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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 11, 2019 02:06 PM
From: Senator Gene Yaw
To: All Senate members
Subject: Spill Reporting Requirements under the Clean Streams Law
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to amend the act of June 22, 1937 (P.L. 1987, No. 394), also known as The Clean Streams Law, to address accidental discharges or spills of substances that enter or may enter the waters of the Commonwealth.

This legislation would establish a clear, practical reporting obligation similar to the laws of other states. It would require a discharger to notify PA DEP of any unauthorized discharge that may cause a violation of water quality criteria under 25 Pa. Code Ch. 93 or that is reportable under federal requirements. It would further clarify that accidental discharges that do not cause a violation of numeric water quality criteria do not constitute pollution or subject the discharger to penalties.

PA DEP enforces its own spill reporting regulation, 25 Pa. Code § 91.33(a). PA DEP currently interprets this regulation to require a discharger to notify PA DEP of all unauthorized spills of any substance, even when the quantity spilled is very small and poses no risk of harm to persons or the environment. As confirmed by decisions of Pennsylvania courts, the purpose of The Clean Streams Law is to regulate and control potentially harmful discharges, not to impose an impractical and unnecessary requirement on every business and individual in the Commonwealth to report every drop spilled at their facilities or homes.

I hope you join me in co-sponsoring this legislation that would establish a workable and protective spill reporting requirement under The Clean Streams Law.

Introduced as SB619