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NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 682 days

DNR issues report outlining water quality standards for next three-year cycle

Contact(s): Marcia Willhite, DNR natural resources program manager, 608-267-7425
December 18, 2018

MADISON--A report essential to the regulation of surface water quality in Wisconsin is now available from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources after a year-long review and public comment period identified areas for improvement. The 2018-2020 Triennial Standards Review helps DNR staff focus efforts to integrate the latest science, technology and federal requirements into how the state regulates water quality and helps keep Wisconsin's surface waters swimmable, fishable and drinkable.

The final report, which is reviewed and updated every three years, is required by the federal Clean Water Act. It can be found by searching the DNR website,, for keywords "surface water" and clicking on the link for Triennial Standards Review. The comprehensive evaluation sets new priorities for the next three years including guidance on bacteria that cause blue-green algae blooms, human health criteria, regulation of mercury levels, designating exceptional resource waters and criteria for perfluorinated compounds such as Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS), a substance commonly used in fire-fighting foams and non-stick coatings.

In addition, the review assists DNR staff with work-planning and identifying needed actions for moving projects forward. Water quality standards act as guidelines for setting an appropriate level of protection for Wisconsin's lakes, rivers and streams.

The final report is the result of a year-long process involving several opportunities for the public to contribute and comment on the contents. Updating began January 2, 2018 and concluded on September 21, 2018.

Last Revised: Tuesday, December 18, 2018

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