THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

2501

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2020

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to water pollution.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. Section 342D-6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"342D-6 Permits; procedures for. (a) No permit shall be issued for discharge of pollution arising from a use in a class of waters of which the use is not an approved use under standards established by regulation or rule. No permit shall be issued for expansion of an existing use or addition of accessory use if the existing or accessory use is not an approved use in the class of waters. No permit for an activity involving discharge of pollution including nonpoint source pollution shall be issued for water designated with the highest level of protection by regulation or rule without first obtaining a variance.

[(a)] (b) An application for any permit required under this chapter shall be in a form prescribed by the director.

[(b)] (c) The department may require that applications for permits shall be accompanied by plans, specifications, and any other information that it deems necessary in order to determine whether the proposed installation, alteration, or use will be in accord with applicable rules and standards.

[(c)] (d) The director shall issue a permit for any term, not exceeding five years, if the director determines that it will be in the public interest; provided that the permit may be subject to any reasonable conditions that the director may prescribe. The director may include conditions in permits or may issue separate permits for management practices for domestic sewage, sewage sludge, and recycled water, whether or not the practices cause water pollution. The director, on application, shall renew a permit from time to time for a term not exceeding five years if the director determines that it will be in the public interest. The director shall not grant or deny an application for the issuance or renewal of a permit without affording the applicant and any person who commented on the proposed permit during the public comment period an opportunity for a hearing in accordance with chapter 91. A request for a hearing and any judicial review of the hearing shall not stay the effect of the issuance or renewal of a permit unless specifically ordered by the director or [[]an[]] environmental court.

[(d)] (e) The director, on the director's own motion or the application of any person, may modify, suspend, revoke, or revoke and reissue any water pollution permit if, after affording the permittee an opportunity for a hearing in accordance with chapter 91, the director determines that:

(1) There is a violation of any condition of the permit;

(2) The permit was obtained by misrepresentation, or there was failure to disclose fully all relevant facts;

(3) There is a change in any condition that requires either a temporary or permanent reduction or elimination of the permitted discharge; or

(4) It is in the public interest.

The public interest excludes any reason less stringent than the causes for permit modification, revocation, and termination, or revocation and reissuance identified in 40 Code of Federal Regulations section 122.62 or 122.64.

[(e)] (f) The director, on the director's own motion or the application of any person, may modify, suspend, revoke, or revoke and reissue any sludge permit after affording the permittee an opportunity for a hearing in accordance with chapter 91, and consistent with 40 Code of Federal Regulations section 501.15(c)(2) and (3) and (d)(2).

[(f)] (g) The director shall ensure that the public receives notice of each application for a permit to control water pollution. The director may hold a public hearing before ruling on an application for a permit to control water pollution if the director determines the public hearing to be in the public interest. In determining whether a public hearing would be in the public interest, the director shall be guided by 40 Code of Federal Regulations section 124.12(a).

[(g)] (h) In determining the public interest regarding permit issuance or renewal, the director shall consider the environmental impact of the proposed action, any adverse environmental effects which cannot be avoided should the action be implemented, the alternatives to the proposed action, the relationship between local short-term uses of the environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity, any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources which would be involved in the proposed action should it be implemented, and any other factors which the director, by rule, may prescribe; provided that any determination of public interest shall promote the optimum balance between economic development and environmental quality.

[(h)] (i) No applicant for a modification or renewal of a permit shall be held in violation of this chapter during the pendency of the applicant's application so long as the applicant acts consistently with the permit previously granted, the application and all plans, specifications, and other information submitted as part thereof."

SECTION 2. Section 342D-7, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"342D-7 Variances. (a) A variance may be granted by the director from the provisions of chapter 342D or any rules adopted under this chapter subject to the requirements set forth in this section. All variance proceedings shall require the burden of proving entitlement to a variance on the applicant.

[(a)] (b) Every application for a variance shall be made on forms furnished by the department and shall be accompanied by a complete and detailed description of present conditions, how present conditions do not conform to standards, and such other information as the department may by rule prescribe.

[(b)] (c) Each application for a variance shall be reviewed in light of the descriptions, statements, plans, histories, and other supporting information submitted with the application, such additional information as may be submitted upon the request of the department, and the effect or probable effect upon the water quality standards established pursuant to this chapter.

