Legal Alerts Feb 23, 2017

California to Require Domestic Water Suppliers to Test School Drinking Water for Lead

State Water Resources Control Board Amends Domestic Water Supply Permit

California to Require Domestic Water Suppliers to Test School Drinking Water for Lead

The State Water Resources Control Board recently adopted an amendment to all Domestic Water Supply Permits it issues to public water systems that supply drinking water. The amendment requires domestic water suppliers for schools to test the school water for lead contamination upon request by the school superintendent or other authorized school representative. The domestic water supplier must prepare a sampling plan, conduct sampling, and conduct follow-up sampling if necessary. Costs of sampling, including lab fees and staff time, are to be borne by the water supplier. The amendment affects existing and new permits.
The Board adopted the amendment pursuant to its authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act to issue permits to domestic water suppliers, and to amend permits as necessary to protect human health. However, the Safe Drinking Water Act does not expressly authorize the Board to mandate lead testing in schools. Therefore, while the intent of the amendment is commendable, it may constitute a regulation that should have been adopted in accordance with the rulemaking provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act.
It is possible that this amendment creates a reimbursable state mandate. However, whether the State will reimburse costs associated with this amendment would need to be determined by the California Commission on State Mandates pending the submittal of a test claim by an affected agency. Any district that incurs costs from this amendment may want to consider filing a test claim with the Commission.
If you have any questions about this amendment or how it may impact your agency, please contact the author of this Legal Alert listed to the right in the firm’s Environmental Law & Natural Resources practice group, or your BB&K attorney.
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Disclaimer: BB&K Legal Alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqué.

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