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Summary: HB 3678 would add “septage” to the definition of Class B sludge in the Texas Health and Safety Code. Currently, to dump septage, individuals must register with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). To dump Class B sludge, an individual needs to go through a more thorough process and receive a permit from TCEQ.
Analysis: This legislation was authored with a specific health and safety concern in mind. Septage leaking into a population’s water supply is a legitimate health and safety concern. However, there is already a process in place that allows TCEQ to approve or deny the disposal of septage on private property. The problem that this legislation would hope to solve is not a matter of registration versus a permit. The problem is caused by permits occasionally being granted by TCEQ when perhaps they should not be.
While we cannot support the legislation in its current form, we would support an amendment to a) strike the provision adding septage to the definition of Class B sludge, b) require TCEQ to take public health and safety into consideration when approving septage registrations, and c) require TCEQ to review current septage registrations to determine if any represent a health and safety concern. Such an amendment would address the author’s concern without creating a new permitting process for septage.