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Triennial Standards Review

Helping improve Wisconsin's surface water quality

Draft 2024-2026 TSR workplan available for comment

Comment period open from May 31, 2024 to July 26, 2024

Every three years, the DNR reviews Wisconsin's water quality standards or related guidance to determine which standards need development or revision, as required by the federal Clean Water Act. This comprehensive evaluation, called the Triennial Standards Review (TSR), is an essential process to keep Wisconsin's surface waters swimmable, fishable and drinkable.

This review helps DNR staff focus efforts to integrate the latest science, technology and federal requirements into how the state regulates water quality. In addition, the review assists the staff with work-planning and identifying needed actions for moving projects forward. Water quality standards act as guidelines for setting an appropriate level of protection for Wisconsin's lakes, rivers and streams.

Components of water quality standards reviewed as part of the Triennial Standards Review include the following:

  • designated uses – goals and expectations established for each waterbody
  • water quality criteria – narrative and numeric benchmarks established to protect the designated uses
  • antidegradation – policy or procedure established to protect high-quality waters
  • water quality variances – short-term changes to permit limits or water quality standards when criteria are unattainable.

Public Hearing and Comment Period

The DNR will hold a public hearing and informational webinar to gather input on which topics related to surface water quality standards should be top priorities for work over the next three years.

  • The hearing/webinar will be held on Wednesday, July 17, 2024 at 2:00 PM.
  • Participants can join via a Zoom link or by phone (833) 928-4610
  • The Draft 2024-2026 Workplan is available for review and comment. This document includes a short description of each topic. At the public hearing, the DNR will review the department’s draft list of priority topics, describe each topic, and take comments and questions. Participants may provide their comments verbally at the hearing or in writing.
  • Comments may be submitted to the DNR through July 26, 2024.  Submit comments via email to or via mail to:
    Department of Natural Resources
    Attn: Jenni Kempf, WY/3
    101 S. Webster St.
    Madison WI 53703

Triennial Review Process

Diagram of the triennial review process. 1. Draft priorities for 2024-2026 TSR cycle in Fall 2023 2. Collect and analyze public input in Spring 2024 3. Refine priorities and submit final plant to EPA in Fall 2024.

Step 1: Gather topic suggestions related to water quality standards. Compile a list of relevant topics.

Step 2: Solicit public input to rank topics during the public comment period and public hearing

Step 3: Use public input to help prioritize topics and draft a workplan for the next three years. Submit the final plan to EPA.

Once the Triennial work plan is complete, staff will begin work on the prioritized topics as time and resources allow.

Previous Cycles

Information about previous cycles is available below. Work on topics begun in previous cycles will continue until work is completed.