Register February 2021 No. 782
Chapter NR 140
Subchapter I — General
Subchapter II — Groundwater Quality Standards
Public health related groundwater standards.
Public welfare related groundwater standards.
Monitoring and laboratory data requirements.
Subchapter III — Evaluation and Response Procedures
Indicator parameter groundwater standards.
Point of standards application for design and compliance.
Responses when a preventive action limit is attained or exceeded.
Responses when an enforcement standard is attained or exceeded.
Responses when an enforcement standard is attained or exceeded at a location other than a point of standards application.
NR 140.01 Purpose.
The purpose of this chapter is to establish groundwater quality standards for substances detected in or having a reasonable probability of entering the groundwater resources of the state; to specify scientifically valid procedures for determining if a numerical standard has been attained or exceeded; to specify procedures for establishing points of standards application, and for evaluating groundwater monitoring data; to establish ranges of responses the department may require if a groundwater standard is attained or exceeded; and to provide for exemptions for facilities, practices and activities regulated by the department.
NR 140.01 History
Cr. Register, September, 1985, No. 357
, eff. 10-1-85.
This chapter supplements the regulatory authority elsewhere in the statutes and administrative rules. The department will continue to exercise the powers and duties in those regulatory programs, consistent with the enforcement standards and preventive action limits for substances in groundwater under this chapter. This chapter provides guidelines and procedures for the exercise of regulatory authority which is established elsewhere in the statutes and administrative rules, and does not create independent regulatory authority.
The department may adopt regulations which establish specific design and management criteria for regulated facilities or activities, if the regulations will ensure that the regulated facilities and activities will not cause the concentration of a substance in groundwater affected by the facilities or activities to exceed the enforcement standards and preventive action limits under this chapter at a point of standards application. The department may adopt more stringent regulations under authority elsewhere in the statutes based on the best currently available technology for regulated activities and practices which ensure a greater degree of groundwater protection or when necessary to comply with state or federal laws.
Preventive action limits serve to inform the department of potential groundwater contamination problems, establish the level of groundwater contamination at which the department is required to commence efforts to control the contamination and provide a basis for design and management practice criteria in administrative rules. Preventive action limits are applicable both to controlling new releases of contamination as well as to restoring groundwater quality contaminated by past releases of contaminants. Although a preventive action limit is not intended to always require remedial action, activities affecting groundwater must be regulated to minimize the level of substances to the extent technically and economically feasible, and to maintain compliance with the preventive action limits unless compliance with the preventive action limits is not technically and economically feasible.
The department may take any actions within the context of regulatory programs established in statutes or rules outside of this chapter, if those actions are necessary to protect public health and welfare or prevent a significant damaging effect on groundwater or surface water quality for present or future consumptive or nonconsumptive uses, whether or not an enforcement standard and preventive action limit for a substance have been adopted under this chapter. Nothing in this chapter authorizes an impact on groundwater quality which would cause surface water quality standards contained in chs. NR 102
to be attained or exceeded.
NR 140.02 History
Cr. Register, January, 1992, No. 433
, eff. 2-1-92; reprinted to restore dropped copy, Register, March, 1992, No. 435
NR 140.03 Applicability.
This subchapter and subch. II
apply to all facilities, practices, and activities which may affect groundwater quality and which are regulated under chs. 85
, and 292
, Stats., by the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection, the department of safety and professional services, the department of transportation, or the department of natural resources, as well as to facilities, practices, and activities which may affect groundwater quality which are regulated by other regulatory agencies. Health-related enforcement standards adopted in s. NR 140.10
also apply to bottled drinking water manufactured, bottled, sold, or distributed in this state as required by s. 97.34 (2) (b)
, Stats., and to determining eligibility for the well compensation program under s. 281.75
, Stats. Subchapter III
applies to all facilities, practices, and activities which may affect groundwater quality and which are regulated by the department under ch. 281
, or 299
, Stats. This chapter applies to ferrous metallic mining operations and mining sites, including mining waste sites, as defined in s. 295.41 (31)
, Stats., but only to the extent that it does not conflict with subch. III of ch. 295
, Stats. Groundwater quality standards, consisting of enforcement standards and preventive action limits contained in ss. NR 140.10
, and preventive action limits for indicator parameters identified under s. NR 140.20 (2)
, apply to ferrous metallic mining operations and mining sites, as defined in s. 295.41 (31)
, Stats., including mining waste sites, regulated under subch. III of ch. 295
, Stats. This chapter does not apply to any facilities, practices, or activities on a nonferrous metallic mining prospecting site or mining site regulated under ch. 293
, Stats., because those facilities, practices, and activities are subject to the groundwater quality requirements of chs. NR 131
, and 182
. The department may promulgate new rules or amend rules governing facilities, practices or activities regulated under ch. 293
, Stats., if the department determines that the amendment or promulgation of rules is necessary to protect public health, safety, or welfare. The requirements of this chapter are in addition to the requirements of any other statutes and rules, except as provided in s. 295.645 (9)
NR 140.03 Note
The groundwater standards in this chapter do not replace the maximum contaminant levels applicable to public water systems contained in ch. NR 809
. Drinking water maximum contaminant levels and health advisory levels may take into account such factors as treatment costs and feasibility for public water systems.
