This was a bi-partisan sponsored bill presented to the US Senate January 26. The bill is SB 147 and is sponsored by Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk.
The text of the initial bill is provided below.
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Great Lakes Water Protection Act’.
SEC. 2. PROHIBITION ON SEWAGE DUMPING INTO THE GREAT LAKES.
Section 402 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1342) is amended by adding at the end the following:
`(s) Prohibition on Sewage Dumping Into the Great Lakes-
`(1) DEFINITIONS- In this subsection:
`(A) BYPASS- The term `bypass’ means an intentional diversion of waste streams to bypass any portion of a treatment facility which results in a discharge into the Great Lakes.
`(B) GREAT LAKES- The term `Great Lakes’ has the meaning given the term in section 118(a)(3).
`(C) TREATMENT FACILITY- The term `treatment facility’ includes all wastewater treatment units used by a publicly owned treatment works to meet secondary treatment standards or higher, as required to attain water quality standards, under any operating conditions.
`(D) TREATMENT WORKS- The term `treatment works’ has the meaning given the term in section 212.
`(2) PROHIBITION- A publicly owned treatment works is prohibited from intentionally diverting waste streams to bypass any portion of a treatment facility at the treatment works if the diversion results in a discharge into the Great Lakes unless–
`(A)(i) the bypass is unavoidable to prevent loss of life, personal injury, or severe property damage;
`(ii) there is not a feasible alternative to the bypass, such as the use of auxiliary treatment facilities, retention of untreated wastes, or maintenance during normal periods of equipment downtime; and
`(iii) the treatment works provides notice of the bypass in accordance with this subsection; or
`(B) the bypass does not cause effluent limitations to be exceeded, and the bypass is for essential maintenance to ensure efficient operation of the treatment facility.
`(3) LIMITATION- The requirement of paragraph (2)(A)(ii) is not satisfied if–
`(A) adequate back-up equipment should have been installed in the exercise of reasonable engineering judgment to prevent the bypass; and
`(B) the bypass occurred during normal periods of equipment downtime or preventive maintenance.
`(4) NOTICE REQUIREMENTS- A publicly owned treatment works shall provide to the Administrator (or to the State, in the case of a State that has a permit program approved under this section)–
`(A) prior notice of an anticipated bypass; and
`(B) notice of an unanticipated bypass by not later than 24 hours after the time at which the treatment works first becomes aware of the bypass.
`(5) FOLLOW-UP NOTICE REQUIREMENTS- In the case of an unanticipated bypass for which a publicly owned treatment works provides notice under paragraph (4)(B), the treatment works shall provide to the Administrator (or to the State in the case of a State that has a permit program approved under this section), not later than 5 days following the date on which the treatment works first becomes aware of the bypass, a follow-up notice containing a description of–
`(A) the cause of the bypass;
`(B) the reason for the bypass;
`(C) the period of bypass, including the exact dates and times;
`(D) if the bypass has not been corrected, the anticipated time the bypass is expected to continue;
`(E) the volume of the discharge resulting from the bypass;
`(F) any public access areas that may be impacted by the bypass; and
`(G) steps taken or planned to reduce, eliminate, and prevent reoccurrence of the bypass.
`(6) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY OF NOTICES- A publicly owned treatment works providing a notice under this subsection, and the Administrator (or the State, in the case of a State that has a permit program approved under this section) receiving such a notice, shall each post the notice, by not later than 48 hours after providing or receiving the notice (as the case may be), in a searchable database accessible on the Internet.
`(7) SEWAGE BLENDING- Bypasses prohibited by this section include bypasses resulting in discharges from a publicly owned treatment works that consist of effluent routed around treatment units and thereafter blended together with effluent from treatment units prior to discharge.
`(8) IMPLEMENTATION- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Administrator shall establish procedures to ensure that permits issued under this section (or under a State permit program approved under this section) to a publicly owned treatment works include requirements to implement this subsection.
`(9) INCREASE IN MAXIMUM CIVIL PENALTY FOR VIOLATIONS OCCURRING AFTER JANUARY 1, 2031- Notwithstanding section 309, in the case of a violation of this subsection occurring on or after January 1, 2031, or any violation of a permit limitation or condition implementing this subsection occurring after such date, the maximum civil penalty that shall be assessed for the violation shall be $100,000 per day for each day the violation occurs.
`(10) APPLICABILITY- This subsection shall apply to a bypass occurring after the last day of the 1-year period beginning on the date of enactment of this subsection.’.
SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT OF GREAT LAKES CLEANUP FUND.
(a) In General- Title V of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) is amended–
(1) by redesignating section 519 (33 U.S.C. 1251 note) as section 520; and
(2) by inserting after section 518 (33 U.S.C. 1377) the following:
`SEC. 519. ESTABLISHMENT OF GREAT LAKES CLEANUP FUND.
`(a) Definitions- In this section:
`(1) FUND- The term `Fund’ means the Great Lakes Cleanup Fund established by subsection (b).
`(2) GREAT LAKES; GREAT LAKES STATES- The terms `Great Lakes’ and `Great Lakes States’ have the meanings given the terms in section 118(a)(3).
`(b) Establishment of Fund- There is established in the Treasury of the United States a trust fund to be known as the `Great Lakes Cleanup Fund’ (in this section referred to as the `Fund’).
`(c) Transfers to Fund- Effective January 1, 2031, there are authorized to be appropriated to the Fund amounts equivalent to the penalties collected for violations of section 402(s).
`(d) Administration of Fund- The Administrator shall administer the Fund.
`(e) Use of Funds- The Administrator shall–
`(1) make the amounts in the Fund available to the Great Lakes States for use in carrying out programs and activities for improving wastewater discharges into the Great Lakes, including habitat protection and wetland restoration; and
`(2) allocate those amounts among the Great Lakes States based on the proportion that–
`(A) the amount attributable to a Great Lakes State for penalties collected for violations of section 402(s); bears to
`(B) the total amount of those penalties attributable to all Great Lakes States.
`(f) Priority- In selecting programs and activities to be funded using amounts made available under this section, a Great Lakes State shall give priority consideration to programs and activities that address violations of section 402(s) resulting in the collection of penalties.’.
(b) Conforming Amendment to State Revolving Fund Program- Section 607 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1387) is amended–
(1) by inserting `(a) In General- ‘ before `There is’; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
`(b) Treatment of Great Lakes Cleanup Fund- For purposes of this title, amounts made available from the Great Lakes Cleanup Fund under section 519 shall be treated as funds authorized to be appropriated to carry out this title and as funds made available under this title, except that the funds shall be made available to the Great Lakes States in accordance with section 519.’.