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On-site Wastewater Treatment Research Council

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      Next Review Date: none
    • Last Review Date: 2010-2011 Review Cycle - 82nd Legislative Session

    Sunset Review Documents for 2010-2011 Review Cycle, 82nd Legislative Session

    Legislative Documents

    • House Bill 2694 (Jun 2011)

    Final Results from Last Sunset Report

    The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) serves as the State’s umbrella agency to regulate environmental quality. TCEQ’s mission is to protect Texas’ human and natural resources consistent with sustainable economic development, and its goals are clean air, clean water, and safe management of waste. TCEQ has regulatory oversight over air emissions, water use, wastewater discharges, and radioactive and solid waste disposal. To fulfill its mission, TCEQ issues permits, registrations, licenses, and other authorizations to entities or individuals whose actions may affect the environment or human health; monitors and assesses air and water in Texas; develops plans to maintain and improve air and water quality; oversees the remediation of sites contaminated by toxic releases; ensures compliance with environmental laws and rules by inspecting regulated entities and taking enforcement action when necessary; and helps entities avoid polluting through technical assistance and grant programs, such as the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan.

    In 1987, the Legislature established the On-site Wastewater Treatment Research Council (Council) to award competitive research grants to improve the quality and affordability of on-site wastewater treatment systems; and enhance technology transfer of on-site wastewater treatment through educational courses and other forms of information dissemination. Although the Council receives administrative support from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, it operates as an independent entity and has a separate Sunset date.

    The Legislature adopted most of the Sunset Commission’s recommendations to put structures in place to help ensure appropriate action may be taken against regulated entities, to make TCEQ more transparent in the way it makes and communicates its decisions, and to provide proper funding mechanisms for TCEQ to meet its responsibilities. The Legislature also added several other statutory provisions to House Bill 2694. A discussion of the bill’s major provisions follows.

    • Continue the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and transfer certain oil- and gas-related regulatory activities to the Railroad Commission.
    • Coordinate and focus TCEQ’s public assistance efforts.
    • Revamp TCEQ’s approach to compliance history to ensure it fairly and accurately measures entities’ performance.
    • Improve TCEQ’s ability to take appropriate enforcement actions, and bring predictability and transparency to TCEQ’s enforcement process.
    • Provide TCEQ with tools to effectively protect surface water availability during drought or emergency conditions.
    • Provide TCEQ with tools to prevent and remediate groundwater contamination from leaking petroleum storage tanks.
    • Create a structure to fund the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission.
    • Eliminate three existing water and wastewater utility application fees, and make rate case information electronically available.
    • Focus TCEQ’s dam safety program on high-hazard dams, and exempt certain low- and significant- hazard dams from regulation.
    • Require members of the TCEQ Commission to resign from office if running for elected office.
    • Abolish the On-site Wastewater Treatment Research Council, and transfer the authority to award grants for on-site sewage research to TCEQ.
    • Amend the process for contested case hearings for permits, including party status.
    • Create an expedited public hearing process for permit amendment applications for electric generating facilities to comply with Maximum Achievable Control Technology standards.
    • Create timelines for TCEQ to review and approve amendments to certain water management plans.
    • Expand the Water Code’s definition of agriculture to include aquaculture.
    • Change the requirements for water district financial reporting to TCEQ.
    • Amend rate change notification requirements for certain utilities.