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RULE §317.1General Provisions

(a) Applicability and Purpose. This chapter applies to any wastewater collection system or wastewater treatment facility that collects, transports, treats, or disposes of wastewater, with final plans and technical specifications submitted on or before August 28, 2008, that is not subject to the requirements of Chapter 217 of this title (relating to Design Criteria for Domestic Wastewater Systems). Wastewater collection systems and wastewater treatment facilities that are subject to this chapter shall meet all requirements of these rules no later than 120 days after the effective date of this chapter. These design criteria are minimum requirements to be used for the comprehensive consideration of domestic sewage collection, treatment, or disposal systems and establish the minimum design criteria pursuant to existing state statutes pertaining to effluent quality necessary to meet state water quality standards. These criteria are intended to promote the design of facilities in accordance with good public health and water quality engineering practices. These criteria include the minimum requirements for a preliminary engineering report which provides the general engineering concepts underlying the proposed project as well as the final engineering report detailing the fully developed project along with related plans and specifications. All wastewater treatment facilities, treatment units, collection systems, and collection system units must be installed, operated, and maintained: to ensure the safety of the public and all individuals authorized to be in or around a wastewater treatment facility, treatment unit, collection system, or collection system unit; to function as described in the engineering report and the associated plans and specifications approved by the executive director; and to ensure continuous compliance with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

  (1) Authority for requirement. The Texas Water Code (TWC) prescribes the duties of the commission relating to the control of pollution including the review and approval of plans and specifications for sewage disposal systems. This authority is found in TWC, §§5.013, 12.081 - 12.083, 15.104, 15.114, 26.023, 26.034, 49.181 - 49.182, 54.024, and 51.333.

  (2) Review of plans and specifications. Plans and specifications shall meet the design criteria and the operation, maintenance, and safety requirements for the proposed project as provided by this chapter. Approval given by the executive director, or a participating municipality with review authority as provided for in paragraphs (5) and (6) of this subsection, shall not relieve the sewerage system owner or the design engineer of any liabilities or responsibilities with respect to the proper design, construction, or authorized operation of the project in accordance with applicable commission rules.

  (3) Submittal requirements.

    (A) "Sanitary sewer collection system projects," which will be constructed within the jurisdiction of a municipality which performs technical reviews of sanitary sewer collection system projects under TWC, §26.034, and which are not prepared by the staff of a municipality, need not be submitted to the agency for review.

    (B) "Sanitary sewer collection system projects," which are prepared by the staff of a municipality, which will be constructed within the jurisdiction of a municipality which performs technical reviews of sanitary sewer collection system projects under TWC, §26.034, and where the entire project falls into one or more of the categories outlined in clauses (i) - (iii) of this subparagraph, need not be submitted to the agency for review.

      (i) Any conventional gravity sewer collection system lines less than 1,500 linear feet in length which are extensions to existing systems where the existing system has been completed and in operation at least six months;

      (ii) Any duplex lift stations which have a firm pumping capacity of less than 100 gallons per minute; and

      (iii) Any conventional gravity sewer piping less than 12 inches in diameter.

    (C) "Domestic wastewater projects" which receive a technical review and approval from a state agency other than the commission need not be submitted to the agency for review, if:

      (i) the review is performed under the supervision of a professional engineer registered in the State of Texas, the review ensures that the project complies with this chapter, and the state agency has requested that the commission not perform technical reviews of a wastewater project or category of projects; or

      (ii) the state agency has been granted review authority in lieu of the commission under state law.

    (D) A summary transmittal letter shall be submitted, by certified mail, to the Wastewater Permits Section, and to the appropriate commission regional office, for all wastewater projects constructed in the State of Texas, which are not exempted from the commission's submittal requirements as detailed in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of this paragraph. If the executive director does not notify the person who submitted the summary that a review will occur, under subparagraph (E) of this paragraph, the project is deemed approved. The information in the summary shall be signed, dated, and sealed by a professional engineer registered in the State of Texas. All summaries shall include, at a minimum:

      (i) the name and address of the design firm;

      (ii) the name, phone number, and facsimile number of the design engineer;

      (iii) the county(s) in which the project will be located with an identifying name for the project;

      (iv) the name of the entity which proposes to own, operate, and maintain the project through its design life;

      (v) the permit name and permit number of the relevant wastewater treatment facility;

      (vi) a statement verifying that the plans and specifications are in substantial compliance with all the requirements of this chapter and which states that any deviations from the requirements are based on the best professional judgement of the registered professional engineer who prepared the project plans and specifications and final engineering design report; and

      (vii) a brief description of the project scope which includes the specifics of the project, a description of deviations from the requirements of this chapter, including the use of nonconforming or innovative technology, and an explanation of the reasons for such deviations.

