Advanced Notice of Final Rulemaking for the Administration of the Water and Wastewater Systems Operators' Certification Program
[40 Pa.B. 560]
[Saturday, January 23, 2010]
The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) is soliciting comments on changes it recommends be made to Chapter 302, The Administration of the Water and Wastewater Systems Operator Certification Program proposed rulemaking published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin at 39 Pa.B. 3591 (July 11, 2009). Public comments were accepted from July 11, 2009 through September 9, 2009. The Department received 154 comments from 77 commentators.
The draft final-form rulemaking describes the policies and procedures the State Board for Certification of Water and Wastewater Systems Operators (Certification Board) and the Department will follow to implement its responsibilities and duties under the Drinking Water and Wastewater Systems Operators' Certification Act (Certification Act) (63 P. S. §§ 1001—1015.1). This includes the procedures to be followed by applicants to become certified for the first time, to renew their certification, and to apply for reciprocity based on certification received from another state. The regulations also describe the procedure the Certification Board will follow for the review of all applications for certification, including the review of criminal history records. The regulations also define requirements for the suspension or revocation of an operator's certificate, upon petition by the Department and for the review of Department decisions related to operator training programs and courses. The draft final-form rulemaking also establishes the standards and requirements for operators of water and wastewater systems to become certified and maintain their certification. It also establishes the duties and responsibilities of operators and owners related to the operation of a community or nontransient, noncommunity water system, water distribution system, wastewater treatment system treating more than 2,000 gallons per day and a satellite wastewater collection system with a pump station. Finally, proposed fees to cover the costs of program administration are established.
This rulemaking ensures that Pennsylvania's Operator Certification Program continues to meet the Federal requirements established in the 1996 Amendments to the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and State requirements as established by the Certification Act. This proposed rulemaking is more stringent than the Federal guidelines in one area. The Certification Act requires that the Federal requirements for drinking water system operators also apply to wastewater system operators.
A. Summary of the Advance Notice of Final-Form Rulemaking Changes
In response to comments received during the official public comment period on the proposed rulemaking for Chapter 302, The Administration of the Water and Wastewater Systems Operator Certification Program, the Department has prepared a draft final-form rulemaking for public comment. The draft final-form rulemaking contains significant changes in several areas. These changes include:
• Definitions—As suggested by the commentators a number of definitions were revised. In addition, the definitions for conventional filtration, membrane filtration and ground water were revised to ensure continued consistency with Department regulations for the Safe Drinking Water Program.
• Operator Liability—A new section 1209 (Assessment of Fines and Penalties) has replaced the previous Section 1209 (Satellite Collection Systems). Section 1209 was added to require the Department's assessment of a penalty be based on a person's failure to comply with an order. This has always been the intention of the Department and the way the program has been implemented since 2002.
• Laboratory Supervisor Subclassification—Sections referring to this subclassification were revised to insure consistency between Chapter 302 and provisions of Chapter 252, Laboratory Accreditation.
• Duties of Operators—The duties of operators were revised to parallel statutory language. Additional language to further clarify the statutory requirement for a report from the operator to an owner regarding violations and potential violations was deleted.
• Process Control Decisions—Language pertaining to Department staff making process control decisions under specific situations was deleted.
• Process Control Plans—Language was added to clarify when the Department would ask for the development of these plans and who would be responsible for their development.
• Collection Systems—The Section distinguishing the requirement for a certified operator based on ownership was deleted. The definitions for single entity and satellite collection systems were revised to parallel statutory language.
• Fees—While the actual fee structure did not change, further clarification as to how the fees would be applied was added.
While there is no legal requirement to provide an opportunity to comment upon the Department's recommendations for final-form rulemaking, the Department believes further discussion would serve the public interest in this instance.
B. Contact Persons
For further information or to request a copy of the draft final-form rulemaking contact Veronica Kasi, the Division of Technical and Financial Assistance, P. O. Box 8467, Rachel Carson State Office Building, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8467, (717) 787-0122, firstname.lastname@example.org. Persons with a disability may use the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service by calling (800) 654-5984 (TDD users) or (800) 654-5988 (voice users). This draft final-form rulemaking is available electronically through the Department's web site at www.depweb.state.pa.us. (Select: Public Participation Center, then Select: Proposals Currently Open for Comment)
Electronic or written comments should be sent to Veronica Kasi at the previously listed address. Comments must be received by February 26, 2010. A subject heading of the rulemaking and a return name and address must be included in each letter or transmission. Comments will not be accepted by facsimile or voice mail.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 10-148. Filed for public inspection January 22, 2010, 9:00 a.m.]
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