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Contact information
For information about the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program, contact:
Small Business Hotline
Toll free: 855-889-3021
DNRSmallBusiness@wisconsin.gov

Complying with the regulations

Environmental regulations established by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) all have procedures by which a business has to demonstrate to the agencies that it meets each of the requirements. When DNR or USEPA perform an inspection or request records and find that you are not in compliance with any particular requirement, you can be found in violation and can face an enforcement action by one or both agencies. The following fact sheets and tools are intended to help you comply with the requirements.

General

General

The SBEAP staff provide a basic level of expertise with environmental regulations. We partner with other programs and organizations that have additional expertise in environmental regulation and pollution prevention. The links provided below will take you to other web sites with information or contacts that may help you understand environmental regulations or help you find ways to reduce emissions and improve your environmental performance overall. In addition, there are resources to help you minimize your liability by conducting audits of environmental requirements. Also provided are some listings for funding opportunities.

Environmental, health and safety assistance providers
Environmental assessments, audit policies and consulting resources

There are programs available that may help to limit your liability if you conduct an audit and find issues that do not comply with environmental regulations; you may want to review DNR's and EPA's compliance audit policies to see if you are eligible first. Unfortunately, assistance with environmental audits and other compliance services are usually NOT available as a free resource. Sometimes you need to hire a professional to focus on your individual business needs. The SBEAP has provided a list of environmental consultants with offices in Wisconsin, but the program has not evaluated any claims regarding their ability to provide the listed services.

National compliance assistance resources

There are many compliance assistance links available from federal as well as other state and local sources. We will attempt to provide as many as seem useful to small businesses.

National industry sector-based resources

The EPA's sector pages [exit DNR] site has assistance and resources for the following sectors.

The EPA’s Safer Choice [exit DNR] site has publications for a variety of industries.

Air

The following are some resources to help you manage air pollution requirements.

  • A source that has been issued an Air Pollution Operation Permit and is required to report air pollution emissions annually, will have to submit two different certifications. To learn more about the two requirements, read Annual Reports and Certifications Required for Air Permits and the Air Emissions Inventory (AM-529) [PDF].
  • Air Permit Compliance Calendar [PDF] — This tool from Wisconsin’s Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP) can serve multiple purposes for a facility that needs to comply with an air permit, show it is exempt from permitting, track compliance with regulations that apply outside of a permit or just maintain reminders about certain due dates like annual reporting for the air emissions inventory. Keep this calendar on file for five years and it can serve as your official record!
  • How to Use Your SDS for Air Pollution Requirements (SB-112) [PDF] - Calculations needed for demonstrating compliance with certain air pollution control requirements that apply to your facility will usually involve use of a Safety Data Sheet (SDS). This fact sheet explains what information you really need to find on the SDS and how to use it.

Whether you need a permit or not — be prepared

  • Recordkeeping: What’s Involved and Why It’s Important (SB-118) [PDF] — Do you need to maintain records even when you don’t need a permit? Yes. Find out what you need to do by reading this fact sheet.
  • Monthly VOC emissions records and calculations [XLS] — A spreadsheet you can use to enter monthly paint/coating/solvent use and calculate monthly emissions, and if needed calculate a 12-month rolling average of VOCs.
  • A DNR Air Program Inspector is Coming... What Can I Expect? (SB-120) [PDF] — A fact sheet describing the things you might expect during an inspection and some items you should be prepared with upon the arrival of the inspector.
  • Dust, Smoke and Fumes — Particulate Matter Emissions (SB-111) [PDF] — This fact sheet summarizes the air pollution requirements for those sources with particulate matter emissions and discusses some of the ways to reduce those emissions as well.
  • Controlling Odors (SB-110) [PDF] — A fact sheet summarizes the requirements that no business may allow emissions from their business that create an objectionable odor off their property. There are a couple ways DNR may determine if an odor is objectionable and some suggestions for how to avoid or control odors.
  • Stack Testing Requirements (SB-119) [PDF] — The DNR may require you to perform emissions testing at your exhaust stacks at any time. Testing may be required after receiving a construction permit, if a new regulation applies to a process, or to confirm emissions factors used to calculate your emissions. It's best to know all the elements summarized in this fact sheet because you do not want to repeat any testing due to misunderstanding the process.
    • If you are required to perform stack testing by an air pollution permit, there are a number of resources you can try for stack testing firms. The first one is the yellow pages. There is also a state-by-state listing online at ActiveSET.org [exit DNR]. The DNR's Air Program maintains a list of stack test facilities in the Wisconsin area. Contact Andy Seeber at 608-267-0563 for a copy.
    • Or you can check Clean Air Consultants (SB-004) [PDF]. We recently asked those on the list to update the services they have available, whether they be permits, emissions testing, etc. (SBEAP has not reviewed the firms on this list, and their inclusion does not imply any endorsement. The information is provided for your assistance.) We also have a fact sheet on Tips for Hiring an Environmental Consultant (SB-005) [PDF], which gives information about the questions to ask when hiring an outside consulting firm.

