Notwithstanding par. (c)
, if 2 or more parties act in accordance with a common scheme or plan, those parties are jointly and severally liable for the total contribution of all parties involved in the common scheme or plan.
The finder of fact shall apportion the contribution of each responsible party to the environmental pollution resulting from the disposal or discharge of hazardous substances at the site or facility for the purposes of par. (c)
, using the following criteria, and any other appropriate criteria:
The ability of the responsible parties to demonstrate that their contribution to the environmental pollution resulting from the disposal or discharge of hazardous substances can be distinguished from the contribution of other responsible parties.
The degree of toxicity of the hazardous substances involved.
The degree of involvement by the responsible parties in the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, disposal or discharge of the hazardous substances.
The degree of cooperation by the responsible parties with federal, state or local officials to prevent or minimize harm to the public health or the environment.
The degree of care exercised by the parties with respect to the hazardous substance, taking into account the characteristics of the hazardous substance.
A responsible party is not liable under par. (b)
if the responsible party establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the responsible party's contribution to the environmental pollution resulting from the disposal or discharge of hazardous substances was caused solely by any of the following:
An act or omission of a 3rd party, other than an officer, director, employee or agent of the responsible party, or other than a person whose act or omission occurs in connection with a direct or indirect contractual relationship with the responsible party if all of the following apply:
The responsible party establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the responsible party exercised due care with respect to the hazardous substances that caused environmental pollution.
In exercising due care under subd. 3. a.
, the responsible party took into consideration the characteristics of the hazardous substances, in light of all relevant facts and circumstances.
The responsible party took precautions against foreseeable acts or omissions of the 3rd party and the consequences that could foreseeably result from those acts or omissions.
Any responsible party may seek contribution from any other responsible party. Such a contribution claim may be brought as a separate action or may be brought in the action commenced against the responsible party under this section.
(10) Technical assistance.
The department shall provide technical assistance to an umpire at the request of the umpire. The department may limit the amount of staff time allocated to each negotiation.
Except as provided in sub. (7)
, no common law liability, and no statutory liability that is provided in other statutes, for damages resulting from a site or facility is affected in any manner by this section. The authority, power and remedies provided in this section are in addition to any authority, power or remedy provided in any other statutes or provided at common law.
The department may, by rule, assess and collect fees to offset the cost of the department's activities under this section. The fees may include an advance deposit, from which the department shall return the amount in excess of the cost of the department's activities under this section.
See also ch. NR 749
, Wis. adm. code.
Confidentiality of records. 292.37(1)
Except as provided under sub. (2)
, any records or other information furnished to or obtained by the department in the administration of ss. 292.31
are public records subject to s. 19.21
An owner or operator of a solid waste facility may seek confidential treatment of any records or other information furnished to or obtained by the department in the administration of ss. 292.31
Standards for granting confidential status.
Except as provided under par. (c)
, the department shall grant confidential status for any records or information received by the department and certified by the owner or operator of the solid waste facility as relating to production or sales figures or to processes or production unique to the owner or operator of the solid waste facility or which would tend to adversely affect the competitive position of the owner or operator if made public.
Emission data; analyses and summaries.
The department may not grant confidential status for emission data. Nothing in this subsection prevents the department from using records and other information in compiling or publishing analyses or summaries relating to the general condition of the environment if the analyses or summaries do not identify a specific owner or operator or the analyses or summaries do not reveal records or other information granted confidential status.
Use of confidential records.
Except as provided under par. (c)
and this paragraph, the department or the department of justice may use records and other information granted confidential status under this subsection only in the administration and enforcement of ss. 292.31
. The department or the department of justice may release for general distribution records and other information granted confidential status under this subsection if the owner or operator expressly agrees to the release. The department or the department of justice may release on a limited basis records and other information granted confidential status under this subsection if the department or the department of justice is directed to take this action by a judge or hearing examiner under an order which protects the confidentiality of the records or other information. The department or the department of justice may release to the U.S. environmental protection agency, or its authorized representative, records and other information granted confidential status under this subsection if the department or the department of justice includes in each release of records or other information a request to the U.S. environmental protection agency, or its authorized representative, to protect the confidentiality of the records or other information.
History: 1995 a. 227
Abandoned containers. 292.41(1)
In this section, "abandoned container" means any container which contains a hazardous substance and is not being monitored and maintained.
This section does not apply to abandoned containers which are located in an approved facility or a nonapproved facility.
After consultation with other affected federal, state and local agencies and private organizations, the department shall establish by rule criteria and procedures for the development, establishment and amendment of a contingency plan for the taking of emergency actions in relation to abandoned containers.
The contingency plan shall establish procedures and techniques for locating, identifying, removing and disposing of abandoned containers.
(4) Removal or other emergency action.
The department or its authorized representative may contain, remove or dispose of abandoned containers or take any other emergency action which it deems appropriate under the circumstances.
(5) Access to property and records.
