The City of Holland agrees with the City of Wyoming's last two comments on this bill:
The City of Holland owns and operates a 12 MGD wastewater treatment facility that is permitted to discharge into Lake Macatawa through an NPDES permit. The City supports the concepts contained within House Bill 6307 that are intended to control mercury discharges from dental offices through the use of mercury amalgam separators and best management practices. In fact, we have a very successful Mercury Minimization Program in place which has reduced mercury in influent to our plant by 68% over the past 5 years. However, some provisions of the Bill create significant conflicts with existing Federal and State laws that regulate the City’s Industrial Pretreatment Program (IPP).
We believe the Bill as amended continues to put the City of Holland in conflict with the Federal law (40 CFR Part 403.8). That Federal law requires the City to have the legal authority to control the discharge of wastewater from users of the sewer system. The City currently complies with the Federal requirement by having a local ordinance that authorizes us to issue permits with a “not to exceed” concentration of a pollutant listed in the permit. If the dental facility, or any facility for that matter, cannot comply with the numeric mercury limit listed in their permit then additional steps must be taken.
Area dental offices remain the users to most frequently exceed the numeric limit for mercury in their wastewater. The original proposed bill and this amended bill will place a constraint on the City in that we can only require dentists to install amalgam separators without regard for numeric limits. What happens in the case where a dentist installs a separator but still remains above the numeric limit? If this proposal becomes law, we would be prohibited from requiring any additional steps and hence, would not have the legal authority to control the levels of mercury being discharged by a dental facility as required by Federal law.
The proposed amendment also allows a local government to require dentists to install amalgam separators between now and December 31, 2013. Again, as stated above, we place numeric limits that may require dentists to install traps, separators and isolation tanks in order to comply with the limit. It is up to the dentist to decide what is needed and how to comply. We already have 15 dentists that have gone beyond the amalgam separator stage and have opted for isolation tanks. Will these dentists be in compliance with this proposed law or will they be required to decommission the technology they have opted to install to achieve compliance?
We support Tom Kent's suggestion that following language be included in the bill such as:
“Not withstanding subsection (5), this section shall not affect any ordinance, regulation or resolution enacted, adopted, maintained or enforced by a local unit of government that complies with the following:
(a) Federal law (40 CFR Part 403)”
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with our legislators.