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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

Final decisions on variances pending EPA approval

FPhoto by Adam Freihoefer

Variances to water quality standards may be granted on facility-specific basis for the length of the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System(WPDES) permit term. The department reviews all applications for variances and includes a tentative decision on a variance in the public noticed permit. After the 30-day public comment period, in accordance with s. 283.15(4), Wis. Stats, the department issues a final decision on a variance.

Environmental Protection Agency review

Following the department's final decision, however, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must review all variances before the department may include an alternate effluent limit (AEL) from the variance in a final permit. The EPA has 60 days to review all variances submitted by the department. The department will issue the permit to reflect the EPA's decision.

Public review

In accordance with s. 283.15(4)(d), Wis. Stats., the department's final decision is reviewable under subchapter III of ch. 227, Wis. Stats.[exit DNR], except ss. 227.40-227.46, 227.485-227.51, and 227.60. The department's final variance decisions are posted in the table below. Petitions for review of final decisions may be submitted to the department within 30 days of the date of the final decision indicated under the column entitled Final Decision Date. To clarify, the deadline to submit a petition for review of the department's final decision on the variance will likely be before the permit is issued.

Obtaining permit documents

The department's final decision on the variance and supporting documentation can be downloaded by clicking on the file size indicated under the column entitled DNR Final Decision. The proposed permit, which includes the proposed AEL, can be downloaded by clicking on the file size indicated under the column entitled Proposed Permit.

Permits are not considered final and issued until they have been signed and dated by DNR staff. Final copies of WPDES wastewater permits are not available from the DNR website. Please contact the permit drafter indicated in the final decision to obtain a copy of the final (issued) permit. Copies of permit applications and variance applications can also be obtained by contacting the permit drafter.

Permittee Permit No. County Variance Pollutant Final Decision Date DNR Final Decision Proposed Permit
City of Wisconsin Rapids WI-0025844-09 Wood Mercury 5/16/2018 126KB [PDF] 323KB [PDF]
City of Reedsburg WI-0020371-09 Sauk Mercury 5/11/2018 123KB [PDF] 311KB [PDF]
Contact information
For information on variances to water quality standards and the wastewater program in general contact:
Jason Knutson
Wastewater Section Chief
Water Quality Bureau
Last revised: Wednesday May 16 2018