC pipe less than 27 inches in diameter used in gravity sewers from leakage tests; and
(3) Allows any entity eligible under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act or Clean Water Act to receive loans or other financial assistance from the state for public drinking water and water pollution control projects.