Wisconsin Thermal Discharges regulations & environmental compliance analysis

Wisconsin Thermal Discharges: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

Thermal discharges: Wisconsin Administrative Code, Department of Natural Resources (NR) 102.04

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Alternative effluent limitations: NR 209.03 to 209.08

Lake Michigan and Lake Superior thermal standards: NR 102.07

Mississippi River thermal standards: NR 102.08

Total maximum daily loads (TMDL): NR 121.03

Regulatory Agencies

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Water Bureau of Watershed Management

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5

See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.

See national section for basic information and federal regulations.

Comparison: State vs. Federal

Rules. In Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regulates municipal, industrial, and other operations discharging wastewater to surface and groundwater through the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit program, including for thermal discharges. The state generally follows the federal rules for thermal discharges under the WPDES permit program, and also has some additional requirements. For example, Wisconsin has developed monthly and geographically specific temperature standards for effluent discharges to state waters. Thermal discharge regulations are established for Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and the Mississippi River. For more information about the federal rules, see the national section THERMAL DISCHARGES.

The WPDES permit program is equivalent to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program. DNR has been granted authority by EPA to administer the NPDES permit program in Wisconsin. See the state section NPDES PERMIT for more information about the WPDES program.

The state also follows the ...


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