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Private well owners
resources and information.
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NR 812 rule changes

To maintain groundwater protection and protect drinking water and public health across Wisconsin, DNR is working with key industry stakeholders and the general public to update ch. NR 812, Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR].

On May 22, 2019, the Natural Resources Board (NRB) adopted proposed revisions to NR 812, Wis. Adm. Code. The revisions include changes to correct and clarify wording, simplify procedures, update construction standards, and be consistent with other state and federal laws, while continuing to protect groundwater and public health.

The proposed NR 812 revisions have been submitted to the Governor's office for review. After Governor's approval, the NR 812 revisions will be submitted to legislative committees for review and approval. Final rule changes are expected to go into effect in early 2020.


Chapter NR 812, Wis. Adm. Code, contains state standards for location, construction, maintenance and inspection of wells and water systems and heat exchange drillholes, for the filling and sealing of wells and drillholes and for the installation and maintenance of pumping and treatment equipment. The Natural Resources Board (NRB) approved a Statement of Scope [PDF] for NR 812 revisions in October 2016. These NR 812 rule revisions will address 3 major areas.

  1. Correct errors or unclear language.
  2. Streamline existing processes and requirements.
  3. Update construction standards which have not been revised for over 20 years.

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.

Summer/Fall 2016
  • Statement of Scope approved by DNR secretary, governor, NRB
Winter 2016/17 - Winter 2017/18
  • Rule drafting
  • Advisory workgroups
Spring 2018 - Summer 2018
  • Preparation of proposed rule
Fall 2018
  • Solicitation of information for economic impact analysis
Winter 2018 - Spring 2019
  • Public hearings on proposed rule
  • NRB meeting for adoption
  • Rule approved by governor
(We are here)
Summer - Fall 2019
  • Legislative review/hearings
  • Rule signed by DNR Secretary
  • Rule published and effective

Economic impact analysis

The rule-making requirement to prepare an economic impact analysis (EIA) and solicit information for its preparation is required by state statute. 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 [exit DNR].

The EIA 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.

Last revised: Thursday May 30 2019