(b) Warm water sport fish communities.
This subcategory includes surface waters capable of supporting a community of warm water sport fish or serving as a spawning area for warm water sport fish.
(c) Warm water forage fish communities.
This subcategory includes surface waters capable of supporting an abundant diverse community of forage fish and other aquatic life.
Limited forage fish communities.
(Intermediate surface waters). This subcategory includes surface waters of limited capacity and naturally poor water quality or habitat. These surface waters are capable of supporting only a limited community of forage fish and other aquatic life.
Limited aquatic life.
(Marginal surface waters). This subcategory includes surface waters of severely limited capacity and naturally poor water quality or habitat. These surface waters are capable of supporting only a limited community of aquatic life.
(4) Criteria for fish and aquatic life.
Except for natural conditions, all waters classified for fish and aquatic life shall meet the following criteria:
(a) Dissolved oxygen.
Except as provided in par. (b)
and s. NR 104.02 (3)
, the dissolved oxygen content in surface waters may not be lowered to less than 5 mg/L at any time.
(b) Dissolved oxygen for cold waters.
Water bodies classified as trout waters by the department (Wisconsin Trout Streams, publication 6-3600 (80)) or as great lakes or cold water communities may not be altered from natural background dissolved oxygen levels to such an extent that trout populations are adversely affected. Additionally, all of the following conditions shall be met:
Dissolved oxygen in classified trout streams shall not be artificially lowered to less than 6.0 mg/L at any time, nor shall the dissolved oxygen be lowered to less 7.0 mg/L during the spawning season.
The dissolved oxygen in great lakes tributaries used by stocked salmonids for spawning runs shall not be lowered below natural background during the period of habitation.
The pH shall be within the range of 6.0 to 9.0, with no change greater than 0.5 units outside the estimated natural seasonal maximum and minimum.
(d) Other substances.
Unauthorized concentrations of substances are not permitted that alone or in combination with other materials present are toxic to fish or other aquatic life. Surface waters shall meet the acute and chronic criteria as set forth in or developed pursuant to ss. NR 105.05
. Surface waters shall meet the criteria which correspond to the appropriate fish and aquatic life subcategory for the surface water, except as provided in s. NR 104.02 (3)
Water quality criteria for temperature shall be determined and applied pursuant to subch. II
. Heated effluent shall not cause lethality, inside or outside of the mixing zone, to animal, plant or other aquatic life.
All surface waters shall be suitable for supporting recreational use and shall meet the criteria specified in sub. (6)
Whenever the department determines, in accordance with the procedures specified in s. NR 210.06 (3)
, that wastewater disinfection is not required to protect recreational uses, the criteria specified in par. (a)
and in chs. NR 103
do not apply.
Criteria for recreational use.
Bacteria criteria are established as follows to protect humans from illness caused by fecal contamination due to recreational contact with surface water:
NR 102.04(6)(a)1.1. `Criteria.'
All of the Escherichia coli
) criteria in Table A apply unless bacteria site-specific criteria have been adopted pursuant to subd. 2.
- See PDF for table
NR 102.04 Note
Note: The department developed the E. coli criteria in this section based on criteria developed by U.S. EPA. U.S. EPA developed the E. coli criteria using membrane filtration methods to count E. coli colony forming units. Entities wishing to use quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and a conversion factor to compare resulting E. coli counts to the criteria in Table A may seek U.S. EPA and department approval for using alternative indicators and methods as outlined in U.S. EPA technical support document EPA-820-R-14-011.
NR 102.04 Note
Under the department's beach advisory program, a beach advisory is issued when a beach reaches the “Beach Action Value” of 235 counts per 100 mL and a beach closure is issued at 1000 counts per 100 mL, unless site-specific conditions indicate use of an alternate metric. More information on the beach advisory program is available at http://wibeaches.us
The department may establish bacteria site-specific criteria by rule to protect a waterbody's recreational use when it is determined that the statewide E. coli
criteria under subd. 1.
are inappropriate due to site-specific conditions. Once bacteria site-specific criteria are adopted in a rule and approved by U.S. EPA, those criteria supersede the statewide E. coli
criteria under subd. 1.
for that waterbody.
Any interested party may submit proposed bacteria site-specific criteria for a waterbody to the department for review and consideration. Any request for bacteria site-specific criteria must include a demonstration that the proposed site-specific criteria were developed using a U.S. EPA approved method, procedure, or test, are based on sound scientific rationale, and are as protective of the recreational use as the statewide E. coli
criteria in subd. 1.
A request for a less-stringent site-specific criteria must also demonstrate that the predominant source of the bacteria is non-human or non-fecal.
