2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
January 24, 2020 - Introduced by Senators Testin and Olsen, cosponsored by
Representatives Shankland, Krug, Felzkowski, Pope, Hebl, Kitchens,
Kurtz, Novak, Summerfield, Anderson, Ballweg, Billings, Cabrera,
Considine, Edming, Gruszynski, Horlacher, Kolste, Kulp, B. Meyers,
Milroy, Mursau, Neubauer, Ohnstad, Plumer, Sinicki, Skowronski,
Spreitzer, Stubbs, Subeck, Swearingen, Tauchen, C. Taylor, Thiesfeldt,
Tranel, Tusler, Vining, Vruwink, Zamarripa, Allen and Spiros. Referred to
Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.
1An Act to create
20.285 (1) (ar), 20.285 (1) (em), 20.370 (6) (ca), 36.25 (6) (f), 36.25 2
(8m), 281.73 and 281.74 of the statutes; relating to: supporting the Center for
3Watershed Science and Education, creating a hydrogeologist position, funding
4research on phosphorus recovery and reuse, creating grant programs for
5counties to test wells and provide public education, granting rule-making
6authority, and making an appropriation.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Center for Watershed Science and Education
This bill provides funding to the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin
System to support the operations of the Center for Watershed Science and Education,
which is a partnership between the UW-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources
and the Division of Extension of the UW-Madison. The operations supported must
include expanding outreach to private well owners, developing and maintaining a
database on private well water quality, and updating the center's online mapping
tools. The bill's requirements do not apply after June 30, 2024.
This bill requires the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
to create a three-year project position for one full-time hydrogeologist for the
geological and natural history survey, which is part of the Division of Extension of
the UW-Madison. The position must focus on developing groundwater resource
information primarily at county or local scales and assisting state and local
governments, industries, and the public in interpreting and using the information.
This bill requires the Board of Regents to allocate $200,000 during the 2019-21
fiscal biennium to the Division of Extension of the University of Wisconsin-Madison
for its phase I policy research proposal under its proposed market-based North
American phosphorus recovery and reuse policy program. The amount allocated
must be used for research and not for administrative or overhead expenses. The
board may not make an allocation unless the Division of Extension shows that it has
secured matching funds or contributions of in-kind services from federal, private, or
other nonstate revenue sources that are equal in value to 25 percent of the amount
Grants for well testing and public education
This bill requires the Department of Natural Resources to create and
administer a program to provide grants to counties to either 1) test and map privately
owned wells to assess groundwater quality and to determine the extent and type of
any contamination and study and map geologic characteristics and well construction
practices in the county to determine any correlation between water quality, geology,
and well construction; or 2) if a county has completed this type of study, to notify the
public of the results of the study and to notify private well owners whose wells may
be contaminated based on the results of the completed study. Under the bill, DNR
may not provide more than $10,000 to any single county for testing and study under
the first type of grant, or more than $2,500 per county for notifications under the
second type of grant. Counties may apply for a grant individually or as a group. The
bill requires a county that receives a grant under this program to provide an equal
amount of matching funds. The county must also share the results of its testing with
the Center for Watershed Science and Education, but may not include any personally
identifiable information with the submitted results.
Well testing importance
This bill also requires cities, villages, and towns that contain privately owned
wells or water supplies to inform its residents of the importance of regular well
For further information see the state and local 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:
20.005 (3) (schedule) of the statutes: at the appropriate place, insert 2
the following amounts for the purposes indicated:
- See PDF for table
20.285 (1) (ar) of the statutes is created to read:
(ar) Center for Watershed Science and Education.
Biennially, the 3
amounts in the schedule to support the operations of the Center for Watershed 4
Science and Education. This paragraph does not apply after June 30, 2024.
20.285 (1) (em) of the statutes is created to read:
(em) Geological and natural history survey hydrogeologist.
amounts in the schedule for the position created under s. 36.25 (6) (f).
20.370 (6) (ca) of the statutes is created to read:
(ca) Environmental aids — county grants for testing wells.
As a 10
continuing appropriation, the amounts in the schedule to provide grants to counties 11
for testing privately owned wells and providing education under s. 281.73.
36.25 (6) (f) of the statutes is created to read:
(f) The Board of Regents shall create one full-time hydrogeologist 2
project position for 3 years for the geological and natural history survey to be funded 3
from the appropriation under s. 20.285 (1) (em). The position shall focus on 4
developing groundwater resource information primarily at county or local scales and 5
assisting state and local governments, industries, and the public in interpreting and 6
using this information.
36.25 (8m) of the statutes is created to read:
36.25 (8m) Center for Watershed Science and Education.
(a) In this 9
paragraph, “center” means the Center for Watershed Science and Education.
(b) From the appropriation under s. 20.285 (1) (ar), the board shall provide 11
funding to support the operations of the center, including all of the following:
1. Expanding outreach to all new and existing private well owners through 13
educational programs, mailings, and public service announcements that direct 14
private well owners to educational resources.
2. Developing and maintaining a database on private well water quality that 16
combines test results by the center, the department of natural resources, cities, 17
villages, towns, counties, and private laboratories.
3. Developing data transfer protocols for the database described in subd. 2.
4. Updating the center's online mapping tools.
(c) This subsection does not apply after June 30, 2024.
281.73 of the statutes is created to read:
22281.73 County grants for well testing and public education. (1)
department shall administer a program to provide, from the appropriation account 24
under s. 20.370 (6) (ca), grants to counties for either of the following purposes:
(a) To conduct countywide testing and mapping of privately owned wells to 2
assess groundwater quality and to determine the extent and type of any 3
contamination and to study and map geologic characteristics and well construction 4
practices in the county, including depth to bedrock and well age, to determine any 5
correlation between water quality, geology, and well construction.
(b) For counties that have completed the type of study described under par. (a), 7
to notify the public of the results of the completed study and to notify private well 8
owners whose wells may be contaminated based on the results of the completed 9
A county may receive a grant under either sub. (1) (a) or (b), but not both.
More than one county may apply for a joint grant under this subsection if 12
the counties are applying for the same grant category.
The department may not provide more than $10,000 per county under sub. 14
(1) (a) or more than $2,500 per county under sub. (1) (b).
As a condition of receiving a grant under this section,
a county shall do all 16
of the following:
(a) Provide matching funds equal to the amount of the proposed grant.
(b) Submit the results of its testing to the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point 19
Center for Watershed Science and Education. Information submitted under this 20
subsection may not include any personally identifiable information.
In making grants under this section, the department shall seek to make a 22
grant to every county that applies.
The department may promulgate rules necessary to implement this section, 24
but may not impose substantive requirements on applicants other than those 25
provided in this section.
281.74 of the statutes is created to read: