Satellite system management agencies.
(1) The secretary shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 34.05 RCW establishing criteria for designating individuals or water purveyors as qualified satellite system management agencies. The criteria shall set forth minimum standards for designation as a satellite system management agency qualified to assume ownership, operation, or both, of an existing or proposed public water system. The criteria shall include demonstration of financial integrity and operational capability, and may require demonstration of previous experience in successful operation and management of a public water system.
(2) Each county shall identify potential satellite system management agencies to the secretary for areas where: (a) No purveyor has been designated a future service area pursuant to this chapter, or (b) an existing purveyor is unable or unwilling to provide service. Preference shall be given to public utilities or utility districts or to investor-owned utilities under the jurisdiction of the utilities and transportation commission.
(3) The secretary shall approve satellite system management agencies meeting the established criteria and shall maintain and make available to counties a list of approved agencies. Prior to the construction of a new public water system, the individual(s) proposing the new system or requesting service shall first be directed by the local agency responsible for issuing the construction or building permit to one or more qualified satellite system management agencies designated for the service area where the new system is proposed for the purpose of exploring the possibility of a satellite agency either owning or operating the proposed new water system.
(4) Approved satellite system management agencies shall be reviewed periodically by the secretary for continued compliance with established criteria. The secretary may require status reports and other information necessary for such review. Satellite system management agencies shall be subject to reapproval at the discretion of the secretary but not less than once every five years.
(5) The secretary may assess reasonable fees to process applications for initial approval and for periodic review of satellite system management agencies. A satellite system management account is hereby created in the custody of the state treasurer. All receipts from satellite system management agencies or applicants under subsection (4) of this section shall be deposited into the account. Funds in this account may be used only for administration of the satellite system management program. Expenditures from the account shall be authorized by the secretary or the secretary's designee. The account is subject to allotment procedures under chapter 43.88 RCW, but no appropriation is required for expenditures.
(6) For purposes of this section, "satellite system management agency" and "satellite agency" shall mean a person or entity that is certified by the secretary to own or operate more than one public water system on a regional or countywide basis, without the necessity for a physical connection between such systems.
[1991 c 18 § 1.]