Register March 2011 No. 663
Chapter NR 121
AREAWIDE WATER QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLANS
Structure of the state water quality management plan.
Content of areawide water quality management plans.
Designation of areawide water quality planning areas and agencies.
Procedures for approval of areawide water quality management plans and plan revisions for designated areas of the state.
Procedures for adoption and revision of areawide water quality management plans for nondesignated areas of the state.
Statewide water quality advisory committee.
NR 121.01 Purpose.
Under the authority of ss. 281.11
, and 283.83
, Stats., this chapter establishes regulations specifying policies, procedures, and requirements for Wisconsin's areawide water quality planning process. This process will result in the preparation throughout the state of areawide plans for managing the quality of waters of the state, ground and surface, public and private, including consideration of the relationship of water quality to land and water resources and uses. Under the above state statutory authority, the department of natural resources has the responsibility for the general supervision of this continuing water pollution control planning process. In areas of the state designated by the governor, the preparation of areawide water quality management plans is the responsibility of designated areawide water quality planning agencies. In the remaining areas of the state, the department will prepare areawide water quality management plans. The purpose of this planning process is to systematically evaluate alternative means of achieving state and federal water quality goals and related standards. This planning process integrates consideration of both the technical measures for water pollution abatement and the management arrangements necessary for implementing abatement measures. Public participation will be provided for throughout plan development.
NR 121.01 History
Cr. Register, January, 1979, No. 277
, eff. 2-1-78; am. Register, August, 1981, No. 308
, eff. 9-1-81; corrections made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register March 2011 No. 663.
NR 121.02 Applicability.
This chapter is applicable to areawide water quality management plans as prepared by both the state and designated areawide water quality planning agencies.
NR 121.02 History
Cr. Register, January, 1979, No. 277
, eff. 2-1-79.
Areawide water quality management plan" or areawide waste treatment management plan means a plan for managing, protecting and enhancing groundwater and surface water quality which considers the interrelationship of water quality and land and water resources on an areawide basis (hydrologic, political, or other).
“Areawide water quality management plans for designated areas" means areawide water quality management plans prepared by agencies designated by the governor in areas of the state similarly designated.
“Areawide water quality management plans for nondesignated areas" means areawide water quality management plans prepared by the department for all areas of the state not designated by the governor.
“Best management practices" as defined in s. 281.65 (2) (a)
, Stats., means practices, techniques or measures, identified in areawide water quality management plans, which are determined to be the most effective, practicable means of preventing or reducing pollutants generated from nonpoint sources to a level compatible with water quality goals.
“Cost-effectiveness analysis" means a systematic comparison of alternative means of meeting state water quality standards, effluent limitations or other treatment standards in order to identify the alternative which will minimize the total resources costs over the planning period. These resources costs include monetary costs and environmental as well as other non-monetary costs.
“Critical water quality conditions" means those ambient water conditions upon which the most stringent water quality effluent requirements are based.
“Department" means the department of natural resources.
“Designated management agency" means any agency designated in an areawide water quality management plan having responsibility for implementing specific plan recommendations. This may be done through direct activities of the designated management agency or through delegation to other agencies or units of government.
“Effluent limitation" as defined in s. 283.01 (6)
, Stats., means any restriction established by the department, including schedules of compliance, on quantities, rates, and concentrations of chemical, physical, biological, and other constituents which are discharged from point sources into the waters of this state.
“Point source", as defined in s. 283.01 (12)
, Stats., means any discernible, confined and discrete conveyance, including but not limited to any pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, conduit, well, discrete fissure, container, rolling stock, concentrated animal feeding operation or vessel or other floating craft from which pollutants may be discharged either into the waters of this state or into a publicly owned treatment works. Point source shall not include diffused surface drainage or any ditch or channel which serves only to intermittently drain excess surface water from rain or melting snow and is not used as a means of conveying pollutants into waters of the state. Point source shall not include uncontrolled discharges composed entirely of storm runoff when these discharges are uncontaminated by any industrial or commercial activity, unless the particular storm runoff discharge has been identified by the department as a significant contributor of pollution.
“Priority watershed" means a watershed of manageable size, delineated in the areawide water quality management plan and selected according to the procedures specified in s. NR 121.07
“Public participation process" means those activities developed for involving individual members of the public, local governmental officials, and interest groups in the areawide water quality management planning process. These activities may include: the dissemination of information to the public including plan documents and summaries in lay terms, outreach activities to identify interested members of the public, the actual involvement of the public in the decision-making process which leads to the preparation and implementation of an areawide water quality management plan, and response to the public on how their input was used. This process normally includes both public meetings and public informational hearings.
“Nonpoint source" as set forth in s. 281.65 (2) (b)
, Stats., means a land management or use activity contributing to runoff, seepage or percolation; and are sources which are not defined as a point source under s. 283.01 (12)
“Residual wastes" means waste materials resulting from the treatment of wastes or wastewater.
“Sewer service area" means that area presently served and anticipated to be served by a sewage collection system.
“Total maximum daily load" means the amount of pollutants specified as a function of one or more water quality parameters, that can be discharged per day into a water quality limited segment and still insure attainment of the applicable water quality standard. There are 4 components to the total maximum daily load: point source allocation, nonpoint source allocation, reserve capacity and margin of safety.
“Waste load allocation" means the assignment of a portion of the total maximum daily load to each of the discharges to a water quality limited segment, such that the summation of these individual loadings does not exceed the total maximum daily load.
“Water pollution", as defined in s. 283.01 (14)
, Stats., means man-made or man-induced alteration of the chemical, physical, biological or radiological integrity of water.