    (E) Any project, for which a summary is submitted, is subject to review by the executive director. Factors to be used to determine whether a review will be performed include, but are not limited to, whether or not a non-conforming or innovative technology is being proposed, the stream segment in which the project is located, and the applicant's compliance record. If the executive director chooses to review a project, the design engineer will be notified in writing or by facsimile of the executive director's intent to review the project, within ten days of receipt of the summary. Upon receipt of the notification of intent to review, the design engineer shall submit to the executive director a complete set of plans and specifications and a complete final engineering design report. These submitted materials shall be sufficient to satisfy the executive director that the project is in compliance with this chapter. If the executive director reviews a project, any approval may be granted under paragraph (4) of this subsection. Construction may not commence until approval has been obtained.

    (F) A complete set of plans and specifications, the final version of such plans and specifications with engineer's certification, a complete engineering design report, all change orders and test results, a copy of the written summary submitted to the executive director, and any written approvals granted by the executive director, a municipality, or another state agency, shall be maintained and kept by the permittee, or for collection system projects, person(s) responsible for management of the collection system, for at least three years from the date the engineer certifies to the executive director that the project is complete. These materials shall be submitted to the executive director, another state agency, or municipality upon request. Such materials must be readily available for inspection by the executive director's staff upon request during regular business hours.

  (4) Types of approval. Regardless of the type of approval, constructed facilities when in operation are required to produce the quality of effluent specified in their discharge permit(s). The types of approvals described in subparagraphs (A) - (C) of this paragraph will be utilized by the commission or any other review authority.

    (A) Standard approval. Plans and specifications found to comply with all applicable parts of these criteria and to conform to commonly accepted sanitary engineering design practices shall be approved for construction.

    (B) Approvals of innovative and nonconforming technologies.

      (i) Technologies considered to be nonconforming or innovative include ones not conforming to or addressed in the design criteria of this chapter.

      (ii) If an approval for nonconforming or innovative technologies is requested, engineering proposals for processes, equipment, or construction materials not covered in these criteria shall be fully described in the submitted planning materials and the reasons for their selection clearly outlined. Processes considered to be nonconforming or innovative should also be supported by results of pilot or demonstration studies. Where similarly designed full scale processes exist and are known to have operated for a reasonable period of time under conditions similar to those suggested for the proposed design, performance data from these existing full scale facilities shall be required to be submitted to the executive director in addition to, or in lieu of, pilot or small scale demonstration studies. Any warranties or performance bond agreements offered by the process, equipment, or material manufacturers shall be fully described in the request.

      (iii) Approvals of processes, equipment, or construction materials which are considered to be innovative or nonconforming will be granted only in cases where the commission or review authority determines, after an engineering evaluation of the supporting information provided in the submitting engineer's design report, that the technology will not result in a threat to public health or the environment.

      (iv) The executive director or review authority may require the manufacturer or supplier to obtain and furnish evidence of an acceptable two-year performance bond from an approved surety which insures the performance of the innovative or nonconforming technology. The performance bond shall cover the cost of removal or abandonment of the innovative or nonconforming facility and equipment, replacement with previously agreed upon facilities or equipment, and all associated engineering fees necessary for the removal and replacement.

      (v) Approval of innovative and nonconforming technologies may include a condition which states that after some predetermined period of time after the installation and startup of the innovative or nonconforming technology, requiring an engineering report to be submitted after start-up, detailing the performance of the nonconforming or innovative technology. The engineering report shall include unbiased calculations and data supporting the technology's performance; and written submittals from the design engineer and permittee which state that the nonconforming or innovative technology has satisfied its manufacturer's claims.

    (C) Conditional approval. The executive director or review authority may grant approvals which contain detailed conditions, stipulations, or restrictions. Examples of such conditions and stipulations include, but are not limited to, testing requirements, reporting requirements, operational requirements, and additional installation and design requirements which may be necessary to ensure compliance with this chapter. Any conditional approval granted may be issued for a specific set of flow situations, wastewater characteristics, and/or required effluent quality. If a conditional approval is granted, both the sewage system owner and design engineer, as appropriate, shall be responsible for ensuring that the approval conditions outlined by the commission or review authority have been met.

  (5) Municipalities performing technical reviews of sanitary sewer collection systems under TWC, §26.034, within 90 days of the effective date of this rule and/or within 90 days of a boundaries change, shall submit maps to the agency's Wastewater Permits Section detailing the boundaries of the review authority. If a municipality decides to perform technical reviews of sanitary sewer collection systems after the effective date of this rule, the municipality shall submit maps detailing the boundaries of the review authority, within the 30 days before starting these reviews. If at any time a municipality, which has chosen to implement this review authority, decides to cease review of sanitary sewer collection system plans and specifications, the municipality shall notify the executive director within 30 days of the date on which the final plans and specifications review is expected to be performed. In order to meet the standards specified in TWC, §26.034, municipalities shall incorporate the items detailed in subparagraphs (A) - (E) of this paragraph into their review programs:

    (A) The municipality's review and approval process shall ensure compliance with the rules of this chapter.


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