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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 WPDES permit applications, contact:
Mary Ryan
Wastewater Specialist
Water Quality Bureau
608-267-7635

Applying for a WPDES permit

Application procedures for WPDES permits to discharge wastewater vary by the type of permit.

General permits

General permits are used to cover groups of facilities that generate wastewater from relatively simple operations having similar types and amounts of pollutants.

If you intend to apply for a new permit, first check to see if you can qualify for coverage under one of the general permits. You may need an individual pemit if you do not find a category that fits your wastewater type, or you do not meet the eligibility requirements.

Individual WPDES permit applications

Individual WPDES permits are issued to specific municipal or industrial facilities that:

  • generate wastewater from unique types of activities;
  • have complex mixtures of pollutants; and or
  • employ significant biological or physical/chemical treatment systems.

To apply for a new individual permit - Contact the appropriate WPDES permits staff based upon the location of the proposed discharge or industry type for guidance and specific instructions for applying for new permits. Complete the New WPDES Permit Pre-application Worksheet (10KB, PDF) and mail it to the appropriate DNR permits staff.

Applicants applying for new individual permits need to complete and submit a permit application far enough in advance so the Department has time to process the application and issue the permit prior to the time discharge will commence. Maximum time deadlines for Department action on applications are specified in s. NR 200.10, Wisconsin Administrative Code. This maximum time period approximates 6 months after the agency receives a complete application.

Applicants should also know that plans for any wastewater treatment system require Department approval (up to 90 days) prior to construction. The time periods for Department action on plan submittals may, in some cases, run concurrently with the permit processing time. The same Department contacts can provide more specific advice on plan approval requirements.

To apply for reissuance of an existing individual permit - A completed application must be filed with the DNR no later than 180 days prior to your current permit’s expiration date. (As specified in s. NR 200.06, Wis. Adm. Code). Prior to the expiration of your existing permit, the DNR will notify you that you need to apply for reissuance of your individual permit. The Department requires that you apply for reissuance of your permit using the DNR’s web-based electronic permit application eApplication.

Permit modification - Contact the appropriate WPDES permits staff to request a modification of your existing individual permit. Examples of significant permit modifications are to add a new outfall or include process changes.

Change in ownership - Complete and submit the Stipulation of Permit Acceptance (13KB, PDF) form to apply for a change in ownership with no other changes. The change will require only a minor modification of your permit.

Other types of permit applications

Last revised: Thursday December 29 2016