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NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 708 days

Public invited to comment on priorities for water quality standards

Contact(s): Marcia Willhite, 608-266-7425,
August 28, 2018

Comment period open until Oct. 5, 2018

MADISON - Where should state environmental officials focus efforts to protect surface water quality in Wisconsin over the next three years?

State officials are seeking public comment on a draft list of five water quality standards topics proposed as priorities for protecting Wisconsin's lakes and rivers. Specifically, these priorities relate to the protection of public health, recreation, fish and other aquatic communities within the state's waterbodies.

This prioritization process, which occurs every three years, is called the triennial standards review. The topics under consideration address things such as levels of toxic pollutants and algal toxins as well as guidance for implementing water quality standards.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is proposing to revise some existing standards because of new information about levels of exposure to certain contaminants and to reflect changes in federal regulations or recommendations. Also under consideration is the development of standards for certain emerging contaminants that may need to be monitored and controlled to protect people and the environment.

Any actual changes to standards must be approved by the Natural Resources Board, the Wisconsin Legislature and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

There are many potential standards-related topics that may benefit from a review under this process. However, due to limited resources, not all of the changes can be addressed at the same time. The DNR has developed a draft list of water quality standards priorities to work on for the next three years and is seeking public comment on the draft list.

Stakeholders are invited to comment on DNR's draft priority list from August 28 to October 5, 2018. The draft report of the 2018 - 2020 TSR priorities, which includes the list and topic descriptions, is available by searching the DNR website,,  for "triennial standards review."

A public hearing will be held on September 21, 2018 from 10 to 11 a.m. This hearing is for citizens to comment on or ask questions about the topics presented. Anyone who would like to participate is invited to join online through a webinar using the link posted on the DNR's triennial standards review Web page, or in person at the State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 S. Webster St., Madison, in Room G27 after signing in at the visitor's desk.

Once finalized and submitted to U.S. EPA as required under the Clean Water Act, the DNR will use the final priority list to plan its work over the ensuing three years and each topic will be addressed as resources allow.

Questions or comments on the triennial standards review process should be directed to Marcia Willhite by calling (608) 267-7425, e-mailing, or mailing to Wisconsin DNR WT/3, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.

Last Revised: Tuesday, August 28, 2018

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