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Intake/Outfall, Pilings, Dry Hydrants, and Miscellaneous Structures Permitting

Waterway protection


For each project type below, if an exemption or a general permit is available, you will find a link to a checklist of requirements. If your project does not meet exemption eligibility criteria, review the general permit checklist. If your project does not meet general permit eligibility criteria, you must apply for an individual permit.

To start a permit application, use the DNR Water ePermitting System. A WAMS ID is required.

To determine if a local permit or a federal permit is required for your project, contact your city or county zoning authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – St. Paul District Office.

For some waterway projects, a water quality certification (WQC) may be required from DNR as the certifying authority under the Clean Water Act Section 401. WQC requests will be considered complete through a waterway permit application and the DNR Waterways Program typically reviews WQC requests in parallel with permit review. See WQC Request Completeness Elements for the full list of requirements. 

State law requires a landowner with a project site that is 1 acre or larger in size to obtain a construction site stormwater permit. To submit a notice of intent, visit the DNR Stormwater Runoff Permitting page.

Applicable state statutes and code: s. 30.12, Wis. Stats. and NR 329, Wis. Adm. Code].


  1. Find your project type below from the list.
  2. Review your permitting options:
    • Exemption - If an exemption is available and you meet all of the eligibility criteria, you do not need a permit. If you are still unsure if your project is exempt, you may submit an Exemption determination request form (3500-107).
    • General Permit - If your project does not qualify for an exemption, review the eligibility criteria for a general permit and apply for it if your project meets all criteria.
    • Individual Permit - If your project does not qualify for an exemption or general permit, you must apply for an individual permit.
  3. Review Waterway Designations:
    • Some exemptions and general permits are not eligible for projects on designated waterways.
    • Use Property Lookup to review waterway designations on your project area.

Project Types

Intake/Outfall Structures

An intake is the inlet of a pipe, etc. that conveys water from a waterway, and an outfall is the outlet of a pipe, etc., that discharges water (storm water, wastewater, etc.) into a waterway.

The DNR may not require a permit for an intake/outfall structure installation in a waterway if your project meets location and construction standards. Even if the DNR does not require a permit for intake/outfall structure construction, the DNR may require a separate permit for the withdrawal or release of water.

Permitting Options

Dry Hydrants

A dry hydrant is a non-pressurized pipe permanently installed in existing lakes, ponds or streams. Typically, a dry hydrant provides a supply of water for firefighters that use a pump truck to fill up a tanker truck that is used to fight fires.

Installing a dry hydrant in a waterway may not need any department permits at all if your project meets certain location and construction standards.

Permitting Options


A piling is a column of material (typically wood, concrete or metal) that is driven into lake or streambed for a variety of purposes. If the purpose of placing the pilings is part of a design to support a larger structure, the pilings will be authorized under the permits needed for the main structure.

Permitting Options

Miscellaneous Structures

If a project involves placing a structure or any other materials on the bed of a public waterway (geothermal energy systems, innovative shoreline cleaning systems, etc.), the DNR requires a permit.

Permitting Options

Read through the list of General Permit options on the Waterways General Permit Page on the DNR Water ePermitting System.

If you can't find a named activity on the list that matches your project, this means the DNR has not created a specific permit for that activity. If this is the case, you can apply for an Individual Permit.