NR 809 safe drinking water standards update
New State Maximum Contaminant Levels for Drinking Water
On Aug. 1, 2022, the state's safe drinking water code ch. NR 809 Wis. Adm. Code was revised to include standards for two new compounds in the perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) group. The new Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) standards are for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). The new Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) standards are for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). The new MCLs are set at 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for each contaminant individually or combined. Adding these new MCLs followed a 30-month process that included public input, economic impact analysis and legislative approval.
The EPA and numerous states, including Wisconsin, have identified PFAS as a persistent contaminant threatening the environment, including surface water and groundwater. PFAS in surface water and groundwater sources are a threat to public health, welfare and safety in obtaining drinking water. Establishing drinking water standards for certain PFAS contaminants in this rule will protect public health. If MCLs are exceeded, a corrective action plan must be implemented to maintain protection of public health, welfare and safety in drinking water.
NR 809 Updates Webinar - Oct. 20, 2022
Initial Monitoring Timeline
- For community and non-transient, non-community systems serving a population of 50,000 or more, monitoring begins on Oct. 1, 2022 – Dec. 31, 2022.
- For community and non-transient, non-community systems serving a population of 10,000 to 49,999, monitoring begins on Jan. 1, 2023 – March 1, 2023.
- For community and non-transient, non-community systems serving a population of 300 to 9,999, monitoring begins on April 1, 2023 – June 30, 2023.
- For community and non-transient, non-community systems serving a population of 50 to 299, monitoring begins on July 1, 2023 – Sep. 30, 2023.
- For community and non-transient, non-community systems serving a population of less than 50, monitoring begins on Oct. 1, 2023 – Dec. 31, 2023.
Please note: waivers may be available to reduce initial and routine monitoring requirements.
Additional Public Noticing Requirements
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has recommended health-based groundwater standards for 18 PFAS compounds as well as issued guidance for assessing risk of mixtures of PFAS compounds in drinking water using a hazard index tool. PFAS in drinking water above these levels pose potential serious adverse effects on human health. In situations where PFAS compounds exceed DHS recommendations but are below the MCL of 70 ppt, DNR will require public water systems to issue a Tier 2 public notice per Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 809.950(3)(c)5. and NR 809.950(4).
Wisconsin Department of Health Services - PFAS Chemical Information
PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals that have been used since the 1950s; PFOA and PFOS are the most widely produced and studied of these chemicals. These compounds may still be found in everyday consumer products, such as some grease-resistant paper, nonstick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, cleaning products and other personal care products, like shampoo and nail polish.
EPA - PFAS Explained
PFAS are widely used, long-lasting chemicals which break down very slowly over time. Because of their widespread use and their persistence in the environment, many PFAS are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment.
They can be present in our water, soil, air and food as well as in materials found in our homes or workplaces, including:
- Drinking water – in public drinking water systems and private drinking water wells.
- Soil and water at or near waste sites – at landfills, disposal sites and hazardous waste sites such as those that fall under the federal Superfund and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act programs.
- Fire extinguishing foam – in aqueous film-forming foams used to extinguish flammable liquid-based fires. Such foams are used in training and emergency response events at airports, shipyards, military bases, firefighting training facilities, chemical plants and refineries.
- Manufacturing or chemical production facilities that produce or use PFAS – for example, at chrome plating, electronics and certain textile and paper manufacturers.
- Food – for example, fish caught from water contaminated by PFAS and dairy products from livestock exposed to PFAS.
- Food packaging – for example, in grease-resistant paper, fast food containers/wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes and candy wrappers.
- Household products and dust – for example, in stain and water-repellent used on carpets, upholstery, clothing and other fabrics; cleaning products; non-stick cookware; paints, varnishes and sealants.
- Personal care products – for example, in certain shampoo, dental floss and cosmetics.
- Biosolids – for example, fertilizer from wastewater treatment plants used on agricultural lands can affect ground and surface water and animals that graze on the land.
Wisconsin Certified PFAS Labs
The following list of labs is certified by the State of Wisconsin to analyze PFAS compounds for the requirements of this new regulation. Labs approved for testing.
EPA Approved PFAS Labs
The following list of labs is approved by the EPA to analyze PFAS compounds using the EPA's testing methods. These labs are acceptable to use for the requirements of this new regulation. Labs approved for testing.
PFAS MCL Rulemaking Timeline
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Rule change process, public input and timeline
The DNR creates and revises administrative rules to implement statutes enacted by the Wisconsin State Legislature. Administrative rules have the full force and effect of law.
Rulemaking is an extensive process and there are many internal steps that the DNR and the NRB must follow during a rulemaking effort. Public participation is a critical component of agency rulemaking. There are numerous opportunities to participate in the DNR rulemaking process. For permanent rules, the entire process generally takes about 31 months from initiation to effective date of rule revisions.
Given the amount of public interest in this effort and its potential economic impacts, the DNR convened a series of stakeholder meetings to provide guidance on the rule changes.
Meetings were held in winter 2020 through spring 2021. Meeting dates, times and locations are listed in the table below. The meetings were public noticed, and prior to each meeting, the department provided an agenda and any materials for review.
The stakeholder meetings were open to the public. When the meetings were completed, there was additional opportunities for public input and comments throughout the remainder of the rulemaking process.
|Oct. 9, 2020||
This meeting was held remotely via Zoom only
|Sept. 23, 2020||This meeting was held remotely via Zoom only, following Gov. Tony Evers' order limiting the size of gatherings due to the risk of COVID-19||
|July 14, 2020||This meeting was held remotely via Zoom only, following Gov. Tony Evers' order limiting the size of gatherings due to the risk of COVID-19|
|March 23, 2020||This meeting was held remotely via Zoom only, following Gov. Tony Evers' order limiting the size of gatherings due to the risk of COVID-19|
|Feb. 6, 2020||Madison
State Natural Resources Building (GEF2)
101 S Webster St