SENATE BILL NO. 85
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE REGULATION OF PUBLIC DRINKING WATER SUPPLIERS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :
Section 1. Amend §107, Chapter 1, Title 16 of the Delaware Code by deleting (b), (c)(1), (c)(2), and (c)(3) in their entirety.
Section 2. Amend §122 (3)(c) , Chapter 1, Title 16 of the Delaware Code by deleting from paragraph (c), the introductory paragraph and subparagraphs 1 through 6, and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
“c. Provide for the sanitary protection of all drinking water supplies which are furnished to and used by the public, including the establishment of primary maximum contaminant levels, operational requirements and public notice requirements. Primary maximum contaminant levels mean a maximum contaminant level which involves a biological, chemical or physical characteristic of drinking water that may adversely affect the health of the consumer.
A public water supplier means any person who owns or operates one or more public water systems. A public water system means a water supply system for the provision to the public of water for human consumption through pipes or other constructed conveyances either directly from the user's free flowing outlet or indirectly by the water being used to manufacture ice, foods and beverages or that supplies water for potable or domestic purposes to employees, tenants, members, guests or the public at large in commercial offices, industrial areas, multiple dwellings or semi-public buildings including, but without limitation, rooming and boarding houses, motels, tourist cabins, mobile home parks, restaurants, hospitals and other institutions, or offers any water for sale for potable domestic purposes. A dwelling unit means 1 or more rooms arranged for the use of 1 or more individuals as a single housekeeping unit, with cooking, living, sanitary and sleeping facilities. A person shall include corporations, companies, associations, firms, municipally owned water utilities, partnerships, societies and joint stock companies, as well as individuals. In addition, the following provisions shall apply:
1. No public water system shall operate without a duly licensed public water supply operator. The Department shall have the authority to exempt the owners of seasonal public water systems, restaurants, hotels and similar businesses from the requirement to operate with a licensed public water supply operator. The Department shall have the exclusive power to grant or deny any such license and shall adopt regulations setting the requirements, including any acceptable performance or an examination for obtaining and retaining any such license. The Department shall assess an annual licensure fee of $50 per operator.
2. The Department shall have the authority to monitor the water quality of public water systems for secondary drinking water quality standards. The Secretary shall have the authority to establish, after public hearing, minimum secondary drinking water quality standards for all public water suppliers serving more than 500 service connections within the state. In determining the total number of service connections, all public water systems operated, managed or owned wholly or in part by the public water supplier within the state shall be added together. Secondary drinking water quality standards involve a biological, chemical or physical characteristic of water that may adversely affect the taste, odor, color or appearance (aesthetics) which may affect public confidence or acceptance of the drinking water. These standards shall include but are not limited to chlorides, copper, iron, manganese, sulfate, total dissolved solids and other standards as determined by the Secretary. Such standards shall be at least as stringent as those adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Safe Drinking Water Act. A certificate of non-compliance shall be issued to any public water supplier that serves more than 500 service connections whose public water system violates secondary drinking water quality standards as adopted by the Department. Such Certificate shall require the public water supplier to report within 60 days what measures have been or will be taken to bring the public water system into compliance. Should any public water supplier serving more than 500 service connections within the State fail, without good cause, to meet secondary drinking water quality standards pursuant to this section for a period of time greater than 7 consecutive days, or should the public water supplier have a history of a recurring problem, the Secretary shall file a report with the Public Service Commission detailing such failure or such a history of a recurring problem. The Public Service Commission may utilize the report as cause to review the public water supplier's ability to provide adequate service under its present certificate of public convenience and necessity and may also use such report as a factor in considering any application by the water system supplier's for any further certificate. In addition, for public water systems operated by public utilities which are subject to the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission under §203C of Title 26, the Commission may utilize such report as cause to review the appropriate rates to be charged by the utility in light of the quality of service being provided.
3. The Department shall ensure that all new community and non-transient non-community public water systems commencing operation after October 1, 1999 demonstrate technical, managerial and financial capacity to operate in compliance with State of Delaware Regulations Governing Public Drinking Water Systems and the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. It is the purpose of this subparagraph to ensure that the Department has adequate information about the background of applicants or regulated parties for the purposes of processing permits. This includes the ability to identify applicants or regulated parties with histories of environmental violations, or criminal activities and/or associations; or applicants who cannot demonstrate the required responsibility, expertise or competence which is necessary for the proper operation or activity permitted by the Department.
4. Whoever refuses, fails or neglects to perform the duties required of public water suppliers under § 122 (3)c of this title; or who violates, neglects or fails to comply with duly adopted regulations or orders of the Department of Health and Social Services regarding the duties of public water suppliers, shall be subject to a judicially imposed penalty of up to $10,000 per day, together with costs, for every day from and after the effective date of an order of the Department of Health and Social Services, specifically directing compliance until such compliance has been achieved. Observance of orders of the Department of Health and Social Services concerning public water suppliers may also be compelled by mandamus or injunction, in appropriate cases, or by an action to compel the specific performance of the orders so made, or of the duties imposed by law upon such public water supplier. The Department of Health and Social Services may investigate the financial operations of a public water supplier to the extent necessary to enter an adequate compliance order.
5. In lieu of judicially imposed penalties, the Secretary may impose administrative penalty upon any public water supplier who refuses, fails or neglects to perform the duties required of it under § 122 (3) c of this Title. The administrative penalty shall be as follows:
A. For a system serving a population of more than 10,000 people the administrative penalty shall be not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000 per day per violation; and
B. For any other system, the administrative penalty shall be not less than $100 nor more than $10,000 per day per violation.
Assessment of an administrative penalty shall be determined by the nature, circumstances, extent and gravity of the violation, or violations, ability of the violator to pay, any prior history of such violations, the degree of culpability, economic benefit or savings (if any) resulting from the violation and such other matters as justice may require.
In the event of nonpayment of the administrative penalty after all legal appeals have been exhausted, a civil action may be brought by the Secretary in any court of competent jurisdiction, including any Justice of the Peace Court, for collection of the administrative penalty, including interest, attorneys' fees and costs, and the validity, amount and appropriateness of such administrative penalty shall not be subject to review."
Section 3. Amend §122(3) c., Title 16, Delaware Code by renumbering subparagraphs 7 through 10, as 6 through 9.
Approved June 30, 2003