[(c)] (d) Whenever an application is approved, the department shall issue a variance authorizing the discharge of water pollutant in excess of applicable standards. No variance shall be granted by the department unless the application and the supporting information clearly show that:

(1) The continuation of the function or operation involved in the discharge of waste occurring or proposed to occur by the granting of the variance is in the public interest as defined in section 342D-6;

(2) The discharge occurring or proposed to occur does not substantially endanger human health or safety; and

(3) Compliance with the rules or standards from which variance is sought would produce serious hardship without equal or greater benefits to the public.

[(d)] (e) Any variance or renewal thereof shall be granted within the requirements of this section and for time periods and under conditions consistent with the reasons therefor, and within the following limitations:

(1) If the variance is granted on the ground that there is no practicable means known or available for the adequate prevention, control, or abatement of the water pollution involved, it shall be only until the necessary means for prevention, control, or abatement become practicable and subject to the taking of any substitute or alternate measures that the department may prescribe. No renewal of a variance granted under this subsection shall be allowed without a thorough review of known and available means of preventing, controlling, or abating the water pollution involved.

(2) The director may issue a variance for a period not exceeding five years.

(3) Every variance granted under this section shall include conditions requiring the grantee to perform discharge or effluent sampling and report the results of such sampling to the department.

[(e)] (f) Any variance granted pursuant to this section may be renewed from time to time on terms and conditions and for periods not exceeding five years which would be appropriate on initial granting of a variance; provided that the applicant for renewal has met all of the conditions specified in the immediately preceding variance; and provided further that the renewal, and the variance issued in pursuance thereof, shall provide for discharge not greater than that attained pursuant to the terms of the immediately preceding variance at its expiration. No renewal shall be granted except on application therefor. Any such application shall be made at least one hundred eighty days prior to the expiration of the variance. The director shall act on an application for renewal within one hundred eighty days of the receipt of such application.

[(f)] (g) The director may afford a hearing in accordance with chapter 91 in relation to an application for the issuance, renewal, or modification of a variance.

[(g)] (h) No variance granted pursuant to this chapter shall be construed to prevent or limit the application of any emergency provisions and procedures provided by law.

[(h)] (i) Notwithstanding any provision in this section, no variance shall be granted or renewed pursuant to this chapter with respect to any discharge of water pollutants or wastes that is in violation of the requirements of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and the amendments thereto.

[(i)] (j) Any application for a variance, submitted pursuant to this chapter, shall be subject to the public participation requirements listed below:

(1) Public notices of every completed application for a variance shall be circulated in a manner designed to inform interested and potentially interested persons of the proposed discharge or other proposed activity. Procedures for the circulation of public notices shall include at least the following:

(A) Notice shall be given within the geographical areas of the proposed discharge or other proposed activity;

(B) Notice shall be mailed to any person or group upon request; and

(C) The director shall add the name of any person or group upon request to a mailing list to receive copies of notices for all variance applications within the State or within a certain geographical area;

(2) The director shall provide a period of not less than thirty days following the date of the public notice during which time interested persons may submit their written reviews with respect to the variance application and the tentative determinations of the department, if any. The period for comment may be extended at the discretion of the director;

(3) The contents of public notice of applications for variances shall include at least the following:

(A) Name, address, and phone number of agency issuing the public notice;

(B) Name and address of each applicant;

(C) Brief description of each applicant's activities or operations which result in the discharge or other activity described in the variance application (e.g., rock crushing plant, municipal waste treatment plant, raw sugar factory, or pineapple cannery);

(D) A short description of the location of each discharge indicating whether the discharge is new or existing;

(E) A brief description of the procedures for the formulation of final determinations, including the thirty-day comment period required by paragraph (2) and any other means by which interested persons may influence or comment upon those determinations; and

(F) Address and phone number of state agency premises at which interested persons may obtain further information and inspect a copy of the variance applications and supporting and related documents; and

(4) The director may hold a public hearing if, after reviewing the comments submitted under paragraph (2), the director determines that a public hearing is warranted. Any hearing brought pursuant to this subsection shall be held in the geographical area of the proposed discharge or other proposed activity, or other appropriate area, at the discretion of the director."

SECTION 3. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Water Pollution; Rules; Permits; Variances

 

Description:

Disallows any permits to be issued for the discharge of pollution in certain instances. Allows the director to grant a variance pursuant to chapter 342D. Provides that in all variance proceedings the burden of proof is on the applicant.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.