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Wastewater COVID-19 Information

The Wastewater Program recognizes the hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency and Governor Evers' Safer at Home mandate. As always, to the maximum extent possible, conditions and requirements of WPDES permits should still be adhered to, but first and foremost a facility should focus on operations (to maintain effluent quality) and other crisis management actions.

All deviations from "normal" operations should be fully documented and communicated to DNR. As a facility's situation changes, please communicate any changes with your DNR compliance staff by email. If there are delays or missed samples, please provide a comment on the Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) form explaining whether missed requirements were due to COVID-19 issues and be clear if the issues were the result of staffing issues at the facility or laboratory challenges. As always, please reach out to your Wastewater staff contacts if you have any questions or requests for assistance.

Emergency Milk Disposal

Electronic Communications and Document Submittals

Please understand that most of our staff are teleworking and may have limited access to regular mail, paper files and office phones. With this in mind, we ask that our customers use email whenever possible to communicate with staff and to submit permit-required documents and plan review submittals electronically.

Operator Certification

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Governor Evers' Executive Order #72 declaring a public health emergency, DNR is currently evaluating continuing education, certification/license renewal and exam requirements for ch. NR 114, Wis. Adm. Code, drinking water, wastewater, septage, landfill and incineration operators, as well as ch. NR 146, Wis. Adm. Code, licensed well drillers and pump installers. More detailed information about program requirements during the public health emergency will be available in the coming weeks.

The DNR is pursuing the legal process to temporarily suspend ch. NR 114, Wis. Adm. Code, requirements and intends to provide significant flexibility in allowing for operators to complete their critical public health work without being burdened by certification renewal and continuing education requirements at this time. Please check the respective DNR program webpages for new information and reach out to your DNR facility contact if you have any questions or concerns. The DNR greatly appreciates your efforts for completing critical public health work during this challenging time.

The exams previously scheduled on May 6, 2020, have been canceled, for ch. NR 114, Wis. Adm. Code, drinking water, wastewater, septage, landfill and incineration as well as ch. NR 146, Wis. Adm. Code, licensed well drillers and pump installers. Credit will be issued to applications that have been processed and non-processed checks will be returned. Exams have been scheduled to be held statewide on August 5, 2020, in six locations and you will need to reapply for that exam period and location.

For more information, visit Operator Certification Program.

April 20, 2020: Update

On Friday, April 17, 2020, Governor Evers’ signed Emergency Order #30 which suspended specific sections of ch. NR 114, Wis. Adm. Code covering waterworks, water systems, septage, and wastewater operators. Specifically, requirements regarding expiration of certifications every 3 years and continuing education credits have been suspended for those active certifications on March 12, 2020, through the duration of Executive Order #72. The department is working to determine a period of time after EMO 30 expires that operators will have to obtain any remaining continuing education credits needed to renew their certification.

For more information, visit Operator Certification Program.

May 13, 2020: Update

In order to allow operators that would have had their certifications expire during the public health emergency to concentrate on their essential duties, the department is extending the deadline to renew certifications to November 1, 2020.

However, the department is encouraging the renewal of certifications as soon as possible if not limited by pandemic operations.

  • Waterworks, Water System and Wastewater Operators: Renew electronically (online renewal link)
  • Septage Operators: Complete and submit hardcopy operator renewals that were previously mailed.

Operators are encouraged to get continuing education credits (CEUs) needed for certification renewal through online trainings, and to submit their renewal information as soon as practicable. Please view the training calendar for newly scheduled online trainings, or visit the list of pre-approved online training providers for municipal waterworks and wastewater continuing education credits on the DNR’s training website.

Temporary Changes to Procedures for WPDES Permit Public Hearings

Public Hearing Locations

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and the Governor's Safer at Home mandate, the DNR will be hosting public hearings for Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permits via a remote, virtual connection made available to the public via the options listed in the public notice document. Virtual hearings will be recorded.

For questions about how to connect remotely, please contact Stephen Nehring.

Public Comment Periods

Persons wishing to comment on or object to a proposed permit action are invited to do so by attending a virtual public hearing, if scheduled, or by submitting any comments or objections in writing to the DNR at the permit drafter's address listed in the public notice. Currently, DNR staff are working remotely and have very limited access to US mail. To ensure comments are received, the department recommends that all comments be sent via email to the permit drafter listed in the notice. Written comments have the same weight as those received during a public hearing.

For more information, visit WPDES Permits on Public Notice.