Any officer, employee or authorized representative of the department, upon notice to the owner or occupant, may enter onto any property, premises or place at any time for the purposes of sub. (3)
if the entry is necessary to prevent increased damage to the air, land or waters of the state, or may inspect any record relating to abandoned container management for the purpose of ascertaining the state of compliance with this section and the rules promulgated under this section. Notice to the owner or occupant is not required if the delay in providing the notice is likely to result in imminent risk to public health or welfare or the environment.
(6) Abandoned containers; appropriations. 292.41(6)(a)(a)
The department may utilize moneys appropriated under s. 20.370 (2) (dv)
in taking action under sub. (4)
. The department shall utilize these moneys to provide for the procurement, maintenance and storage of necessary equipment and supplies, personnel training and expenses incurred in locating, identifying, removing and disposing of abandoned containers.
No more than 25% of the total of all moneys available under the appropriation under s. 20.370 (2) (dv)
may be used annually for the procurement and maintenance of necessary equipment during that fiscal year.
The department is entitled to recover moneys expended under this section from any person who caused the containers to be abandoned or is responsible for the containers. The funds recovered under this paragraph shall be deposited into the environmental fund for environmental management.
See also ch. NR 714
, Wis. adm. code.
Cooperative remedial action. 292.51(1)
In this section, "costs of remedying environmental contamination" means costs determined by the department to be necessary to reduce or eliminate environmental contamination and restore the environment, including costs of investigation and of providing public information and education related to reducing or eliminating environmental contamination and restoring the environment.
The department may seek and receive voluntary contributions of funds from a municipality or any other public or private source for all or part of the costs of remedying environmental contamination if the activities being funded are part of a cooperative effort, by the department and the person providing the funds, to remedy that environmental contamination. All contributions received under this subsection shall be deposited in the environmental fund.
Any person engaged in a cooperative effort with the department that is described in sub. (2)
may seek and receive voluntary contributions of funds on behalf of the effort.
Provision of funding under sub. (2)
is not evidence of liability or an admission of liability for any environmental contamination.
In carrying out its regulatory and enforcement duties, the department may not base its treatment of a person on whether the person did or did not provide funding under sub. (2)
History: 1995 a. 27
; 1995 a. 227
; Stats. 1995 s. 292.51; 1997 a. 27
Availability of environmental insurance.
The department, in cooperation with the department of administration, may undertake activities to make private environmental insurance products available to encourage and facilitate the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated property. The department of natural resources may negotiate with, select, and contract with one or more insurers to provide insurance products under this section, subject to the approval of the department of administration under s. 16.865 (5)
History: 2003 a. 315
Requests for liability clarification and technical assistance. 292.55(1)(a)(a)
The department may, upon request, assist a person to determine whether the person is or may become liable for the environmental pollution of a property.
The department may, upon request, assist in, or provide comments on, the planning and implementation of an environmental investigation of a property or the environmental cleanup of a property.
The department may determine whether further action is necessary to remedy environmental pollution of a property.
The department may issue a letter to a person seeking assistance under this subsection concerning any of the following:
The liability of a person owning or leasing a property for environmental pollution of the property.
The type and extent of environmental pollution of a property.
Any other matter related to the request for assistance under this subsection.
The department may assess and collect fees from a person to offset the costs of providing assistance under sub. (1)
. The department shall promulgate rules for the assessment and collection of fees under this subsection. Fees collected under this subsection shall be credited to the appropriation account under s. 20.370 (2) (dh)
History: 1997 a. 27
See also ch. NR 749
, Wis. adm. code.
Database of properties with residual contamination. 292.57(1)(1)
In this section, "groundwater standard" means an enforcement standard, as defined in s. 160.01 (2)
, or a preventive action limit, as defined in s. 160.01 (6)
The department may promulgate a rule specifying a fee for placing information into a database concerning a property on which a groundwater standard is exceeded, a property on which residual contamination is present in soil, or a property that is subject to s. 292.12 (3) (b)
. The department may also specify a fee for modifying information in the database.
History: 1999 a. 9
; 2005 a. 25
Dry cleaner environmental response program. 292.65(1)(b)
"Case closure letter" means a letter provided by the department that states that, based on information available to the department, no further remedial action is necessary with respect to a dry cleaning product discharge.
"Dry cleaning facility" means a facility for cleaning apparel or household fabrics for the general public using a dry cleaning product, other than a facility that is one of the following:
A facility that is located on a U.S. military installation.
A facility that is located at a prison or other penal institution.
A facility that is located at a nonprofit hospital or at another nonprofit health care institution.
A facility that is located on property that is owned by the federal government or by this state or that is located on property that was owned by the federal government or by this state when the facility was operating.
"Dry cleaning product" means a hazardous substance used to clean apparel or household fabrics, except for a hazardous substance used to launder apparel or household fabrics.
"Formal wear" includes tuxedos, suits and dresses, but does not include costumes, table linens and household fabrics.
"Formal wear rental firm" means a facility that rents formal wear to the general public and dry cleans only the formal wear that it rents to the general public.