There shall be a special review committee, pursuant to section 2A of chapter 4 of the General Laws, to investigate and study the use and sale of effluent water in cooling towers, hereinafter referred to as the committee. The committee shall consist of 9 members: 2 members of the house of representatives, 1 of whom shall be the house chair of the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture; 2 members of the senate, 1 of whom shall be the senate chair of the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture; 1 member to be appointed by the Attorney General, who shall have a special focus in consumer protection; and 4 members to be appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a certified wastewater treatment plant operator and member of New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, 1 of whom shall be a professor from an institution of higher learning with expertise in the area of environmental science, 1 of whom shall be nominated by the commissioner of environmental protection and shall have extensive knowledge of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permitting process, and 1 of whom shall be nominated by the Taunton River Watershed Alliance. If a vacancy occurs, a new member representing the same agency or group shall be appointed.
The committee shall hold at least 1 public meeting that provides an overview of the potential environmental risks and values, potential health risks, and cost benchmarking for expanded use of effluent that is vaporized in cooling towers.
The committee shall have the following responsibilities: (1) to compile data on the current, proposed, and potential uses of effluent water in cooling towers; (2) to identify instances where the use of effluent water in cooling towers could negatively impacts public health, environment, reliable wastewater treatment and the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit or renewal process; and (3) to ensure that treatment guidelines and associated costs for the returned wastewater, which is not evaporated by the cooling tower, are adequate and the costs of expanded treatment of wastewater from cooling towers properly reflect the interests of municipal sewerage rate payers.
No later than 13 months after the date of its first meeting, the committee shall submit a report, together with drafts of legislation or regulations necessary to carry out its recommendations, to the governor, speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate and the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, which shall include a summary of its findings and all relevant information relied up by the committee.
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