NR 140.03 History
Cr. Register, September, 1985, No. 357
, eff. 10-1-85; am. Register, December, 1998, No. 516
, eff. 1-1-99; correction made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, March, 2000, No. 531
; correction made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 6., Stats., Register January 2012 No. 673
; CR 13-057
: am. Register July 2015 No. 715
, eff. 8-1-15.
“Accuracy" means the closeness of a measured value to its generally accepted value or its value based upon an accepted reference standard.
“Alternative concentration limit" means the concentration of a substance in groundwater established by the department for a site to replace a preventive action limit or enforcement standard or both, from Table 1 or 2, when an exemption is granted in accordance with s. NR 140.28
“Approval" means written acceptance by the department of a plan, report or other document that has been submitted to the department for review.
“Aquifer storage recovery" or “ASR" means placement of treated drinking water underground through a well for the purpose of storing and later recovering the water through the same well for potable use.
NR 140.05 Note
Note: Underground placement of water for the purpose of restoring an aquifer is not included in the definition of “aquifer storage recovery" or “ASR".
“ASR displacement zone" means the 3-dimensional subsurface region surrounding an aquifer storage recovery well into which treated drinking water is placed for storage and later recovery.
“ASR system" means all of the ASR wells, ASR monitoring wells and related appurtenances within a municipal well system and any interconnected public water system served by the municipal water system.
“Attain or exceed" means that the concentration of a substance is determined to be equal to or greater than the preventive action limit or enforcement standard for that substance.
“Background water quality" or “background concentration" means groundwater quality at or near a facility, practice or activity which has not been affected by that facility, practice or activity.
“Certified laboratory" means a laboratory which performs tests for hire in connection with a covered program and which receives certification under s. 299.11 (7)
, Stats., or receives reciprocal recognition under s. 299.11 (5)
“Department" means the department of natural resources.
“Design management zone" means a 3-dimensional boundary surrounding each regulated facility, practice or activity established under s. NR 140.22 (3)
“Enforcement standard" means a numerical value expressing the concentration of a substance in groundwater which is adopted under s. 160.07
, Stats., and s. NR 140.10
or s. 160.09
, Stats., and s. NR 140.12
“Facility, practice or activity" means any source or potential source of a substance which is detected in or has a reasonable probability of entering the groundwater resources of the state.
“Groundwater" means any of the waters of the state, as defined in s. 281.01 (18)
, Stats., occurring in a saturated subsurface geological formation of rock or soil.
“Indicator parameter" means a substance for which a preventive action limit has been established under s. NR 140.20
, which is used to indicate the potential for a preventive action limit established under s. NR 140.10
to be attained or exceeded and for which an enforcement standard has not been established under s. NR 140.10
“Infiltration" means the underground emplacement of substances or remedial material, or both, into an excavation that is wider than deep so as to percolate or move through unsaturated material to groundwater.
“Injection" means the underground emplacement of substances or remedial material, or both, into a borehole or other excavation that is deeper than wide so as to percolate or move through unsaturated material to groundwater or to enter groundwater directly.
“Land disposal system" means a facility for disposing of liquid wastes consisting of:
“Limit of detection" means the lowest concentration level that can be determined to be statistically different from a blank.
“Limit of quantitation" means the level above which quantitative results may be obtained with a specified degree of confidence.