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Contact information
For more information about NR 140 rule updates, contact:
Bruce Rheineck
Section chief
Drinking Water & Groundwater

NR 140 groundwater quality standards update

As part of a continuing commitment to protect public health and the environment, the DNR periodically updates groundwater quality standards in ch. NR 140, Wis. Adm. Code. Since its establishment in 1985, the Natural Resources Board has approved amendments to NR 140 twelve times in order to revise existing standards, establish new standards and clarify rule language.

Cycles and recommendations

In accordance with state groundwater law, the DNR periodically submits a list of substances to the Department of Health Services (DHS) and requests that they review available toxicologic information and provide recommendations for new and/or revised groundwater standards. These lists submitted to DHS are designated as NR 140 "cycle" lists. DHS then prepares a Scientific Support Document back to DNR which describes the information and methodology used to develop each recommended standard.

Cycle 10

Cycle 10

The DNR submitted a list of substances designated "Cycle 10" to DHS in March 2018. DHS responded with recommendations to DNR in June 2019. A plain language summary of each of the compounds in Cycle 10 is available at DHS's Recommended Groundwater Enforcement Standards.

Cycle 10 rulemaking timeline


Spring 2018
Summer 2019
Fall 2019 (We are here)
Winter 2020
  • NRB scope approval
  • Rule drafting
  • Advisory workgroups
Spring 2020
  • Preparation of proposed rule
Summer 2020
  • Solicitation of information for economic impact analysis
  • Draft of EIA and public hearings
Fall 2020 - Winter 2020/2021
  • Public hearings on proposed rule
  • NRB meeting for adoption
  • Rule approved by governor
Summer 2021
  • Legislative review/hearings
  • Rule signed by DNR Secretary
Fall 2021
  • Rule published and effective

Cycle 11

Cycle 11

The DNR submitted a list designated "Cycle 11" to DHS in April 2019.

Cycle 11 rulemaking timeline


Spring 2019 (We are here)
Fall 2020
  • DHS response to letter from DNR
Winter 2020
  • Statement of Scope approved by DNR secretary, governor, NRB
Spring 2021
  • Rule drafting
  • Advisory workgroups
Fall - Winter 2021
  • Preparation of proposed rule
Spring 2022
  • Solicitation of information for economic impact analysis
  • Draft of EIA and public hearings
Summer - Winter 2022
  • Public hearings on proposed rule
  • NRB meeting for adoption
  • Rule approved by governor
Spring - Summer 2023
  • Legislative review/hearings
  • Rule signed by DNR Secretary
Fall 2023
  • Rule published and 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.

Last revised: Tuesday September 03 2019