All surface waters shall be suitable for supporting public health and welfare.
Whenever the department determines a discharge of heated effluent is not exposed or situated in a manner that may pose a realistic potential for scalding of humans, the criterion specified in sub. (8) (c)
does not apply.
(8) Criteria for public health and welfare use. NR 102.04(8)(a)(a)
The criteria developed pursuant to ss. NR 105.08
shall be met regardless of whether the surface water is used for public drinking water supply or the applicable fish and aquatic life subcategory.
(b) Taste and odor criteria.
All surface waters providing public drinking water supplies or classified as cold water or warm water sport fish communities as described in sub. (3)
shall meet the taste and odor criteria specified or developed pursuant to s. NR 102.14
(c) Temperature criteria.
To protect humans from being scalded, the water temperature of a discharge may not exceed 120o
F unless specifically authorized under provisions in subchs. V
or VI of ch. NR 106
All surface waters shall be suitable for supporting wildlife.
NR 102.04 History
Cr. Register, September, 1973, No. 213
, eff. 10-1-73; am. (3), Register, December, 1977, No. 264
, eff. 1-1-78; renum. from NR 102.02, r. (3) (d) 1. to 3., and (5), renum. (3) (intro.) to (d) (intro.) and (e) and (4) to be (4) (intro.) to (e) and (5) and am. (4) (a), (d), (e) (intro.) and (5), cr. (6) and (7), Register, February, 1989, No. 398
, eff. 3-1-89; am. (3) (intro.), (6), (7), r. (3) (a), renum. (3) (b) to (f) to be (3) (a) to (e) and am. (3) (a), Register, August, 1997, No. 500
, eff. 9-1-97; CR 07-111
: am. (title), (1) (intro.), (2), (3) (intro.), (4) (title) and (a), r. (4) (b), (e) 1. and (5) to (7), renum. (4) (e) (intro.), 2. and 3. to be (4) (b) and am. (4) (b) (intro.), cr. (4) (e) and (5) to (9) Register September 2010 No. 657
, eff. 10-1-10; correction in (8) (c) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7.
, Stats., Register September 2010 No. 657
; CR 19-014
: am. (5) (a), r. and recr. (6) Register April 2020 No. 772
, eff. 5-1-20.
NR 102.05 Application of standards. NR 102.05(1)(a)(a)
No waters of the state shall be lowered in quality unless it has been affirmatively demonstrated to the department that such a change is justified as a result of necessary economic and social development, provided that no new or increased effluent interferes with or becomes injurious to any assigned uses made of or presently possible in such waters.
(b) Classification system.
For the purposes of this subsection, all surface waters of the state, or portions thereof, shall be classified as one of the following:
Water quality standards will not be maintained under all natural occurrences of flow, temperature, or other water quality characteristics. The determination of water quality based effluent limitations or other management practices shall be based upon the following conditions except as provided in ch. NR 106
for toxic and organoleptic substances and whole effluent toxicity:
The average minimum 7-day low streamflow which occurs once in 10 years (7-day Q10
In the case of dissolved oxygen and wherever sufficient data on streamflow and temperature are available, by application of a 0.274% level of nonattainment. This is equivalent to an expected nonattainment of the dissolved oxygen criterion of one day per year.
(3) Mixing zones.
Water quality standards shall be met at every point outside of a mixing zone. The size of the mixing zone shall be based on such factors as effluent quality and quantity, available dilution, temperature, current, type of outfall, channel configuration and restrictions to fish movement. For toxic and organoleptic substances with water quality criteria or secondary values specified in or developed pursuant to chs. NR 102
, allowable dilution shall be determined as specified in ch. NR 106
in addition to the requirements specified in this subsection. As a guide to the delineation of a mixing zone, the following shall be taken into consideration:
Limiting mixing zones to as small an area as practicable, and conforming to the time exposure responses of aquatic life.
Providing passageways for fish and other mobile aquatic organisms.
Where possible, mixing zones being no larger than 25% of the cross–sectional area or volume of flow of a flowing water body and not extending more than 50% of the width.
Final acute criteria and secondary values specified in or developed pursuant to s. NR 105.05
for the fish and aquatic life subcategory for which the receiving water is classified not being exceeded at any point in the mixing zone.
Mixing zones not exceeding 10% of an inland lake's total surface area.
Mixing zones not adversely impacting spawning or nursery areas, migratory routes, nor mouths of tributary streams.
Mixing zones not overlapping, but where they do, taking measures to prevent adverse synergistic effects.
Restricting the pH to values greater than 4.0 s.u. and to values less than 11.0 s.u. at any point in the mixing zone for the protection of indigenous fish and fish food organisms.
(5) Resource management exemptions.
