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Notices of discharge

The notice of discharge program is an enforcement process through Ch. NR 243, Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR], addressing unacceptable practices at animal feeding operations with less than 1,000 animal units. Local governmental units (typically county land conservation offices) work with department staff to identify and categorize discharges at animal feeding operations.

Discharge categories

Depending on the severity of the discharge and impacts to waters of the state — see categories below — either a Notice of Discharge (NOD) or Notice of Intent (NOI) to issue a NOD would be issued by the department to the owner or operator of the animal feeding operation.

  • Category I — The unacceptable practice is identified as a point source discharge of pollutants to navigable waters typically through man-made devices (example: pipes, ditches, etc).
  • Category II — The unacceptable practice results in a discharge of pollutants to waters of the state due to failure to comply with the livestock performance standards and prohibitions identified in Ch. NR 151, Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR].
  • Category III — The unacceptable practice causes a discharge of pollutants to waters of the state that is not identified in the previous two categories.

Depending on the severity of the discharge and the number of animals housed at the animal feeding operation, the owner or operator may be required to apply for a Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit in order to properly address the discharge issues.

In certain cases, animal feeding operations may be eligible for cost-share funding to address discharge issues identified in a department issued NOD or NOI. These operations should work directly with the local governmental unit to determine eligibility and apply for funding.

Once the discharge is addressed at the animal feeding operation, the department issues a satisfaction letter to close out the NOD or NOI. This letter identifies that the animal feeding operation is now in compliance with the applicable requirements and completes the enforcement process. If an owner or operator of an animal feeding operation that has been issued a NOD or NOI does not address the discharge issues identified, the department may pursue additional enforcement to ensure corrective actions are taken.