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Historic and current waste disposal sites

Historic and current waste disposal site information may be important to individuals considering land purchases, governments planning redevelopment, businesses planning expansion and well drillers planning well installation.

The primary source of current and historic waste disposal site information in Wisconsin is the Solid and Hazardous Waste Information Management System (SHWIMS).

Other sources of information include the following:

  • Lists of current licensed or approved landfills in Wisconsin
  • Historic Registry of Waste Disposal Sites for historical sites not in SHWIMS
  • Wisconsin’s Remediation and Redevelopment Database (WRRD)
  • Drinking and Groundwater Program’s Well Driller Viewer

These additional resources are discussed further below.

List of current licensed or approved landfills

Lists of licensed or approved landfills in table or interactive format

Historic Registry of Waste Disposal Sites

Registry screening process

Prior to development of online databases, the Department of Natural Resources provided public information about old waste disposal facilities in a printed publication called the Historic Registry of Waste Disposal Sites. Beginning in 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided funding for DNR to review the 4,100 entries in the 1999 version of the Registry to evaluate the accuracy and significance of the information. These reviews included both site visits and review of available state files.

Many sites were already licensed and entered into the Solid and Hazardous Waste Information Management System (SHWIMS) if waste disposal was known. New sites were added to SHWIMS if file information showed that waste disposal had occurred, but no license was issued.

Many screened registry entries were archived if:

  • no evidence of waste was found;
  • the waste was removed;
  • the waste is no longer regulated;
  • there was no credible evidence that the site existed; or
  • the information was duplicative.

The Registry spreadsheet is still publicly available on this webpage because some information in the Registry, particularly for southeastern Wisconsin, has not yet been reviewed and incorporated into a database.

The Historic Registry of Waste Disposal Sites spreadsheet

For information about the spreadsheet, please read Explanation of Columns in the Spreadsheet [PDF]

If you have questions about a site listed in the Registry spreadsheet, you may request an appointment to review DNR’s file. Most of this file information is old and may be incomplete, and in some cases the Registry screening sheet and any attachments may be the only documents available. To view a file, please contact the appropriate regional environmental program associates.

Other considerations

The Historic Registry spreadsheet does not identify all license numbers for currently licensed waste disposal facilities and should not be used regarding potential liability exemptions for unlicensed waste disposal sites. Wisconsin Act 418 (s. 292.23, Wis. Stats.) provided these exemptions in 2006 for local governments and private parties. For more information about the exemptions, please see the Remediation and Redevelopment Program's Voluntary Party Liability Exemption page. For help regarding these statutory exemptions, please contact Michael Prager.

Contaminated and cleaned up properties

If a property is or was undergoing cleanup because of environmental contamination, site information can be found in the Wisconsin Remediation and Redevelopment Database (WRRD), DNR's online information system about properties with contamination. The database provides both a comprehensive online database (BRRTS on the Web) and a web-based mapping system (RR Sites Map) to find information about:

  • cleanups that are underway and completed;
  • environmental liability clarifications and limitations;
  • use of brownfield loans and grants to complete cleanups;
  • post-cleanup environmental land use controls;
  • spills of hazardous substances;
  • leaking underground petroleum tanks; and
  • waste disposal sites where contamination has spread into soil or groundwater.

Drinking Water and Groundwater Program's Well Driller Viewer

You must obtain DNR approval to install a water supply well within 1,200 feet of a waste disposal site or if the property is identified as having residual contamination/continuing obligations in the Wisconsin Remediation and Redevelopment Database, a searchable database containing information on the investigation and cleanup of potential and confirmed contamination to soil and groundwater in Wisconsin.

The Drinking Water and Groundwater Program's Well Driller Viewer provides a visual map view of certain setback, construction and approval information to assist well drillers in planning projects and meeting requirements of NR 812, Wis. Adm. Code.