Application of chemicals for water resource management purposes in accordance with statutory provisions is not subject to the requirements of the standards except in case of water used for public water supply.
The criteria in the Radiation Protection Code, s. DHS 157.44
, shall apply to the disposal and permissible concentrations of radioactive substances.
Methods used for analysis of samples shall be as set forth in ch. NR 219
unless alternative methods are specified by the department.
NR 102.05 History
Cr. Register, September, 1973, No. 213
, eff. 10-1-73; renum. (5) and (6) to be (6) and (7), cr. (5), Register, July, 1975, No. 235
, eff. 8-1-75; r. and recr. (3), Register, August, 1981, No. 308
, eff. 9-1-81; correction in (7) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., cr. (4) (h), Register, September, 1984, No. 345
, eff. 10-1-84; renum. from NR 102.03, r. (1), cr. (1) (b), renum. (2) to (7) to be (1) (a) to (6) and am. (2), (3) (intro.) and (d) and (6), Register, February, 1989, No. 398
, eff. 3-1-89; am. (1) (b) 3., (3) (intro.) and (d), Register, August, 1997, No. 500
, eff. 9-1-97; correction in (6) (a) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats. Register July 2006 No. 607
, eff. 8-1-06; correction in (6) (a) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register July 2010 No. 655
; CR 07-111
: am. (3) (intro.), (b), (c), (e) and (f), r. (4) Register September 2010 No. 657
, eff. 10-1-10.
This section identifies the water quality criteria for total phosphorus that shall be met in surface waters.
“Drainage lake" means a lake with an outlet stream that continually flows under average summer conditions based on the past 30 years.
“Ephemeral stream" means a channel or stream that only carries water for a few days during and after a rainfall or snowmelt event and does not exhibit a flow during other periods, and includes, but is not limited to, grassed waterways, grassed swales, and areas of channelized flow as defined in s. NR 243.03 (7)
“Mean water residence time" means the amount of time that a volume of water entering a waterbody will reside in that waterbody.
“Nearshore waters" means all waters of Lake Michigan or Lake Superior within the jurisdiction of the State of Wisconsin in the zone extending from the shore to a depth of 10 meters, based on the long-term mean elevation for Lake Superior of 183.4 meters (601.7 feet) and for Lake Michigan of 176.5 meters (579.0 feet).
“Open waters" mean all waters of Lake Michigan or Lake Superior within the jurisdiction of the State of Wisconsin with depths greater than nearshore waters.
“Reservoir" means a waterbody with a constructed outlet structure intended to impound water and raise the depth of the water by more than two times relative to the conditions prior to construction of the dam, and that has a mean water residence time of 14 days or more under summer mean flow conditions using information collected over or derived for a 30 year period.
“Seepage lake" means a lake that does not have an outlet stream that continually flows under average summer conditions based on the past 30 years.
“Stratified lake or reservoir" means a lake or reservoir where either of the following equations results in a value of greater than 3.8:
Maximum Depth (meters) — 0.1
Log10Lake Area (hectares)
Maximum Depth (feet)* 0.305 — 0.1
Log10Lake Area (acres) * 0.405
“Stratified two-story fishery lake" means a stratified lake which has supported a cold water fishery in its lower depths within the last 50 years.
“Total phosphorus" means all of the phosphorus in a water sample analyzed using the methods identified under the provisions of s. NR 219.04 (1)
(3) Streams and rivers.
To protect the fish and aquatic life uses established in s. NR 102.04 (3)
on rivers and streams that generally exhibit unidirectional flow, total phosphorus criteria are established as follows:
A total phosphorus criterion of 100 ug/L is established for the following rivers or other unidirectional flowing waters:
Apple River from the outlet of the Apple River Flowage in Amery to the St. Croix River, excluding Black Brook Flowage.
Bad River from confluence with the Marengo River within the Bad River Indian Reservation downstream to Lake Superior.
Baraboo River from highway 58 in La Valle to the Wisconsin River.
Bark River from confluence with Scuppernong River near Hebron to the Rock River.
Black River from confluence with Cunningham Creek near Neillsville to Mississippi River, excluding Lake Arbutus.
Brule River from state highway 55 in Forest County downstream to Menominee River.
Buffalo River from confluence with Harvey Creek near Mondovi to Mississippi River.
Chippewa River from Lake Chippewa in Sawyer County to Mississippi River, excluding Holcombe Flowage, Cornell Flowage, Old Abe Lake, Lake Wissota and Dells Pond.
Crawfish River from confluence with Beaver Dam River to Rock River.
East Branch Pecatonica River from confluence with Apple Branch Creek near Argyle to Pecatonica River.