Waste

This section will provide compliance resources for demolition/renovation, hazardous waste, and solid waste requirements.

  • The waste program has created many fact sheets and guidance documents on a range of topics. You can search on a particular topic or program-wide resources: Waste & Materials Management Program Guidance and Publications
  • Reading the rules is an important step in complying with the parts of the waste requirements that may apply to your business. DNR has provided a list of direct links to the different waste rule chapters here: solid and hazardous waste codes and statutes
  • In order to keep up with new or changing rules, DNR Waste programs provide newsletters from many of their topic areas. Go to the main managing waste and materials page and look for the Subscribe box on the right side of the page.
  • The first step in complying with the waste requirements is for each business to identify their wastes and determine whether it is a hazardous waste. The fact sheet Is Your Waste Hazardous? (WA-1152) [PDF] describes the four step process to help you determine if your waste is hazardous waste. This determination should be updated periodically, as processes or materials change.

Demolition/construction/renovation wastes

Hazardous waste

Solid waste

Water discharge

This section provides compliance resources for both wastewater discharge and storm water runoff/discharge requirements.

Wastewater

  • DNR has many of the wastewater permit application systems available electronically, or if not fully electronic there are PDF fillable forms available on the water permit application page.
  • In case you need help getting started with the electronic application process there are instructional videos available.
  • There is a long list of guidance documents available on the wastewater discharge requirements.
  • If you need help understanding the water data reporting system, go to the eReporting page.
  • For information on industrial pretreatment system requirements and guidance on the permitting process, go to the construction of industrial wastewater pretreatment systems page.
  • DNR has a page specific to all of the industrial and municipal wastewater general discharge permits that are available, including fact sheets that describe the permit and application forms. Review the fact sheet if you have questions on a particular general permit or contact the wastewater permit specialist listed on the page.

Storm water runoff

Drinking water

Both the DNR and USEPA provide a range of resources to help small public drinking water sources manage their systems.

Public water systems

It is important to first know whether you have a public or private water system. All but the smallest businesses will likely be defined as a public water system, even if members of the public do not enter your facility, because of the number of employees that may access your water supply. Businesses that might be a small public water system are those with 25 employees for at least six months of the year. Or in DNR's terms, a Non-transient, Non-community (NN) water system. If your business fits that description, here are some resources to help you comply with state and federal rules.

Other resources available from outside DNR:

Water quality data

Whether you own a water system or use one at your business, you may want to check on the water quality data available on your system or neighboring systems.

Beyond compliance

Pollution prevention (P2)

  • The DNR has staff organized by industry sectors, called business sector specialists, that are available to work with specific industries on any environmental issue that they may encounter.
  • Cascade Asset Management [exit DNR] provides an asset management program for businesses or institutions in the Madison and southeast Wisconsin area that need assistance in managing their electronic equipment. While Cascade does charge a fee for processing the equipment, they also provide a rebate to you from the recycling or reuse value of the equipment. They will also pick up the equipment you wish to recycle for a fee. For a list of all their fees and services, you can contact Cascade Asset Management at 1-888-222-8399.
  • If you need to find a place to recycle some of your wastes, you can search the Recycling Markets Directory [exit DNR], which is managed by the UW Extension Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center.

Improve your environmental performance

Last revised: Monday July 10 2017