“Water quality standards" means standards established by the department pursuant to s. 281.15
, Stats., of the physical, chemical or biological characteristics or both of a water which must be maintained to make it suitable for specified uses.
“Water quality limited segment" means any area or portion of a stream which will not meet the established water quality standard with application of only categorical effluent limitations to all point sources.
“Watershed" means a hydrologically related land unit delineated for the purpose of instituting water quality management activities. Generally, the maximum size of a watershed should not exceed 200,000 acres.
NR 121.03 History
Cr. Register, January, 1979, No. 277
, eff. 2-1-79; am. (1), (19) and (20), r. and recr. (6), r. (10), renum. (11) and (12) to be (10) and (11), renum. (13) to be (12) and am., cr. (13), Register, August, 1981, No. 308
, eff. 9-1-81;
corrections in (4), (9), (10), (11), (13), (18), (19) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register March 2011 No. 663.
NR 121.04 Structure of the state water quality management plan. NR 121.04(1)(1)
The state continuing process required under s. 283.83
, Stats., consists of the development of, and regular review and revision of the state water quality management plan.
The state water quality management plan consists of:
Areawide water quality management plans for areas designated by the governor and prepared by agencies similarly designated.
Areawide water quality management plans for nondesignated areas prepared by the department for the remainder of the state.
A document describing the state's areawide water quality management planning process. This document shall describe the interrelationship among the various elements in the planning process. These elements include:
Areawide water quality management plans for designated and nondesignated areas of the state.
Topical studies which analyze water quality policies or issues of statewide concern.
Effluent limitations and waste load allocations required to meet water quality standards.
An inventory and priority ranking of wastewater treatment plant construction needs for the purpose of distributing state and federal grant funds.
Controls for the disposition of residual wastes from wastewater treatment processes.
NR 121.04 History
Cr. Register, January, 1979, No. 277
, eff. 2-1-79; am. (2) (c) 1., Register, August, 1981, No. 308
, eff. 9-1-81; correction in (1) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b), Stats., Register March 2011 No. 663.
NR 121.05 Content of areawide water quality management plans. NR 121.05(1)(1)
Subject to sub. (2)
, the following elements shall be included in each areawide water quality management plan prepared or approved by the department.
(a) Planning area boundaries.
The delineation in map form of the area for which the plan is being prepared.
(b) Water quality assessment.
An assessment of existing and potential water quality problems within the planning area including a general assessment of both point and nonpoint sources of pollution contributing to the problems.
Population forecasts for 20 years in 5-year increments developed in the following manner:
The state population forecast for the state water quality management plan shall be consistent with that generated by the Wisconsin department of administration (DOA) and with the forecast provided by the U.S. department of commerce, bureau of economic analysis (BEA).
Single county forecasts prepared by multi-county regional planning agencies (established in s. 66.0309
, Stats.) for the purpose of areawide water quality management planning shall be consistent with the range of the regional forecast generated by DOA. Single county forecasts prepared by single county planning agencies shall be expressed within the range of the county forecast generated by DOA. Single county forecasts inconsistent with the range of DOA regional forecasts and single family [county] forecasts falling outside of the range provided by DOA may be used if special approval is obtained from the natural resources board.
NR 121.05 Note
Note: Due to an apparent error, “family" was substituted for “county" in Natural Resources Board Order No. WQ-55-80, which amended subd. 1. b.
The population forecasting methodology used by designated regional or county planning agencies to apportion county forecasts to minor civil divisions (MCD) and individual sewer service areas shall be consistent with standards developed by DOA. If these agencies do not prepare MCD forecasts, the department will request that DOA do so. If DOA chooses not to prepare MCD forecasts, the department will do so.
Existing and projected land use patterns including the delineation of sewer service areas as described in par. (g)
(d) Water quality standards.
Applicable state water quality standards and any suggested revision of such water quality standards.
(e) Total maximum daily loads.
For each water quality limited segment, the total allowable maximum daily load of pollutants during critical water quality conditions for each specific water quality criterion being violated or expected to be violated.
(f) Waste load allocations.
For each water quality limited segment, the individual load allocation for point sources of pollutants for the 5-year period following plan preparation.
(g) Nonindustrial wastewater treatment and collection system plan. NR 121.05(1)(g)1.1.
The most cost-effective regional wastewater systems for all urban areas shall be identified over a 20-year planning period based upon an analysis of alternative waste treatment system configurations. Wherever possible, applicable recommendations of approved facility plans shall be used to determine the urban area's treatment needs. This analysis shall be consistent with s. NR 110.09
, and shall include a cost-effectiveness analysis of regional versus individual treatment plants for the outlying areas including subsurface waste disposal systems. Water quality and other environmental impacts shall be considered.
Sewage collection system needs shall be identified through the delineation of a sewer service area for existing and proposed treatment systems for the 20-year planning period such that:
The sewer service area is determined in such a fashion as to promote cost-effective and environmentally sound waste collection and treatment.
The sewer service areas are delineated based on a 20-year population forecast approved by the department, and municipally approved population density standards.
Major areas unsuitable for the installation of waste treatment systems because of physical or environmental constraints are to be excluded from the service area. Areas to be considered for exclusion from the sewer service area because of the potential for adverse impacts on the quality of the waters of the state from both point and nonpoint sources of pollution include but are not limited to wetlands, shorelands, floodways and floodplains, steep slopes, highly erodible soils and other limiting soil types, groundwater recharge areas, and other such physical constraints.
Ten-year service area boundaries may also be included in addition to the 20-year sewer service boundaries.