HB 235 - AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE

 

7Apr2021... 0580h

05/13/2021   1333s

2021 SESSION

21-0222

08/06

 

HOUSE BILL 235

 

AN ACT addressing impacts to other water users from new sources of water for community water systems and relative to the PFAS fund and programs.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. M. Pearson, Rock. 34; Rep. Guthrie, Rock. 13; Rep. Green, Rock. 13; Rep. Welch, Rock. 13; Rep. Hobson, Rock. 35; Rep. Weyler, Rock. 13; Rep. Salloway, Straf. 5; Sen. Birdsell, Dist 19

 

COMMITTEE: Resources, Recreation and Development

 

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AMENDED ANALYSIS

 

This bill requires the department of environmental services to adopt rules concerning small groundwater withdrawals from new sources of water.  The bill also clarifies the administration of the PFAS fund and program by the department of environmental services.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

7Apr2021... 0580h

05/13/2021   1333s 21-0222

08/06

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One

 

AN ACT addressing impacts to other water users from new sources of water for community water systems and relative to the PFAS fund and programs.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  New Section; Small Groundwater Withdrawals.  Amend RSA 485-C by inserting after section 25 the following new section:

485-C:26  Groundwater Withdrawals Less than 57,600 Gallons Over Any 24-Hour Period for Community Water Systems.  The department shall adopt rules pursuant to RSA 541-A specifying criteria and procedures to ensure a groundwater withdrawal less than 57,600 gallons over any 24-hour period from a new source of water for a community water system as defined by RSA 485:1-a and subject to RSA 485:8 does not cause an unmitigated impact to an existing private water supply well in accordance with RSA 485-C:21, V-c(a) or RSA 485-C:21, V-c(c).

2  PFAS Fund and Program; Purpose.  Amend RSA 485-H:1 to read as follows:

485-H:1 Purpose Statement.  Communities across the state have been impacted by [per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)] perfluorochemical contamination, largely through no fault of their own. Perfluorochemicals are a class of chemicals that are part of a larger group of chemicals called per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).  The cost of remediating this contamination for many communities would result in dramatically higher water and sewer rates for end users. The existence of these man-made chemicals, some of which are occurring at unhealthy levels in New Hampshire's drinking water, require a strategy to protect, preserve, and enhance the water that New Hampshire citizens and environment rely upon.

3  PFAS Fund and Program; Definitions.  Amend RSA 485-H:2, III and IV to read as follows:

III. "PFAS drinking water standard" means the maximum contaminant levels in accordance with RSA 485:16-e.

IV. "PFAS loan fund" means the PFAS remediation loan fund established in RSA 485-H:10.

4  PFAS Program; Drinking Water Protection; Groundwater.  RSA 485-H:3 and 485-H:4 are repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

485-H:3 Implementation of Drinking Water Protection Program.

I.  The department shall provide low-interest loans to municipalities, community water systems, and non-profit, non-transient non-community water systems whose testing of untreated source water shows an exceedance of a PFAS drinking water standard.  Such loans shall be provided for the projects described below begun after September 30, 2019.  

II.  The department shall provide the loans described in paragraph I for projects needed to meet a PFAS drinking water standard if the applicant demonstrates, and the department agrees, that the project is the most cost-effective way to meet PFAS drinking water standards and if the project meets the other provisions of this chapter and department rules adopted pursuant to this chapter.  

III.  The department shall adopt rules, and include conditions in loan documents, to ensure that the applicant has made and will make reasonable efforts to obtain and use funds from any potentially liable third party prior to and after taking a loan from the PFAS loan fund, and that any money received from a potentially liable third party after the loan is provided is applied to early repayment of such loan to the extent reasonable. In addition, the department shall adopt rules establishing criteria to ensure that an applicant shall not be eligible for loans for any project or portion of a project to the extent the negligence of the applicant caused the contamination that resulted in the exceedance of a PFAS drinking water standard.

IV.  If the department forgives any part of a loan related to costs for a project for which a third party might otherwise be liable, the right to recover payment from such third party shall be subrogated to the department to the extent of such forgiveness. Any money recovered by the department from such third party shall be deposited in the PFAS loan fund.  

V.  Loans may be made for up to the total cost of the project minus any contribution from a liable or potentially liable third party or any other portion deemed ineligible under this chapter and department rules.  

485-H:4 Implementation of Groundwater, Surface Water and Aquatic Life Protection.

I.  The department shall provide low interest loans to publicly-owned and non-profit wastewater and/or wastewater residual treatment or storage facilities that are required to treat effluent and residuals to achieve applicable PFAS standards prior to discharge or disposal.  

II. The department shall provide the loans described in paragraph I if the applicant demonstrates, and the department agrees, that the project is the most cost-effective way to meet applicable PFAS standards and if the project meets the other provisions of this chapter and department rules adopted pursuant to this chapter.  The applicant shall provide evidence in the application for funding that there is not a more cost-effective way to meet applicable PFAS standards.

