26.08.10.08

.08 Public Notification.

A. Unless advised by the Maryland Department of Health, local health department, or environmental health director on a case by case basis that public notification is not necessary, the owner or operator shall notify the public as soon as practicable, but not later than 24 hours after the time that the owner or operator becomes aware of the event, about:

(1) Any overflow that enters:

(a) Shellfish harvesting waters;

(b) Waters protected as drinking water sources;

(c) Waters used as public bathing beaches where people may swim; or

(d) Waters used for public recreation where people may boat, fish, or swim; and

(2) Any situation where the Maryland Department of Health, local health department, or environmental health director has reason to believe is a public health risk.

B. Public notification shall be made as soon as practicable, but not later than 24 hours after the time that the owner or operator becomes aware of the event and shall be made:

(1) By a public service announcement or paid advertising in a daily newspaper, radio station, or television station serving the immediate area where the overflow occurred and any other areas where the overflow is likely to have an adverse impact; and

(2) By posting affected areas, if the Maryland Department of Health, local health department, environmental health director, or a designee determines that:

(a) There is an immediate threat of human contact with contaminated water or ground where the overflow occurred;

(b) The size and flow rate of the water body into which the discharge entered are such that the discharge constitutes a significant portion of the flow;

(c) The potential for dilution and dispersal of the overflow into the receiving waters is minimal due to the season of the year, the period of time of the actual discharge, or the receiving water already being listed as impaired due to nonattainment of State bacteriological water quality standards; or

(d) The concentration of the effluent increases the risk to public health.

C. In addition to the public notification requirement based on the criteria in §B(1) of this regulation, if the overflow's total volume at the time of completed repair as measured or estimated using best professional judgment is 10,000 gallons or more, the owner or operator shall notify the public by:

(1) A public service announcement or paid advertising in a daily newspaper, radio station, or television station serving the immediate area where the overflow occurred and any other areas where the overflow is likely to have an adverse impact; and

(2) Posting affected areas, unless advised by the Maryland Department of Health, local health department, or environmental health director that public notification is not necessary.

D. The public advisory shall remain in effect until the Maryland Department of Health, local health department, environmental health director, or a designee determines that sampling data for the receiving water shows return to normal or prior background levels.

E. If the overflow's total volume at the time of completed repair as measured or estimated using best professional judgment is less than 10,000 gallons, and the Maryland Department of Health, local health department, environmental health director, or their designee determines that none of the factors listed in §B(1) and (2) of this regulation apply, the general public notification may be in the form of information provided in quarterly or annual reports, reports of incidents included with water bills, or information about incidents available on a web site in conjunction with a written notification. The information shall:

(1) State that due to various causes, such as accidents and equipment failures, the specific sewer system experienced occasional sewage overflows;

(2) State the time period being reported;

(3) State the number of overflows that occurred;

(4) State the total number of gallons released;

(5) Advise the public in areas that are posted to avoid contact with the water or other water contact activities; and

(6) Advise that for larger overflows with potential environmental or human health impacts the public is notified through the media and, if appropriate, by posting signs.

F. Any public notification shall state:

(1) The approximate number of gallons of overflow;

(2) When the overflow occurred;

(3) Where the overflow occurred;

(4) The name of the receiving water;

(5) That swimming or other direct contact should be avoided in the receiving water from a specific point upstream to a specific point downstream until a specific date that is to be determined by the Maryland Department of Health, local health department, or environmental health director; and

(6) A telephone number for additional information.