Standards Provide Baseline for Water Quality Protections


As part of the effort to address groundwater issues and protect drinking water and public health across Wisconsin, DNR worked with public and agricultural stakeholders, state agencies, and state political representatives to update ch. NR 151, Wis. Adm. Code (“NR 151”).

The updated NR 151 includes targeted performance standards with restrictions for manure application in areas of the state with Silurian bedrock at a depth less than 20 feet below ground. Silurian dolomite bedrock has the capacity to allow rapid transport of contaminants (like pathogens) without attenuation. Targeted performance standards are designed to minimize the risk of pathogens in groundwater and reduce pathogen contamination exceeding groundwater water quality standards.

Because the manure spreading requirements in NR 151 vary depending on the depth to Silurian dolomite bedrock, in-field verification of the depth of bedrock is presented in the rule. Through the Standards Oversight Council (SOC) process, DATCP is creating a technical standard for verifying land features such as depth to bedrock and closed depressions.

In general, technical standards provide minimum criteria to implement a conservation practice for stormwater runoff in urban and agricultural settings. The SOC process brings together multiple federal, state, and local agencies and other stakeholders to reach collective goals of water quality protection. Technical standards are reviewed and updated with broad stakeholder and public input.

The SOC team developing DATCP Standard 01 Verification of Land Features began meeting in February 2019 and will continue to meet monthly until the standard is completed. The standard will establish valid methods and technologies for taking measurements, the appropriate scale for identifying features, and the qualifications of persons who may perform verification.

This team is examining existing research, considering new technologies, and will be considering input from expert and public review. To learn more about progress on this standard team, visit the team’s website.

SOC is also currently working on developing a new DNR Standard 1010 Proprietary Filtration Devices and updating DNR Standard 1061 Dewatering. This past winter, standards were published for numerous Minor Process updates to NRCS standards.

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