III.  The department shall adopt rules, and include conditions in loan documents, to ensure that the applicant has made reasonable efforts to obtain and use funds from any liable or potentially liable third party prior to and after taking a loan from the PFAS loan fund, and that any money received from a liable or potentially liable third party at a later time is applied to early repayment of the loan from the PFAS loan fund to the extent reasonable.  In addition, the department shall adopt rules establishing criteria to ensure that an applicant shall not be eligible for loans for any project or portion of a project to the extent the negligence of the applicant caused the contamination that resulted in the exceedance of an applicable PFAS standard.

IV.  If the department forgives any part of a loan related to costs for a project for which a third party might otherwise be liable, the right to recover payment from such third party shall be subrogated to the department to the extent of such forgiveness. Any money recovered by the department from such third party shall be deposited in the PFAS loan fund.  

V. Loans may be made for up to the total cost of the project minus any contribution from a liable or potentially liable third party or any other portion deemed ineligible under this chapter and department rules.

5  Loan Forgiveness.  Amend RSA 485-H:5 to read as follows:

485-H:5 Loan Principal Forgiveness Based Upon Need.

I. The department shall forgive up to 10 percent of the loan principal to municipalities, community water systems, and non-profit, non-transient non-community water systems using the same qualifying standards for forgiveness used in the drinking water state revolving loan program established under RSA 486:14.

II. The department shall forgive up to 10 percent of the loan principal for publicly-owned and non-profit wastewater treatment facilities using the same qualifying standards for forgiveness used in the clean water state revolving loan program established under RSA 486:14.

III. Total loan forgiveness under this section shall not exceed $5 million [for both drinking water and clean water combined].

6  PFAS Program; Rules; Loan Fund.  Amend RSA 485-H:7 through 485-H:10 to read as follows:

485-H:7 Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund Exception. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, any funds deposited into the drinking water and groundwater trust fund established in RSA 6-D:1 as a result of this chapter may be transferred to the department to be used for funding PFAS remediation projects, including those at wastewater treatment facilities, at the discretion of the drinking water and groundwater trust fund's advisory commission.

485-H:8 Duties of the Department.

I. The department shall perform the following duties to the limit of available funding:

(a) Establishing and administrating the PFAS remediation loan program to assist municipalities; community and non-profit, non-transient non-community water systems; and publicly owned and non-profit wastewater treatment facilities with the cost of complying with [state maximum contaminant level for] applicable PFAS standards.

(b) Establishing and administering a loan forgiveness program to assist disadvantaged communities with loan repayment.

(c) Awarding loan funds to projects that meet the provisions of this chapter including the following criteria:

(1) The project is or was necessary to comply with a [state mandated] PFAS drinking water standard or other applicable PFAS standard and the applicant for funding is a municipality, a community water system, or a non-profit, non-transient public water system, or a publicly-owned or non-profit wastewater and/or wastewater residual treatment or storage facility.

(2) The applicant has demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the department, that [low or no-cost solutions are neither viable nor effective] the project is the most cost-effective way to meet PFAS drinking water standards and other applicable PFAS standards.

(d) Awarding reimbursements to projects from the fund in a manner consistent with this chapter.

II. Every year beginning December 1, 2020, the department shall prepare and file a report with the general court evaluating the progress made relative to PFAS contamination, the efficiency of the program established under this chapter, and whether it continues to provide the maximum benefit to New Hampshire citizens, and providing any recommendations on potential additional tasks for which the fund could be used to address PFAS contamination.

485-H:9 Rules. The department shall adopt rules, under RSA 541-A, relative to administering [PFAS remediation loan programs for eligible projects necessary to meet state PFAS standards] this chapter.

485-H:10 PFAS Remediation Loan Fund Established. There is hereby established in the department the PFAS remediation loan fund which shall be maintained by the state treasurer in distinct and separate custody from all other funds, notwithstanding RSA 6:12. The state treasurer may invest the PFAS remediation loan fund in accordance with RSA 6:8. Any earnings on fund moneys shall be added to the PFAS remediation loan fund. All moneys in the PFAS remediation loan fund shall be non-lapsing and shall be continually appropriated to the department. The PFAS remediation loan fund shall be used to fund loans and reimbursements in accordance with this chapter. Funds from any bond proceeds, grants, loan repayments, legislative appropriations, donations, and other funds related to the PFAS remediation loan fund shall be credited to [this] the PFAS remediation loan fund.

7  Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund.  Amend RSA 485-F:3, III to read as follows:

III. Costs paid from the drinking water and groundwater trust fund for the action described in paragraph I(a) and recovered by the state under RSA 147-B:10, shall be deposited to the trust fund. In addition, upon payment from the trust fund for any costs for which a third party would otherwise be liable, the right to recover payment from such third party shall be assumed by the drinking water and groundwater advisory commission to the extent of payment made from the trust fund. Except as provided in RSA 485-H:6, any money so recovered shall be repaid to the trust fund. No party shall receive multiple compensation for the same injury, and any such compensation shall be repaid to the trust fund.

8  Effective Date.  

I. Section 1 of this act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

II.  The remainder of this act shall take effect upon its passage.