• Clean Water Fund Program: MEG was successful in lobbying the Joint Finance Committee to unanimously approve an increase in the State interest rate study to 45%.  MEDG continues to advocate for this increase to pass the full Legislature.
  • Pending DNR Rules: Several rules are in the “scoping stage of rulemaking.” These rules include several packages designed to address issues raised by EPA. MEG will be commenting on these rules when an economic impact analysis is provided and when they are authorized for public hearing.

The rules currently pending are the following: 

Waterbody Assessments and Impaired Waters Listing, Biological Criteria, and Biological Confirmation of Phosphorus Impairments (NR 102).  This rule revision would codify biological metrics to directly assess the health of waterbodies exceeding phosphorus criteria.  We will continue to participate in an advisory committee with respect to development of this rule change.

Surface Water Designated Uses (NR 102, 104 and 105).  These rule changes update designated use categories and associated water quality criteria to reflect current science.  They will include new procedures for designating and updating uses for individual waterbodies.  The majority of revisions will likely cover the Fish and Aquatic Life subcategories and their associated water quality criteria which affect permit effluent limits.  We will continue to participate in an advisory committee to evaluate proposed rule language.

Revisions to Laboratory Registration and Certification (NR 149).  This rule relates to laboratory certification and registration.  The proposed changes will include removing the “cap” from the current fee structure, reverting to LOQ = 10/3 LOD model, and refocusing quality control to ensure that only issues within a lab’s control will affect a batch of samples.  We submitted comments on this issue on July 12, 2017.  You can find those comments on this website under the newsletter or above.

Calculation of Technology Based Limits (NR 106, 200, 205, 210, and 220-296).  This rule package was designed to address the 2011 EPA letter and includes issues such as: technology based limits, new source performance standards, expression of limits in permits, mass limits in permits, general reasonable potential procedures, pollutants in the intake for technology based limits, best management practices in permits, general compliance schedules provisions, permit application requirements for industrial dischargers and intake requirements for new facilities under CWA 316(b). DNR held public hearings on this rule package on February 6 and 7, 2017 and will be requesting adoption at the August 9 NRB meeting.  We do not anticpate significant impacts on MEG members.

Stormwater Discharge Permits (NR 216).  The purpose of this rule package is to revise ch. NR 216 to address the transfer of regulating construction sites from the Department of Commerce to the DNR as directed by 2009 Act 28, adjust permit fees, clarify language and address issues such as antidegradation, impaired waters, TMDLs, and discharges to outstanding and exceptional resource waters.  The scoping statement is from 2010 and is significantly out of date.

Bacteria Standard (NR 102, 104, 219).  The rule revisions would change the recreational criteria from fecal coliform to E. coli, in order to bring Wisconsin law in line with EPA recommendations published in 2012.  The Natural Resources Board approved the statement of scope for this proposed rule revision on January 27, 2016.  DNR is currently proposing to hold two public hearings in December 2016.  We are still evaluating whether Recommendation 1, which sets the numeric concentration threshold at 126 geometric mean for E. coli, is roughly equivalent to the current 400 geometric mean applied to the fecal coliform standard.  We appreciate your continued feedback on this issue and will continue to monitor development on rule language.

Site Specific Numeric Water Quality Criteria for Phosphorus (ch. NR 119)  The DNR is proposing to specify methodology and procedures to derive site-specific numeric phosphorus criteria. This will provide for a simplified process for facilities that have determined that they may be eligible for a site-specific criterion. Currently, the process requires a rule change for each site-specific criterion which is a significant undertaking and takes two to three years to finalize.  We will continue to participate in DNR’s advisory committee regarding development of this rule change.