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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
Contact information
For information on ballast water permits, contact:
DNRWisconsinBallastWater@wisconsin.gov
Susan Eichelkraut
Lake Michigan
414-263-8682
Michael Goettel
Lake Superior
715-392-0805

Ballast water general permit process

Oceangoing vessels and Great Lakes vessels required to obtain the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Vessel General Permit (VGP), that operate within waters of the State of Wisconsin, and which weigh 300 gross tons or more, or have a ballast tank capacity of at least 2113 gallons (8 cubic meters) and are 79 feet (24.1 meters) in length or more, shall obtain coverage under Wisconsin Pollution Discharge Elimination System Ballast Water General Permit WI-0063835-2-1 prior to operating in Wisconsin water. The Wisconsin Ballast Water General 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 within the boundaries of Wisconsin. Information regarding the permit application process, annual renewal, termination process and contact information is provided below.

Permit application process

The following steps must be taken to obtain coverage for ballast water discharges under the general permit for each vessel planning on operating in Wisconsin's portion of either Lake Superior or Lake Michigan.

  1. Complete an electronic Notice of Intent (eNOI) and obtain a PDF file of the eNOI through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) eNOI website [exit DNR]
    Note: A copy of an eNOI previously submitted through the EPA website can be found at EPA Vessels Search [exit DNR].
  2. Submit a PDF file of the eNOI and a written request for permit coverage to the Wisconsin DNR for each vessel operating in Wisconsin waters, to the following email address:
    DNRWisconsinBallastWater@wisconsin.gov
  3. Download a copy of the Ballast Water General Permit WI-0063835-2-1 [PDF].
    Once downloaded, the ship master and crew should read it carefully and become familiar with its requirements. A copy must be kept onboard the vessel at all times.
  4. After submittal of a vessel's eNOI to the DNR, and downloading of the permit, the vessel is allowed to operate in Wisconsin provided it complies with all permit conditions.
    Note: Without submission of the EPA eNOI to the DNR you are not authorized under the permit to operate your vessel in Wisconsin waters.
  5. Within approximately 30 days after submittal of the eNOI to the DNR, your vessel will receive a letter conferring permit coverage under Wisconsin Ballast Water General Permit (WI-0063835-2-1) along with an invoice for associated permit fees.
    • Application fee $1,200.00 (US dollar) –┬ápermit coverage is authorized for a period of 5 years from the date of permit coverage indicated on DNR letter (as long as the annual fees are also paid) and┬ámust be reapplied for every 5 years.
    • Annual administrative fee $345.00 (US dollar) – collected each calendar year a vessel holds an active Wisconsin ballast water permit.

      Note: Refunds are not available on any fees once paid.

Annual administrative fee process

Each calendar year the DNR will send invoices to vessels with active permits. Typically you will have 60 days to pay this fee in order to keep your ballast water permit active. All information on how to complete the billing transaction will be included with your invoice. Note: The annual administrative fee applies even if you do not operate your vessel in Wisconsin waters during a given calendar year while a vessel possesses an active permit.

Invoices have typically been sent near the end of a calendar year but this has been variable due to programmatic and legislative dynamics. The department hopes to begin collection of annual administrative fees earlier in the calendar year on a more consistent schedule and will try to keep you updated on the progression of this timing.

Some important considerations regarding fees

  • Please provide us with up to date information for vessel or company contact information and billing details (especially for a vessel under a leasing agreement) if circumstances have changed since your last correspondence with the DNR.
  • Permit fees paid by wire have often been short by bank transaction fees, or are in currencies other than US dollars, and these payments cannot be accepted. Please be sure invoice amounts are paid in full to avoid delays.

Permit renewal

Permit coverage for a vessel expires after five years and it is necessary to re-acquire that permit coverage to continue operations in Wisconsin waters. Permit renewals are acquired by following the same steps as permit applications. Please be sure to reapply within approximately 60 days prior to your permit termination date (termination date is five years from the authorization date on your most recent permit conveyance letter).

Permit termination

If you decide you no longer need a Wisconsin Ballast Water General Permit you may relinquish it by simply submitting one of two forms to DNRWisconsinBallastWater@wisconsin.gov:

Upon receipt of a termination notice your permit coverage will be rescinded and you will have to reapply for a permit if you decide to return to Wisconsin waters. Please note that refunds are not available on any fees once paid.

Contact information
The following email address is the primary point of contact with the DNR for ballast water discharges and is monitored by multiple staff. Please include this address in any e-correspondence or invoice, permitting and policy questions:
DNRWisconsinBallastWater@wisconsin.gov
In addition to the above email address you are encouraged to simultaneously contact one of the ballast water inspectors to assist you in acquiring necessary documents or information for ballast water operations in Wisconsin waters.
Lake Michigan ballast water inspector
Susan Eichelkraut
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
2300 N Dr MLK Jr Dr
Milwaukee WI 53212
Susan.Eichelkraut@wisconsin.gov
414-263-8682
Lake Superior ballast water inspector
Michael Goettel
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
1701 N 4th St
Superior WI 54880
Michael.Goettel@wisconsin.gov
715-392-0805
Last revised: Wednesday September 13 2017