River protection grants.
Lake management project grants; river protection grants; purchases.
River protection; contracts with nonprofit organizations.
Compensation for well contamination.
Damage to water supplies.
GREAT LAKES REMEDIAL ACTION
Remedial action in the Great Lakes and their tributaries.
Great Lakes protection fund share.
GENERAL PROVISIONS; ENFORCEMENT
State agency personnel to report water pollution.
Investigation of alleged water withdrawal violations.
Remedies; water withdrawal violations.
Visitorial powers of department.
Administrative forfeitures for safe drinking water violations.
Ch. 281 Note
NOTE: 1995 Wis. Act 227
renumbered the provisions of chs. 144, 147, 159 and 162, Stats. 1993-94, to be chs. 280-299, Stats. 1995-96. For a table tracing former section numbers see the Addenda & Errata at the end of Volume 5.
In this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise:
"Department" means the department of natural resources.
"Garbage" means discarded materials resulting from the handling, processing, storage and consumption of food.
"Industrial wastes" includes liquid or other wastes resulting from any process of industry, manufacture, trade or business or the development of any natural resource.
"Municipality" means any city, town, village, county, county utility district, town sanitary district, public inland lake protection and rehabilitation district or metropolitan sewage district.
"Other wastes" includes all other substances, except industrial wastes and sewage, which pollute any of the surface waters of the state. The term also includes unnecessary siltation resulting from operations such as the washing of vegetables or raw food products, gravel washing, stripping of lands for development of subdivisions, highways, quarries and gravel pits, mine drainage, cleaning of vehicles or barges or gross neglect of land erosion.
"Owner" means the state, county, town, town sanitary district, city, village, metropolitan sewerage district, corporation, firm, company, institution or individual owning or operating any water supply, sewerage or water system or sewage and refuse disposal plant.
"Person" means an individual, owner, operator, corporation, limited liability company, partnership, association, municipality, interstate agency, state agency or federal agency.
"Pollution" includes contaminating or rendering unclean or impure the waters of the state, or making the same injurious to public health, harmful for commercial or recreational use, or deleterious to fish, bird, animal or plant life.
"Refuse" means all matters produced from industrial or community life, subject to decomposition, not defined as sewage.
"Secretary" means the secretary of natural resources.
"Sewage" means the water-carried wastes created in and to be conducted away from residences, industrial establishments, and public buildings as defined in s. 101.01 (12)
, with such surface water or groundwater as may be present.
"Sewerage system" means all structures, conduits and pipe lines by which sewage is collected and disposed of, except plumbing inside and in connection with buildings served, and service pipes from building to street main.
"Solid waste" means any garbage, refuse, sludge from a waste treatment plant, water supply treatment plant or air pollution control facility and other discarded or salvageable materials, including solid, liquid, semisolid, or contained gaseous materials resulting from industrial, commercial, mining and agricultural operations, and from community activities, but does not include solids or dissolved material in domestic sewage, or solid or dissolved materials in irrigation return flows or industrial discharges which are point sources subject to permits under ch. 283
, or source material, as defined in s. 254.31 (10)
, special nuclear material, as defined in s. 254.31 (11)
, or by-product material, as defined in s. 254.31 (1)
"System or plant" includes water and sewerage systems and sewage and refuse disposal plants.
"Waters of the state" includes those portions of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior within the boundaries of this state, and all lakes, bays, rivers, streams, springs, ponds, wells, impounding reservoirs, marshes, watercourses, drainage systems and other surface water or groundwater, natural or artificial, public or private, within this state or its jurisdiction.
"Water supply" means the sources and their surroundings from which water is supplied for drinking or domestic purposes.
"Waterworks" or "water system" means all structures, conduits and appurtenances by means of which water is delivered to consumers except piping and fixtures inside buildings served, and service pipes from building to street main.
History: 1995 a. 227
; 1999 a. 9
A dealer's refusal to sell the manufacturer's products after filing a complaint under sub. (2) (bd) 2. is a violation of that provision, and consequently of sub. (3) (a) 4., entitling the manufacturer to treble damages under sub. (9) (am). American Suzuki Motor Corp. v. Bill Kummer, Inc. 65 F.3d 1381
Statement of policy and purpose.
The department shall serve as the central unit of state government to protect, maintain and improve the quality and management of the waters of the state, ground and surface, public and private. Continued pollution of the waters of the state has aroused widespread public concern. It endangers public health and threatens the general welfare. A comprehensive action program directed at all present and potential sources of water pollution whether home, farm, recreational, municipal, industrial or commercial is needed to protect human life and health, fish and aquatic life, scenic and ecological values and domestic, municipal, recreational, industrial, agricultural and other uses of water. The purpose of this subchapter is to grant necessary powers and to organize a comprehensive program under a single state agency for the enhancement of the quality management and protection of all waters of the state, ground and surface, public and private. To the end that these vital purposes may be accomplished, this subchapter and all rules and orders promulgated under this subchapter shall be liberally construed in favor of the policy objectives set forth in this subchapter. In order to achieve the policy objectives of this subchapter, it is the express policy of the state to mobilize governmental effort and resources at all levels, state, federal and local, allocating such effort and resources to accomplish the greatest result for the people of the state as a whole. Because of the importance of Lakes Superior and Michigan and Green Bay as vast water resource reservoirs, water quality standards for those rivers emptying into Lakes Superior and Michigan and Green Bay shall be as high as is practicable.
