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Why we regulate
Learn what types of wastewater discharges are regulated and how
Plan review
The DNR reviews plans for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plant construction
Discharge permits
Wastewater discharges to surface or groundwaters

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Contact information
For information contact:
Trevor Moen
Wastewater general permit program coordinator
608-266-3906

Wastewater general permits

The DNR is authorized under Section 283.35, Wis. Stats. [exit DNR], to issue WPDES general permits for specific categories of industrial, municipal and other wastewater discharges that are not a significant contributor of pollution. It is more efficient for the department to cover multiple facilities under a general permit rather than issuing individual permits for each facility when circumstances do not warrant site specific permit requirements or limitations.

Wastewater general permits are listed below, with links to the permits, fact sheets, requests for coverage (or NOIs), DMRs (if required) and other relevant documents. Visit Agribusiness and Storm water for general permits covering discharges from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and storm water runoff.

Ballast Water Discharge (WI-0063835-2-1)

Ballast Water Discharge

This permit is intended to cover the discharge of ballast water from vessels into Lake Michigan, Lake Superior or other waters where a vessel may transit located within the boundaries of Wisconsin and meeting the applicability criteria listed in this permit.

Carriage and Interstitial Water from Dredging Operations (WI-0046558-5)

Carriage and Interstitial Water from Dredging Operations

This permit is intended to cover dredging operations where carriage water or interstitial water from sediment dredging projects is discharged to surface waters or seepage systems.

Concrete Products Operations (WI-0046507-6)

Concrete Products Operations

This permit is intended to cover concrete products operations (excluding concrete asphalt) where washwater, boiler blowdown, non-contact cooling water and dust control wastewater are discharged to surface waters or seepage systems.

Contaminated Groundwater from Remedial Action Operations (WI-0046566-6)

Contaminated Groundwater from Remedial Action Operations

This permit covers wastewater from soil and groundwater remediation projects involving organic contaminants (primarily hydrocarbons and solvents) discharged to surface waters or seepage systems. The permit also contains requirements for infiltration discharges to enhance in-situ bioremediation.

Domestic Wastewater to a Subsurface Soil Absorption System (WI-0062901-2)

Domestic Wastewater to a Subsurface Soil Absorption System

This permit is intended to cover discharge of domestic wastewater into a subsurface soil absorption system. The facility may consist of a large Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (POWTS) that is approved by the Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Hydrostatic Test Water and Water Supply System Water (WI-0057681-4)

Hydrostatic Test Water and Water Supply System Water

This permit is intended to regulate discharges of hydrostatic test water and water supply system water to surface waters or seepage systems.

Land Application of By-Product Solids (WI-0057665-5)

Land Application of By-Product Solids

This permit is intended to cover discharges of by-product solids to land spreading sites. By- product solids are waste materials from the animal or food processing industry including, but not limited to: vegetable waste leaves, cuttings, peelings, husks and sweet corn cobs; animal paunch manure (stomach contents); and waste fruit and pits.

Land Application of Industrial Sludge (WI-0057657-5)

Land Application of Industrial Sludge

This permit is intended to cover the application of industrial sludges to landspreading sites regulated under ch. NR 214, Wis. Adm. Code. These sludges must not have detrimental effects on soils, crops or groundwater, and have beneficial properties as a soil conditioner or fertilizer. These sludges are typically from the treatment of food processing wastewaters.

Landspreading of Industrial Liquid Wastes (WI-0055867-7)

Landspreading of Industrial Liquid Wastes

This permit is intended to cover discharges of liquid wastes to landspreading sites from, but not limited to, food processing facilities (including fruit, vegetable, dairy products, meat, fish and poultry processing facilities), mink raising operations and aquaculture operations. The wastes will typically contain biodegradable pollutants with annual limitations on the application of nitrogen and chlorides.

Non-Contact Cooling Water, or Condensate and Boiler Blowdown (WI-0044938-6)

Non-Contact Cooling Water, or Condensate and Boiler Blowdown

This permit is intended to cover non-contact cooling water, air conditioning condensate, boiler blowdown and similar discharges free of toxic substances to Wisconsin surface waters or seepage systems. If you have questions regarding this general permit, please contact department wastewater staff at (608) 264-9244 or DNRNCCW@wisconsin.gov.

