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Contact information
For more information about NR 809 rule updates, contact:
Adam DeWeese
Section chief
Drinking Water & Groundwater

NR 809 safe drinking water standards update

A safe drinking water supply is a constant DNR priority for the protection of public health safety and welfare for the citizens of the State of Wisconsin. The DNR establishes safe drinking water standards in ch. NR 809 Safe Drinking Water, Wis. Adm. Code.

The DNR in cooperation with the EPA continually assesses emerging contaminants which may affect sources of drinking water across the state. Some of these contaminants determined to be a threat to drinking water sources are evaluated for establishment of maximum contaminant levels (MCL) in drinking water. An MCL is established for the protection of public health, safety and welfare and to control the level of potential contaminants in drinking water.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are chemicals used in many products including non-stick cookware, food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays and firefighting foams. The extensive uses of PFAS chemicals over many decades and their identified persistence in the environment along with potential adverse health effects are the basis for the proposed drinking water PFAS MCLs. The DNR is proposing PFAS MCLs which will include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS).

In order to establish PFAS drinking water MCLs the DNR would need to revise NR 809 Safe Drinking Water, Wis. Adm. Code to promulgate the new MCL drinking water standards in rule and clarify rule language.

Economic impact analysis

The rulemaking requirement to prepare an economic impact analysis (EIA) and solicit information for its preparation was part of 2011 Wisconsin Act 21. An EIA must be prepared for every permanent proposed rule before the Natural Resources Board can authorize public hearings on the rules, per s. 227.137, Wis. Stats.. The analysis must include information on the economic effect of the proposed rule on specific businesses, business sectors, public utility ratepayers, local governmental units and the state's economy as a whole.


NR 809 Rule making timeline

Summer 2019
Fall 2019

Video: 11/12/19 Public Hearing

Winter 2020 (We are here)
Winter 2021
  • Preparation of proposed rule
  • Solicitation of information for economic impact analysis (EIA)
  • Draft EIA
Summer 2021
  • Public hearings on proposed rule
Winter 2021/2022
  • NRB meeting for adoption
  • Rule approved by governor
  • Legislative review
Spring 2022
  • Rule signed by DNR Secretary
Summer 2022
  • Rule becomes effective

Rulemaking procedures

Rule change process, public input and timeline

The DNR creates and revises administrative rules to implement statutes enacted by the Wisconsin State Legislature [exit DNR]. Administrative rules have the full force and effect of law.

Rulemaking is an extensive process and there are many internal steps [PDF] that DNR and the NRB must follow during a rulemaking effort. Public participation is a critical component of agency rulemaking. There are numerous opportunities to participate in the DNR rulemaking process. For permanent rules, the entire process generally takes about 31 months from initiation to effective date of rule revisions.

Stakeholder meetings

Stakeholder meetings

Given the amount of public interest in this effort and its potential economic impacts, DNR will convene a series of stakeholder meetings to provide guidance on the rule changes.

Meetings will be held in winter 2020 through spring 2021. Meeting dates, times and locations are listed in the table below. The meetings will be public noticed, and prior to each meeting the department will provide an agenda and any materials for review.

The stakeholder meetings are open to the public, and once the meetings are completed, there will be additional opportunities for public input and comments throughout the remainder of the rulemaking process.

Meeting date and time Location Resources
March 23, 2020 This meeting was held remotely via Zoom only, following Governor Evers' order limiting the size of gatherings due to the risk of COVID-19
February 6, 2020 Madison
State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2)
Room G09
101 S Webster St
Last revised: Friday March 27 2020