Register May 2020 No. 773
Chapter NR 102
WATER QUALITY STANDARDS FOR WISCONSIN SURFACE WATERS
Subchapter I — General
Categories of surface water uses and criteria.
Application of standards.
Outstanding resource waters.
Exceptional resource waters.
Great Lakes system.
Fish and aquatic life waters.
Taste and odor criteria.
Subchapter II — Water Quality Standards for Temperature
Categories of standards applicable to temperature.
General water quality criteria for temperature.
Temperature criteria for limited aquatic life communities.
Ambient temperatures and water quality criteria for the protection of fish and other aquatic life.
Site-specific ambient temperatures.
Site-specific water quality criteria.
Cold shock standard.
Rate of temperature change standard.
Variances to water quality standards for temperature.
Ch. NR 102 Note
Chapter NR 102 as it existed on September 30, 1973 was repealed and a new chapter NR 102 was created, effective October 1, 1973.
Corrections made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, August, 1997, No. 500
The purpose of this chapter is to establish, in conjunction with chs. NR 103
, water quality standards for surface waters of the state pursuant to s. 281.15
, Stats. This chapter describes the designated use categories for such waters and the water quality criteria necessary to support these uses. This chapter and chs. NR 103
constitute the water quality standards for the surface waters of Wisconsin.
The long-range goal of Wisconsin water quality standards is to protect the use of water resources for all lawful purposes. Water quality standards shall protect the public interest, which includes the protection of public health and welfare and the present and prospective uses of all waters of the state for public and private water supplies, propagation of fish and other aquatic life and wild and domestic animals, domestic and recreational purposes, and agricultural, commercial, industrial, and other legitimate uses. In all cases where the potential uses are in conflict, water quality standards shall protect the general public interest.
Water quality standards serve as a basis for developing and implementing control strategies to achieve legislative policies and goals. Water quality standards are the basis for deriving water quality based effluent limitations and the limitations shall be determined to attain and maintain uses and criteria, unless more stringent effluent limitations are established to protect downstream waters. Water quality standards also serve as a basis for decisions in other regulatory, permitting or funding activities that impact water quality.
NR 102.01 History
Cr. Register, February, 1989, No. 398
, eff. 3-1-89; CR 07-111
: am. (1), (2) and (3) Register September 2010 No. 657
, eff. 10-1-10.
NR 102.02 Applicability.
The provisions of this chapter are applicable to surface waters of Wisconsin.
NR 102.02 History
Cr. Register, February, 1989, No. 398
, eff. 3-1-89.
NR 102.03 Definitions.
In this chapter, the following definitions are applicable to terms used:
“Ambient temperature" means the typical existing temperature of a surface water outside the direct influence of any point source discharge, which may include daily and seasonal changes.
“Mixing zone" means a region in which a discharge of different characteristics than the receiving water is in transit and progressively diluted from the source to the receiving system.
“Natural conditions" means the normal daily and seasonal variations in climatic and atmospheric conditions, and the existing physical and chemical characteristics of a water or the course in which it flows.
“Natural temperature" means the normal existing temperature of a surface water including daily and seasonal changes outside the zone of influence of any artificial inputs.
“Resource management" means the application of control techniques to enhance or preserve a surface water in accordance with statutory provisions and in the general public interest.
“Surface waters" means all natural and artificial named and unnamed lakes and all naturally flowing streams within the boundaries of the state, but not including cooling lakes, farm ponds and facilities constructed for the treatment of wastewaters (the term waters as used in this chapter means surface waters).
“Unauthorized concentrations of substances" means pollutants or other chemicals introduced into surface waters without prior permit or knowledge of the department, but not including accidental or unintentional spills.
U.S. EPA” means the United States environmental protection agency.
NR 102.03 History
Cr. Register, September, 1973, No. 213
, eff. 10-1-73; r. (1), renum. from NR 102.01, Register, February, 1989, No. 398
, eff. 3-1-89; cr. (10), Register, May, 1993, No. 449
, eff. 6-1-93; CR 07-111
: cr. (intro.) and (1), r. (8) to (10), renum. (1) to (7) to be (2) to (8) Register September 2010 No. 657
, eff. 10-1-10; CR 19-014
: renum. (6) to NR 210.03 (10m), cr. (9) Register April 2020 No. 772
, eff. 5-1-20.
NR 102.04 Categories of surface water uses and criteria. NR 102.04(1)(1)
To preserve and enhance the quality of waters, surface water uses and criteria are established to govern water management decisions. Practices attributable to municipal, industrial, commercial, domestic, agricultural, land development or other activities shall be controlled so that all surface waters including the mixing zone meet the following conditions at all times and under all flow and water level conditions:
Substances that will cause objectionable deposits on the shore or in the bed of a body of water, shall not be present in such amounts as to interfere with public rights in waters of the state.
Floating or submerged debris, oil, scum or other material shall not be present in such amounts as to interfere with public rights in waters of the state.
Materials producing color, odor, taste or unsightliness shall not be present in such amounts as to interfere with public rights in waters of the state.
Substances in concentrations or combinations which are toxic or harmful to humans shall not be present in amounts found to be of public health significance, nor shall substances be present in amounts which are acutely harmful to animal, plant or aquatic life.
(2) Revised uses and criteria.
The following uses and criteria may be revised as new information or advancing technology indicate that revisions are in the public interest. Water used for hydropower and commercial shipping depends mainly on quantity, depth and elevation; consequently, no specific quality criteria for these uses have been prepared.
(3) Fish and other aquatic life uses.
All surface waters shall belong in one of the fish and other aquatic life subcategories described in this subsection. Only those use subcategories identified in pars. (a)
shall be considered suitable for the protection and propagation of a balanced fish and other aquatic life community as provided in the federal water pollution control act amendments of 1972, P.L. 92-500
; 33 USC 1251
(a) Cold water communities.
This subcategory includes surface waters capable of supporting a community of cold water fish and other aquatic life, or serving as a spawning area for cold water fish species. This subcategory includes, but is not restricted to, surface waters identified as trout water by the department of natural resources (Wisconsin Trout Streams, publication 6-3600 (80)).
(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.