H.B. No. 2651
relating to the regulation of subsurface area drip dispersal
systems by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Subtitle D, Title 2, Water Code, is amended by
adding Chapter 32 to read as follows:
CHAPTER 32. SUBSURFACE AREA DRIP DISPERSAL SYSTEM
SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS
Sec. 32.001. SHORT TITLE. This chapter may be cited as the
Subsurface Area Drip Dispersal System Act.
Sec. 32.002. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
(1) "Commission" means the Texas Commission on
(2) "Commercial, industrial, or municipal waste":
(A) means any water-dominant liquid waste
substance that may cause or might reasonably be expected to cause
pollution of fresh water and that may result from:
(i) processes of industry, manufacturing,
trade, or business;
(ii) development or recovery of natural
resources, except as provided by Paragraph (B); or
(iii) disposal of sewage or other wastes of
cities, towns, villages, communities, water districts, other
municipal corporations, educational facilities, apartment
complexes, and other commercial facilities; and
(B) does not include:
(i) oil and gas waste, as defined by Section
(ii) tar sands;
(iv) brine from desalination; or
(v) hazardous waste, as defined by Section
361.003, Health and Safety Code.
(3) "Department" means the Department of State Health
(4) "Executive director" means the executive director
of the commission.
(5) "Fresh water" has the meaning assigned by Section
(6) "Pollution" has the meaning assigned by Section
(7) "Processed" means the action of reducing liquid
waste to a state that will allow injection by subsurface drip
dispersal into an area without creating pollution.
(8) "Subsurface area drip dispersal system" means a
waste disposal system that injects processed commercial,
industrial, or municipal waste into the ground at a depth of not
more than 48 inches and spreads the waste over a large enough area
that the soil hydrologic absorption rate and crop/plant root
absorption rate are not exceeded.
Sec. 32.003. POLICY AND PURPOSE. It is the policy of this
state and the purpose of this chapter to:
(1) maintain the quality of fresh water in the state to
the extent consistent with the public health and welfare and the
operation of existing industries;
(2) promote the beneficial reuse of commercial,
industrial, and municipal waste for the economic development of the
state, thereby reducing the demand on the state's supply of fresh
(3) prevent underground injection that may pollute
fresh water; and
(4) require the use of all reasonable methods to
implement this policy.
[Sections 32.004-32.050 reserved for expansion]
SUBCHAPTER B. JURISDICTION OF COMMISSION
Sec. 32.051. PERMIT FROM COMMISSION. A person may not
operate a subsurface area drip dispersal system without first
obtaining a permit from the commission.
Sec. 32.052. APPLICATION FOR PERMIT. The commission shall
prescribe forms for application for a permit and shall make the
forms available on request without charge.
Sec. 32.053. INFORMATION REQUIRED OF APPLICANT. An
applicant shall furnish any information the executive director
considers necessary to discharge the executive director's duties
under this chapter and the rules of the commission.
Sec. 32.054. INSPECTION OF DISPERSION AREA. On receiving
an application for a permit, the executive director shall inspect
the location of the proposed dispersion area to determine the local
conditions and the probable effect of the subsurface area drip
Sec. 32.055. RECOMMENDATIONS FROM OTHER PERSONS. The
executive director shall submit to the department and to other
persons designated by the commission copies of each permit
application received in proper form. A person to whom an
application is submitted may make recommendations to the commission
concerning any aspect of the application not later than the 30th day
after the date the application is submitted.
Sec. 32.056. HEARING ON PERMIT APPLICATION. (a) In this
section, "local government" has the meaning assigned by Section
(b) The commission may hold a public hearing on a permit
application for a subsurface area drip dispersal system if the
commission determines that a hearing is necessary and in the public
(c) The commission shall hold a public hearing on a permit
application for a subsurface area drip dispersal system if a
hearing is requested by a local government located in the county of
the proposed disposal site or by an affected person.
(d) The commission by rule shall provide for giving notice
of the opportunity to request a public hearing on a permit
application. The rules for notice shall include provisions for
giving notice to local governments and affected persons.
(e) Before the commission begins to hear the testimony in a
contested case as defined by Chapter 2001, Government Code,
evidence must be placed in the record to demonstrate that proper
notice regarding the hearing was given to affected persons. If
mailed notice to an affected person is required, the commission or
other party to the hearing shall place evidence in the record that
notice was mailed to the address of the affected person included in
the appropriate county tax rolls at the time of mailing. For the
purposes of this subsection, the affidavit of the commission
employee responsible for the mailing of the notice, attesting to
the fact that notice was mailed to the address included in the tax
rolls at the time of mailing, shall be prima facie evidence of
proper mailing. The commission may not proceed with receipt of
testimony in a contested case until the requirements of this
subsection are complied with.
