70.119A.030  <<  70.119A.040 >>   70.119A.050

RCW 70.119A.040

Additional or alternative penalty—Informal resolution unless a public health emergency.

(1)(a) In addition to or as an alternative to any other penalty or action allowed by law, a person who violates a law or rule regulating public water systems and administered by the department of health is subject to a penalty of not more than five thousand dollars per day for every such violation, or, in the case of a violation that has been determined to be a public health emergency, a penalty of not more than ten thousand dollars per day for every such violation. Every such violation shall be a separate and distinct offense. The amount of fine shall reflect the health significance of the violation and the previous record of compliance on the part of the public water supplier. In case of continuing violation, every day's continuance shall be a separate and distinct violation.
(b) In addition, a person who constructs, modifies, or expands a public water system or who commences the construction, modification, or expansion of a public water system without first obtaining the required departmental approval is subject to penalties of not more than five thousand dollars per service connection, or, in the case of a system serving a transient population, a penalty of not more than four hundred dollars per person based on the highest average daily population the system serves or is anticipated to serve may be imposed. The total penalty that may be imposed pursuant to this subsection (1)(b) is five hundred thousand dollars. For the purpose of computing the penalty under this subsection, a service connection shall include any new service connection actually constructed, any anticipated service connection the system has been designed to serve, and, in the case of a system modification not involving expansions, each existing service connection that benefits or would benefit from the modification.
(c) Every person who, through an act of commission or omission, procures, aids, or abets a violation is considered to have violated the provisions of this section and is subject to the penalty provided in this section.
(2) The penalty provided for in this section shall be imposed by a notice in writing to the person against whom the civil penalty is assessed and shall describe the violation. The notice shall be personally served in the manner of service of a summons in a civil action or in a manner that shows proof of receipt. A penalty imposed by this section is due twenty-eight days after receipt of notice unless application for an adjudicative proceeding is filed as provided in subsection (3) of this section.
(3) Within twenty-eight days after notice is received, the person incurring the penalty may file an application for an adjudicative proceeding and may pursue subsequent review as provided in chapter 34.05 RCW and applicable rules of the department or board of health.
(4) A penalty imposed by a final administrative order is due upon service of the final administrative order. A person who fails to pay a penalty assessed by a final administrative order within thirty days of service of the final administrative order shall pay, in addition to the amount of the penalty, interest at the rate of one percent of the unpaid balance of the assessed penalty for each month or part of a month that the penalty remains unpaid, commencing with the month in which the notice of penalty was served and such reasonable attorney's fees as are incurred in securing the final administrative order.
(5) A person who institutes proceedings for judicial review of a final administrative order assessing a civil penalty under this chapter shall place the full amount of the penalty in an interest bearing account in the registry of the reviewing court. At the conclusion of the proceeding the court shall, as appropriate, enter a judgment on behalf of the department and order that the judgment be satisfied to the extent possible from moneys paid into the registry of the court or shall enter a judgment in favor of the person appealing the penalty assessment and order return of the moneys paid into the registry of the court together with accrued interest to the person appealing. The judgment may award reasonable attorney's fees for the cost of the attorney general's office in representing the department.
(6) If no appeal is taken from a final administrative order assessing a civil penalty under this chapter, the department may file a certified copy of the final administrative order with the clerk of the superior court in which the public water system is located or in Thurston county, and the clerk shall enter judgment in the name of the department and in the amount of the penalty assessed in the final administrative order.
(7) A judgment entered under subsection (5) or (6) of this section shall have the same force and effect as, and is subject to all of the provisions of law relating to, a judgment in a civil action, and may be enforced in the same manner as any other judgment of the court in which it is entered.
(8) All penalties imposed under this section shall be payable to the state treasury and credited to the safe drinking water account, and shall be used by the department to provide training and technical assistance to system owners and operators.
(9) Except in cases of public health emergencies, the department may not impose monetary penalties under this section unless a prior effort has been made to resolve the violation informally.
NOTES:
Findings1995 c 376: See note following RCW 70.116.060.
FindingsSeverability1990 c 133: See notes following RCW 36.94.140.
Effective date1989 c 175: See note following RCW 34.05.010.
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