Nondomestic Wastewater to a Subsurface Absorption System (WI-0055611-6)

Nondomestic Wastewater to a Subsurface Absorption System

This permit is intended to cover discharges of liquid industrial wastes containing biodegradable pollutants discharged to subsurface absorption systems (septic tanks followed by subsurface drainfield systems). Typical wastewaters will come from, but not be limited to, food processing facilities (including fruit, vegetable, meat, fish and poultry processing facilities), mink raising operations and aquaculture operations.

Nonmetallic Mining Operations (WI-A046515-6 and WI-B046515-6)

Nonmetallic Mining Operations

These general permits cover construction sand, gravel, dimension stone, rotten granite, clay pit, crushed stone and industrial sand operations and processing where wash water, pit dewatering, dust control and non-contact cooling wastewaters are discharged to surface waters or groundwater. These general permits also contain storm water requirements in accordance with ch. NR 216, Wis. Adm. Code.

Outside Washing of Vehicles, Equipment and Other Objects (WI-0059153-3)

Outside Washing of Vehicles, Equipment and Other Objects

This permit is intended to cover a variety of facilities that wash equipment, vehicles and other objects outside and can not direct the wastewater to sanitary sewage facilities. Discharges from these washing operations typically contain contaminants (suspended solids and foam) that can be addressed by implementing Best Management Practices. Occasional residential and non-profit vehicle washing is exempt.

Pesticide Pollutant Discharges

Pesticide Pollutant Discharges

Four general permits authorize point source discharge of a biological pollutant, an excess chemical pollutant and a residual chemical pollutant directly into waters of the state. The pollutant discharge can result from control activities for the following types of organisms:

  • Aquatic Plants, Algae and Bacteria - WI0064556-1
  • Detrimental or Invasive Aquatic Animals - WI0064564-1
  • Forest Canopy Pests - WI0064572-1
  • Mosquitoes or Other Flying Insects - WI0064581-1

More information on the 4 general permits can be found at Wisconsin pest control pollutant discharge permits

Petroleum Contaminated Water (WI-0046531-5)

Petroleum Contaminated Water

This permit is intended to regulate petroleum contaminated water from fueling areas (auto, rail, airport, etc.) and petroleum storage tank farms discharged to surface waters or seepage systems.

Pit/Trench Dewatering (WI-0049344-4)

Pit/Trench Dewatering

This permit is intended to cover construction site pit and trench dewatering wastewater discharges to surface waters or seepage systems.

Potable Water Treatment and Conditioning (WI-0046540-5)

Potable Water Treatment and Conditioning

This permit is intended to cover iron filter, lime softener, alum coagulation, granular media filter and reverse osmosis facilities where backwash, regeneration and rinse water are discharged to surface waters or seepage systems.

Satellite Sewage Collection Systems (WI-0047341-5)

Satellite Sewage Collection Systems

This permit applies to municipal and non-municipal entities that own a sewage collection system that is tributary to a regional wastewater treatment facility that provides treatment. The permit includes reporting requirements for sanitary sewer overflows if they occur and a compliance maintenance annual report (CMAR). Sanitary sewer overflows are prohibited. Sewage collection system owners must implement a new requirement for a capacity, management, operation and maintenance program (CMOM).

Short Duration Discharge (WI-0059137-4)

Short Duration Discharge

This permit is intended to cover discharges that occur infrequently, are relatively short in duration (90 days or less) and do not represent an environmental concern. The discharge may be to a land application site or a discharge to a surface water.

Swimming Pool Facilities (WI-0046523-5)

Swimming Pool Facilities

This permit is intended to cover pool cleaning, pool drainage and pool filter backwash wastewaters that are discharged to surface waters or seepage.

Proposed reissuances (or other permit actions) for general permits that are available for public comment may be viewed at the WPDES public notices page.

How to apply

To obtain coverage under a general permit, a Request for Coverage (also referred to as a Notice of Intent) document shall be submitted to the department, as specified in s. NR 205.08(3), Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR]. The Requests for Coverage (or NOI) documents must be mailed to the department contact in the region of the proposed discharge location:

If the proposed discharge does not meet the eligibility criteria for a general permit, the owner or operator shall apply for an individual permit.

Online applications

Requests for Coverage (or NOIs) can also be submitted online at the water permit applications website. However, this option is currently limited to applicants for the Pit/Trench Dewatering and Pesticide Pollutant Discharge general permits. The online application system can be used with any internet browser and does not require any special software.

