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Summary: Under the current Texas Water Code, in the case of accidental discharges or spills at a wastewater facility or in the process of a wastewater facility activity, the facility is responsible for reporting the spill to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Currently there is no distinction made between large and small spills. HB 824 would exempt "sanitary sewage overflows" that are less than 1,000 gallons and do not make it to a state water source from the types of spills/discharges that are required to be reported. The facilities would still be responsible for cleaning up the spill, but not reporting it to TCEQ.
Analysis: HB 824 removes regulations from the Water Code without opening Texans up to potentially unsafe conditions. It is important that facilities still be required to clean up any spills, but TCEQ should be able to focus agency resources on more important matters. This bill would allow larger spills take top priority while still requiring facilities to clean up small spills. We support HB 824.