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COVID-19: Environmental Compliance Process

We at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources want you to know we are here for you in the event that you have an environmental compliance concern at your site or facility.

During this COVID-19 timeframe, all state statutes and regulations remain in effect and all entities should make every effort to comply with their environmental compliance obligations. Where full compliance is not reasonably practicable, Wisconsin DNR is providing a case-by-case request process, described below, to provide compliance assistance, where possible.

Regulated entities should be aware that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the COVID-19 Implications for EPA's Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program temporary policy memo that addresses this topic at a federal level. This federal policy was in effect until August 31, 2020; Wisconsin DNR did not adopt this policy, rather is using this compliance assistance process.

In Wisconsin, where regulated entities will have an unavoidable noncompliance situation or are seeking approval in advance for compliance assistance, the DNR recommends the following steps.

  • If you have a spill or compliance problem that poses an imminent or actual threat to health or the environment, report it immediately upon discovery by calling toll-free 1-800-943-0003 (select #1 when prompted). This number is monitored 24 hours a day.
  • If your regulatory, non-compliance situation does not pose an imminent or actual threat to public health or the environment, DNR directs the regulated entity to request compliance assistance in advance from the DNR by contacting your DNR compliance person or project manager for your site or facility, and provide the DNR with the information listed below via email.

Request for compliance assistance via email

Regulated entities are encouraged to work with their DNR contact (compliance contact, responsible supervisor, or other primary DNR contact) who may be able to offer timely compliance assistance, especially for potential noncompliance related to routing compliance monitoring and reporting. This process is to be used for actual site or facility compliance situations, rather than "what if" inquiries.

Emails directly to DNR staff will be monitored daily during business hours and the DNR will work diligently to review and respond to incoming requests from regulated entities expeditiously. Written approval from the DNR is required prior to implementing alternative measures. The requests for compliance assistance sent by email to your DNR contact should at a minimum include the following information.

  1. Name of the facility/site
  2. Contact information for the central point of contact for the facility/site:
    1. Name of person notifying
    2. Address
    3. City/Town
    4. State/Province
    5. Zip/Postal Code
    6. Email Address
    7. Phone Number
    8. Primary DNR Contact for Site or Facility
  3. State what specific statute/rule/permit condition the individual party is looking for flexibility from.
  4. Include the reasoning/rationale for the request.
  5. Include bulleted points of what measures will be taken to mitigate/minimize the potential environmental impacts (if any).
  6. Specify the specific time period that the request is for including the rationale.

Where alternative compliance options are authorized by the DNR in writing, regulated entities must maintain records adequate to document implementation of authorized alternative compliance options and activities related to the noncompliance.

The DNR will work as quickly as possible with an individual party on a solution in response to the compliance assistance request. Requests can be amended by sending another email if something has been approved for a specific time period needing an extension or if a change to approved compliance options is required.