History: 1995 a. 227
Supplying of water to its inhabitants by a municipality is not a proprietary function immune from the provisions of ch. 144, because the protection of public health is a matter of state-wide concern over which the legislature may exercise its police powers to insure a healthful water supply. Village of Sussex v. Dept. of Natural Resources, 68 Wis. 2d 187
, 228 N.W.2d 173
Department regulatory power over wetlands discussed. 68 Atty. Gen. 264.
The public trust doctrine. 59 MLR 787.
Theories of water pollution litigation. Davis, 1971 WLR 738.
Carrying capacity controls for recreation water uses. Kusler, 1973 WLR 1.
General department powers and duties. 281.12(1)(1)
The department shall have general supervision and control over the waters of the state. It shall carry out the planning, management and regulatory programs necessary for implementing the policy and purpose of this chapter. The department also shall formulate plans and programs for the prevention and abatement of water pollution and for the maintenance and improvement of water quality.
The department, upon request, shall consult with and advise owners who have installed or are about to install systems or plants, as to the most appropriate water source and the best method of providing for its purity, or as to the best method of disposing of wastewater, including operations and maintenance, taking into consideration the future needs of the community for protection of its water supply. The department is not required to prepare plans.
The department may enter into agreements with the responsible authorities of other states, subject to approval by the governor, relative to methods, means and measures to be employed to control pollution of any interstate streams and other waters and to carry out such agreement by appropriate general and special orders. This power shall not be deemed to extend to the modification of any agreement with any other state concluded by direct legislative act, but, unless otherwise expressly provided, the department shall be the agency for the enforcement of any such legislative agreement.
History: 1995 a. 227
; 1995 a. 378
The DNR's general supervision and control over the state's waters is not so sweeping as to authorize the DNR to ban all activities that might adversely affect water quality or to establish limitations for any one specific industry. Rusk County Citizen Action Group, Inc. v. DNR, 203 Wis. 2d 1
, 552 N.W.2d 110
(Ct. App. 1996).
Surveys and research. 281.13(1)(a)(a)
The department is authorized to act with the U.S. geological survey in determining the sanitary and other conditions and nature of the natural water sources in this state, for the following purposes:
To determine the nature and condition of the unpolluted natural water sources.
To determine to what extent the natural water sources are being contaminated by sewage from cities, villages and towns.
To determine to what extent the natural water sources are being polluted by other wastes.
The department is hereby empowered and instructed to make the necessary rules and regulations, in conjunction with the U.S. geological department, to carry this subsection into effect.
The department may conduct scientific experiments, investigations, waste treatment demonstrations and research on any matter under its jurisdiction. It may establish pilot plants, prototypes and facilities in connection therewith and lease or purchase land or equipment.
History: 1995 a. 227
; 1995 a. 378
; 1997 a. 35
Water quality standards. 281.15(1)
The department shall promulgate rules setting standards of water quality to be applicable to the waters of the state, recognizing that different standards may be required for different waters or portions thereof. Water quality standards shall consist of the designated uses of the waters or portions thereof and the water quality criteria for those waters based upon the designated use. Water quality standards shall protect the public interest, which include the protection of the public health and welfare and the present and prospective future use of such waters for public and private water systems, propagation of fish and aquatic life and wildlife, domestic and recreational purposes and agricultural, commercial, industrial and other legitimate uses. In all cases where the potential uses of water are in conflict, water quality standards shall be interpreted to protect the general public interest.
In adopting or revising any water quality criteria for the waters of the state or any designated portion thereof, the department shall do all of the following:
At least annually publish and provide public notice of water quality criteria to be adopted, revised or reviewed in the following year.
Consider information reasonably available to the department on the likely social, economic, energy usage and environmental costs associated with attaining the criteria and provide a description of the economic and social considerations used in the establishment of the criteria.
Establish criteria which are no more stringent than reasonably necessary to assure attainment of the designated use for the water bodies in question.
Employ reasonable statistical techniques, where appropriate, in interpreting the relevant water quality data.
Develop a technical support document which identifies the scientific data utilized, the margin of safety applied and any facts and interpretations of those data applied in deriving the water quality criteria, including the persistence, degradability and nature and effects of each substance on the designated uses, and which provides a summary of the information considered under this section.
(3) Subsection (2)
does not apply to rules promulgated under this section by the department for any substance before November 10, 1987.
By April 1, 1989, the department shall review, in accordance with sub. (2)
, and as necessary revise all water quality criteria, except those for dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH and ammonia, adopted under this section before November 10, 1987.
The department shall comply with this section with respect to all water quality criteria adopted or revised after November 10, 1987.
History: 1995 a. 227
; 1995 a. 378
Water quality protection; nonpoint sources. 281.16(1)(a)
"Agricultural facility" means a structure associated with an agricultural practice.
"Agricultural practice" means beekeeping; commercial feedlots; dairying; egg production; floriculture; fish or fur farming; grazing; livestock raising; orchards; poultry raising; raising of grain, grass, mint and seed crops; raising of fruits, nuts and berries; sod farming; placing land in federal programs in return for payments in kind; owning land, at least 35 acres of which is enrolled in the conservation reserve program under 16 USC 3831
; and vegetable raising.