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PFAS Surface Water Criteria

As part of the effort to protect surface water and public health across Wisconsin, the DNR is working with key public and industry stakeholders, state agencies, the state Legislature, the governor and the general public to update several chapters in Wisconsin's Administrative Code, including ch. NR 102, ch. NR 105, ch. NR 106 and ch. NR 219.


Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are human-made, organic compounds that have been manufactured for use in non-stick coatings, waterproof fabrics, firefighting foams, food packaging and many other applications since the 1940s. PFAS are highly resistant to degradation and have been detected globally in water, sediment and wildlife. This global distribution is of concern as PFAS have documented toxicity to animals and because epidemiological studies have suggested probable links to several human health effects.

In Wisconsin, PFAS have been detected in drinking and surface water near spill locations and near sources of industrial or manufacturing use. The DNR seeks to protect humans from the adverse effects of PFAS resulting from contact with or ingestion of surface waters of the state and from ingestion of fish taken from surface waters of the state by creating human health surface water quality criteria for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

Scope Statement

WY-23-19: Revision of chapters NR 102, NR 105, NR 106, NR 219 and other related regulations to add surface water quality criteria and analytical methods for PFAS and to revise the WPDES permitting program to implement the new criteria.


NR 105 rulemaking timeline

Summer 2019
Fall 2019
  • Natural Resources Board (NRB) authorization to hold public hearing on scope statement
  • Public hearing on scope statement

Video: 11/12/19 Public Hearing

PFAS Scope Comments (preliminary public comment period closed 11/11/19)

Winter 2020
  • NRB scope approval
  • Begin rule drafting
  • Stakeholder group meetings
Summer 2021

Fall/Winter 2021

A public hearing on the proposed rule was held on Dec. 10, 2021, at 1 p.m.

Winter 2021/2022
Summer 2022 (We are here)

Rulemaking procedures

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.

Public participation is a critical component of agency rulemaking. There are numerous opportunities to participate in the DNR rulemaking process. There are many internal steps that the DNR and the Natural Resources Board (NRB) must go through during the rule promulgation process. For permanent rules, the entire process generally takes about 31 months from initiation to promulgation.

Stakeholder meetings

Stakeholder meetings

Given the amount of public interest in this effort and its potential economic impacts, DNR convened a series of stakeholder meetings to provide guidance on the rule changes.

Meetings were held in winter 2020 through late 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, and there were additional opportunities for public input and comments throughout the remainder of the rulemaking process.

Meeting date and time Location Resources
Dec. 10, 2021

Public Hearing on WY-23-19. This hearing was held remotely via Zoom.

Oct. 9, 2020

This meeting was held remotely via Zoom only following Governor Evers' order limiting the size of gatherings due to the risk of COVID-19.

Aug. 27, 2020

This meeting was held remotely via Zoom following the Badger Bounce Back plan limiting the size of gatherings due to the risk of COVID-19.


March 23, 2020 This meeting was held remotely via Zoom only, following Governor Evers' order limiting the size of gatherings due to the risk of COVID-19
Feb. 6, 2020 Madison
State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2)
Room G09
101 S Webster St