Sec. 32.057. OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT ON PROPOSED RULES. The
commission shall send copies of proposed rules under this chapter
to the department and any other persons designated by the
commission. A person to whom the copies of proposed rules are sent
may submit comments and recommendations to the commission and shall
have a reasonable time to do so as determined by the commission.
[Sections 32.058-32.100 reserved for expansion]
SUBCHAPTER C. ISSUANCE OF PERMITS: TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Sec. 32.101. ISSUANCE OF PERMIT. (a) The commission may
grant an application for a permit for a subsurface area drip
dispersal system in whole or part and may issue the permit if it
(1) the use or installation of the system is in the
(2) with proper safeguards, both subsurface and
surface fresh water can be adequately protected from pollution; and
(3) the applicant has provided for the proper
operation of the system.
(b) In the permit, the commission shall impose terms and
conditions reasonably necessary to protect fresh water from
(c) The commission, in determining if the use or
installation of a subsurface area drip dispersal system is in the
public interest under Subsection (a)(1), shall consider:
(1) compliance history of the applicant and related
entities under the method for evaluating compliance history
developed by the commission under Section 5.754 and in accordance
with the provisions of Subsection (d) of this section;
(2) whether there is a practical, economic, and
feasible alternative to a subsurface area drip dispersal system
reasonably available; and
(3) any other factor the commission considers
(d) The commission shall establish a procedure for the
preparation of comprehensive summaries of the applicant's
compliance history, including the compliance history of any
corporation or other business entity managed, owned, or otherwise
closely related to the applicant. The summaries shall be made
available to the applicant and any interested person after the
commission has completed its technical review of the permit
application and prior to giving public notice relating to the
issuance of the permit. Evidence of compliance or noncompliance by
an applicant for a subsurface area drip dispersal system permit
with environmental statutes and the rules adopted or orders or
permits issued by the commission may be offered by any party at a
hearing on the applicant's application and admitted into evidence
subject to applicable rules of evidence. Evidence of the
compliance history of an applicant for a subsurface area drip
dispersal system permit may be offered by the executive director at
a hearing on the application and admitted into evidence subject to
the rules of evidence. The commission shall consider all evidence
admitted, including compliance history, in determining whether to
issue, amend, extend, or renew a permit. If the commission
concludes that the applicant's compliance history is unacceptable,
the commission shall deny the permit.
Sec. 32.102. COPIES OF PERMIT FILING REQUIREMENTS. (a) The
commission shall send to the department a copy of each permit issued
under this chapter.
(b) Before beginning injection operations, a person
receiving a permit for a subsurface area drip dispersal system
shall file a copy of the permit with the applicable local health
authorities of the area in which the system is located.
[Sections 32.103-32.150 reserved for expansion]
SUBCHAPTER D. GENERAL POWERS
Sec. 32.151. POWER TO ENTER PROPERTY. A member or employee
of the commission or an authorized agent or employee of a local
government may enter public or private property to inspect and
investigate conditions relating to a subsurface area drip dispersal
system in connection with subsurface drip dispersal activities or
to monitor compliance with a rule, permit, or order of the
commission. A member or employee acting under the authority of this
section who enters an establishment on public or private property
shall observe the establishment's safety, internal security, and
fire protection rules.
Sec. 32.152. POWER TO EXAMINE RECORDS. A member or employee
of the commission or an authorized agent or employee of a local
government may examine and copy any record or memorandum of a
business the member, employee, or agent is investigating as
provided by Section 32.151 that relates to the operation of a
subsurface area drip dispersal system or any other record the
commission requires the business to maintain.
SECTION 2. (a) The Texas Commission on Environmental
Quality shall adopt rules and be prepared to accept applications
for permits under Chapter 32, Water Code, as added by this Act, not
later than July 31, 2006.
(b) A person is not required to hold a permit under Chapter
32, Water Code, as added by this Act, before November 1, 2006.
SECTION 3. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
Act takes effect September 1, 2005.
President of the Senate Speaker of the House
I certify that H.B. No. 2651 was passed by the House on May
13, 2005, by the following vote: Yeas 142, Nays 0, 2 present, not
Chief Clerk of the House
I certify that H.B. No. 2651 was passed by the Senate on May
25, 2005, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0.
Secretary of the Senate