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Why we regulate
Learn what types of wastewater discharges are regulated and how
Plan review
The DNR reviews plans for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plant construction
Discharge permits
Wastewater discharges to surface or groundwaters
Contact information
For more information, contact:
Julia Riley
Wastewater Specialist

Emergency Response Plans

Wastewater utilities are required to develop emergency response protocols for spill reporting under ch. 292, Wis. Stats.

An Emergency Response Plan (ERP) is a comprehensive document that accounts for actions that occur before, during, and after an emergency. The goal of an ERP is to prevent, minimize, and mitigate injury and damage resulting from natural or man-made emergencies or disasters. An updated ERP is an important security measure. (more on Security Measures...)

Federal regulations require coordination with local emergency planning committees established under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act when preparing or revising an ERP. Check with Wisconsin Emergency Management (exit DNR) for more information on coordination of ERP’s with local emergency planning activities.

The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) received funding from U.S. EPA to develop Emergency Response Plan Guidance for Wastewater Systems (exit DNR). Core elements of the ERP guidance include:

  • System specific information
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Communication procedures
  • Personnel safety
  • Emergency storage
  • Contaminated wastewater disposal
  • Biosolids
  • Equipment
  • Chemical supplies
  • Property protection
  • Response capabilities
  • Sampling
  • Monitoring

The model plan discusses the three stages of threat assessment to determine if a man-made threat to the wastewater system requires activation of the ERP: possible, credible, and confirmed stages. Recommended actions are included in the Threat Decision Process.

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) developed a planning guide to help ensure continued wastewater system service during power failures, "Emergency Power Source Planning for Water and Wastewater". This guide can be purchased through the AWWA bookstore (exit DNR).

A free copy of the guidance document, "Planning for Decontamination Wastewater: A Guide for Utilities", can be downloaded from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (exit DNR). The document is a planning tool to prevent, detect, and respond to the impacts of decontamination wastewater that contains chemical, biological, or radioactive substances.

See Training and Education for information on workshops available on Emergency Response Training and ERP Preparation.

Last revised: Monday May 15 2017