H 1099, the bill setting a Jan. 15, 2011 deadline for Falls Lake's cleanup plan, passed the state Senate Wednesday.
Now, the bill goes to a Senate-House conference to reconcile the Senate's version with an earlier version the House passed in May.
The house bill set the deadline at July 1, 2010 for the state Division of Water Quality to prepare a "nutrient management strategy" to curb nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the lake. DWQ had asked for a November 2011 deadline to allow more time for the complex research, modeling and rule-making process.
Once those regulations are written, they must be approved by the state Environmental Management Commission and Rules Review Commission and, possibly, the legislature. That process would take about six months and possibly more than a year.
The Senate version gives DWQ six and a half more months to prepare its regulations, but also provides that those regulations would take temporary effect as soon as they are presented to the EMC in January, according to DWQ engineer John Huisman. They would be rescinded and replaced by the permanent rules when the permanent rules receive the necessary approvals and any revisions.
The bill up for a vote today also incorporates four sedimentation-control measures for the Falls watershed that are outside the nutrient-reduction plan's scope, and would take effect Jan. 1 of this year.