User support tools
Instructional training videos for using the online water permit application system

Note: Due to the EPA electronic reporting rule (effective December 2015), the DNR is in the process of developing and requiring electronic submissions of Requests for Coverage (or NOIs) using the online application system for all wastewater general permits. The department will notify permittees when this requirement is implemented and paper copies will no longer be accepted.

Permit costs

The DNR does not charge permit application fees or ch. NR 101, Wis. Adm. Code, fees for most wastewater general permits, with a few exceptions. The exceptions are the ballast water discharge general permit ($1,200 application fee and $345 annual fee) and a $100 annual fee for some land application general permits.

Delegation of signature authority

In accordance with s. NR 205.07(1)(g), Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR], permittees must provide a Delegation of Signature Authority (DSA) request form, or equivalent, for a duly authorized representative to submit specific documents on behalf of a responsible executive, officer, manager, partner, or proprietor of a permitted discharge. Signature authority can only be delegated to a duly authorized representative if that person has responsibility for the overall operation of the facility, or activity regulated by a general permit. The DSA request shall specify the name of the individual and their employment position. The DSA request must be submitted to the department with a Request for Coverage (or NOI) document. A new DSA request shall be submitted to the department for any changes.

Form Form # Date
Delegation of Signature Authority (DSA) WPDES General Permit Discharge Form 3400-220 [PDF] 02/2017

Permit coverage

Authorization to discharge pollutants to waters of the state under a WPDES general permit is granted by the DNR via a letter of determination, as defined in s. NR 205.08(3), Wis. Adm. Code. This determination process allows department staff to evaluate the potential of the discharge to produce the expected typical pollutants and evaluate the discharge location to insure water quality standards will be met.

If you do not have a letter from the DNR granting coverage for a discharge to waters of the state under an applicable general permit, you must contact the department prior to discharge. Failure to obtain coverage under a WPDES permit for discharges may be a violation of state law and you could be prosecuted.

Coverage under a general permit is effective upon the date specified in the department coverage letter. If a general permit is expired, the terms and conditions of the general permit shall continue to apply for the wastewater discharge until that general permit is reissued or revoked, or until an individual permit is issued for the discharge to which the general permit applied as provided in s. NR 205.08(9), Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR].

Permit coverage transfers

A permittee who will no longer control the permitted discharge may request that general permit coverage be transferred to the person who will control the discharge, as specified in s. NR 203.136(1)(p), Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR]. A Transfer of Coverage request form, or equivalent, shall be completed including the 'Certification & Signature' section by both the permittee (transferor) and the proposed permittee (transferee), and mailed to the department. The department will then send a letter to the previous permittee stating that their coverage under the general permit is terminated. If nothing has changed in activities associated with the discharge at the facility, the department will send a letter of determination that grants coverage and approval to the proposed new permittee. If there have been significant changes at the facility, the new permittee should submit a Request for Coverage (or NOI) document to the department.

Form Form # Date
Transfer of Coverage (TOC) WPDES General Permit Discharge Form 3400-222 [PDF] 03/2017

Permit coverage termination

If a permittee no longer requires coverage under any general permit, the permittee must request that their coverage be terminated, in accordance with s. NR 203.136(3)(d), Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR]. Notice of Termination request forms, or equivalent, must be completed by the permittee including the 'Certification & Signature' section and mailed to the department. The department will then send a letter to the permittee stating that their coverage is terminated under the general permit.

Form Form # Date
Notice of Termination (NOT) WPDES General Permit Discharge Form 3400-221 [PDF] 03/2017

Submittal of discharge monitoring reports

If specified in the general permit, the permittee shall submit discharge monitoring reports (DMRs) to the department no later than the date indicated on the DMR form. The DMR must be submitted to the department regional office identified on the letter granting coverage under the applicable general permit. (The regional contacts can also be found in the "How to Apply" section. The DMR must summarize the monitoring information and show all the required sample results for the general permit discharge. Failure to submit a complete DMR may result in a violation of the general permit conditions.

Note: Due to the EPA electronic reporting rule (effective December 2015), the DNR is in the process of requiring monitoring results to be reported on an electronic Discharge Monitoring Report (eDMR) for all wastewater general permits, using the online e-reporting system. The department will notify permittees when this requirement is implemented and paper copies will no longer be accepted.

Last revised: Tuesday November 07 2017