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2013 - 2014 LEGISLATURE
September 18, 2013 - Introduced by Senators Kedzie, Gudex and Tiffany,
cosponsored by Representatives Mursau, A. Ott, LeMahieu, Ripp, August,
Thiesfeldt, Bernier, Tauchen and Brooks. Referred to Natural Resources.
SB302,1,6 1An Act to renumber 281.34 (1) (a); to renumber and amend 281.34 (2); to
2amend
281.34 (4) (a) (intro.), 281.34 (5) (a), 281.34 (5) (b) 1., 281.34 (5) (d) 1.,
3281.34 (5) (dm), 281.34 (7), 281.344 (4s) (dm) and 281.346 (4s) (dm); and to
4create
281.34 (1) (ag), 281.34 (1) (eg), 281.34 (1) (er), 281.34 (2) (c), 281.34 (2c),
5281.34 (2g), 281.34 (4) (am), 281.34 (5) (dg) and 281.34 (11) of the statutes;
6relating to: high capacity well approvals.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Current law requires a person to obtain approval from the Department of
Natural Resources (DNR) before constructing a high capacity well. Under current
law, a high capacity well is a well that, together with all other wells on the same
property, has the capacity to withdraw more than 100,000 gallons of water per day.
This bill modifies current law by specifying the circumstances under which a
person must obtain a high capacity well approval. Under the bill, an approval is
required before constructing a proposed high capacity well or reconstructing or
replacing an existing high capacity well. The bill defines a proposed high capacity
well as a new high capacity well that will result in a new withdrawal of groundwater.
This bill also provides that within 65 business days from the date on which DNR
receives a complete application for approval for construction of a proposed high
capacity well, or for reconstruction or replacement of an existing high capacity well,
it must approve or deny the application. If DNR denies the application, the denial

must include the reasons for the denial. If DNR fails to approve or deny the
application within the deadline established in the bill, then the application is
considered approved.
Under current law, DNR is required to impose conditions on a high capacity well
under certain circumstances. For example, if DNR determines that a proposed high
capacity well may impair the water supply of a public utility, DNR may not approve
the high capacity well unless it includes conditions that will ensure that the water
supply of the public utility will not be impaired. This bill provides that DNR may not
impose conditions, other than those required in current law, in an approval for a
proposed high capacity well or for the reconstruction of an existing high capacity well
other than conditions relating to location, depth, pumping capacity, and rate of flow.
This bill provides that DNR may issue an approval for the construction of a
replacement high capacity well only if the replacement well is drilled to substantially
the same depth as the existing high capacity well, it is located within a 75-foot radius
of the existing high capacity well, and it will be constructed in accordance with DNR
standards that apply on the date on which construction of the replacement high
capacity well begins. The bill also prohibits DNR from including conditions in an
approval for a replacement high capacity well that are different than the conditions
in the approval for the high capacity well being replaced.
This bill also provides that if a person who owns property on which a high
capacity well is located transfers the property, the owner may transfer the approval
for the high capacity well to the person to whom the land is transferred without
review by DNR and without having to pay a fee.
Under current law, DNR must review certain high capacity well approval
applications using an environmental review process specified in rules promulgated
by DNR. DNR must use this process in reviewing an application for approval of a
high capacity well that is located in a groundwater protection area, that has a water
loss of more than 95 percent of the amount of water withdrawn, or that has a
significant environmental impact on a spring. This bill expressly limits DNR's
authority so that it may use the environmental review process only when reviewing
an application for approval of a proposed high capacity well.
The bill also provides that DNR's rule-making authority with regard to
approvals for high capacity wells is expressly limited to the rule-making authority
granted to DNR under current law. In addition, the bill provides that if DNR issued
an approval to an owner of a high capacity well before July 6, 2011, and thereafter,
but before the date on which the provisions of this bill take effect, and added new or
more restrictive conditions to that approval, then DNR must, upon the owner's
request, remove the new or more restrictive conditions from the approval unless the
law specifically requires the conditions to be included.
For further information see the state fiscal estimate, which will be printed as
an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
SB302,1
1Section 1. 281.34 (1) (a) of the statutes is renumbered 281.34 (1) (am).
SB302,2 2Section 2. 281.34 (1) (ag) of the statutes is created to read:
SB302,3,43 281.34 (1) (ag) "Existing high capacity well" means a high capacity well that
4has been approved by the department under this section.
SB302,3 5Section 3. 281.34 (1) (eg) of the statutes is created to read:
SB302,3,96 281.34 (1) (eg) "Proposed high capacity well" means a new high capacity well
7that will result in a new withdrawal of groundwater. "Proposed high capacity well"
8does not include a high capacity well constructed to replace an existing high capacity
9well.
SB302,4 10Section 4. 281.34 (1) (er) of the statutes is created to read:
SB302,3,1211 281.34 (1) (er) "Reconstruct" means to modify original construction and
12includes deepening, lining, installing or replacing a screen, and underreaming.
SB302,5 13Section 5. 281.34 (2) of the statutes is renumbered 281.34 (2) (a) and amended
14to read:
SB302,3,1715 281.34 (2) (a) An owner shall apply to the department for approval before
16beginning construction of a proposed high capacity well begins or before beginning
17reconstruction or replacement of an existing high capacity well
.
SB302,3,21 18(b) No person may construct a proposed high capacity well, replace or
19reconstruct an existing high capacity well,
or withdraw water from a high capacity
20well without the approval of the department under this section or under s. 281.17 (1),
212001 stats.
SB302,3,22 22(c) An owner applying for approval under this subsection shall pay a fee of $500.
SB302,6 23Section 6. 281.34 (2) (c) of the statutes is created to read:
SB302,4,324 281.34 (2) (c) 1. Within 65 business days from the date on which the department
25receives a complete application for an approval under par. (a), the department shall

1approve or deny the application and shall notify the applicant of the decision in
2writing. If the department denies the application, the notification shall include the
3reasons for the denial.
SB302,4,74 2. Failure of the department to approve or deny an application under this
5subsection within 65 business days shall constitute the department's approval of the
6application. Upon the demand of the applicant, the department shall issue a written
7approval to the applicant.
SB302,7 8Section 7. 281.34 (2c) of the statutes is created to read:
SB302,4,159 281.34 (2c) Replacement high capacity wells. The department may issue an
10approval to construct a high capacity well to replace an existing high capacity well
11if the replacement high capacity well will be drilled to substantially the same depth
12as the existing high capacity well, will be located within a 75-foot radius of the
13existing high capacity well, and will be constructed in accordance with department
14standards that apply to the construction of proposed high capacity wells on the date
15that construction of the replacement high capacity well begins.
SB302,8 16Section 8. 281.34 (2g) of the statutes is created to read:
SB302,4,2317 281.34 (2g) Transfer of approvals. If an owner transfers the land on which
18a high capacity well is located, and if the owner holds an approval issued under sub.
19(2) or under s. 281.17 (1), 2001 stats., for the high capacity well, the owner may
20transfer the approval to the person to whom the land is transferred without
21department review. The department may not impose a fee for the transfer. The
22owner shall notify the department of the transfer on a form prescribed by the
23department.
SB302,9 24Section 9. 281.34 (4) (a) (intro.) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB302,5,3
1281.34 (4) (a) (intro.) The department shall review an application for approval
2of any of the following using the environmental review process in its rules
3promulgated under s. 1.11, subject to par. (am):
SB302,10 4Section 10. 281.34 (4) (am) of the statutes is created to read:
SB302,5,85 281.34 (4) (am) In its review of an application for approval under par. (a), the
6department's use of the environmental review process in its rules promulgated under
7s. 1.11 is expressly limited to an application for approval of a proposed high capacity
8well.
SB302,11 9Section 11. 281.34 (5) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB302,5,1610 281.34 (5) (a) Public water supply. If the department determines that a
11proposed high capacity well may impair the water supply of a public utility engaged
12in furnishing water to or for the public, the department may not approve the
13proposed high capacity well unless it is able to include and includes in the approval
14conditions, which may include conditions as to location, depth, pumping capacity,
15rate of flow, and ultimate use, that will ensure that the water supply of the public
16utility will not be impaired.
SB302,12 17Section 12. 281.34 (5) (b) 1. of the statutes is amended to read:
SB302,5,2518 281.34 (5) (b) 1. Except as provided in subd. 2., if the department determines,
19under the environmental review process in sub. (4), that an environmental impact
20report under s. 23.11 (5) must be prepared for a proposed high capacity well located
21in a groundwater protection area, the department may not approve the proposed
22high capacity well unless it is able to include and includes in the approval conditions,
23which may include conditions as to location, depth, pumping capacity, rate of flow,
24and ultimate use, that ensure that the proposed high capacity well does not cause
25significant environmental impact to a groundwater protection area.
SB302,13
1Section 13. 281.34 (5) (d) 1. of the statutes is amended to read:
SB302,6,92 281.34 (5) (d) 1. Except as provided in subd. 2., if the department determines,
3under the environmental review process in sub. (4), that an environmental impact
4report under s. 23.11 (5) must be prepared for a proposed high capacity well that may
5have a significant environmental impact on a spring, the department may not
6approve the proposed high capacity well unless it is able to include and includes in
7the approval conditions, which may include conditions as to location, depth, pumping
8capacity, rate of flow, and ultimate use, that ensure that the proposed high capacity
9well does not cause significant environmental impact to a spring.
SB302,14 10Section 14. 281.34 (5) (dg) of the statutes is created to read:
SB302,6,1511 281.34 (5) (dg) Limitation on approval conditions. 1. The department may
12include conditions in an approval to construct a proposed high capacity well or to
13reconstruct an existing high capacity well, but only as to location, depth, pumping
14capacity, and rate of flow, unless the department is authorized to include other
15conditions in an approval under this subsection.
SB302,6,1816 2. The department may not include conditions in an approval to replace an
17existing high capacity well that are different than the conditions in the approval for
18the existing high capacity well unless any of the following applies:
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