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NR 216 Rule Updates

Chapter NR 216, Wis. Admin. Code, Storm Water Discharge Permits was last updated in 2003. Since that time there have been changes to state statutes, federal requirements, and Chapter NR 151, Wis. Admin. Code that need to be reflected in administrative code. Updates to these items are outlined in the Scope Statement.


The purpose of Chapter NR 216, Wis. Admin. Code is to establish criteria defining those storm water discharges needing WPDES storm water permits, as required by s. 283.33, Stats., and to implement the appropriate performance standards of subchs. III and IV of ch. NR 151. Chapter NR 216 identifies which industrial facilities, construction sites and municipalities require WPDES storm water permits, application requirements, and storm water discharge permit criteria for each type of facility.

In accordance with the Scope Statement, the proposed modifications include:

  • Address technical inconsistencies with Federal Law identified in the July 2011 legal authority review letter from USEPA Region 5, also known as the 75 issues letter. Issues 24-25, 52, 56, 57, and 67 pertain to storm water and require updates to NR 216. Issue 23 was addressed through an unauthorized rule repeal process after the scope statement was approved. The status of the 75 issues as of May 11, 2020 is available in this status table.
  • Incorporate provisions to implement the NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule and the NPDES Municipal Separate Storm Water Permit Remand Rule.
  • Update references to ch. NR 151, Wis. Adm. Code that became obsolete effective January 1, 2011.
  • Clarify how state statutes and code related to Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) implementation will be implemented in storm water discharge permits
  • Update 2003 construction site application fees to fund the program in the manner specified in s. 283.33 (9), Statutes. Current fees range from $140-$350 based on the proposed disturbed area. These fees are not expected to impact efforts to provide affordable housing since permits are not required for sites with less than 1 acre of land disturbance.

Rule Change Process and Public Input

The Wisconsin 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 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.

Public Hearing and Comment Period

The Department of Natural Resources held an online public hearing on a permanent rule to revise NR 216 relating to storm water discharge permits. Public comments were received until April 30, 2021. Written responses were developed for the comments received and changes were made to the proposed rule, economic impact assessment and fee analysis.

Current Documents

The rule was adopted by the Natural Resources Board August 11, 2021. The Governor signed the rule on September 9, 2021. The rule was submitted to the Legislature on September 13, 2021.


Scope Statement
Fall 2019
  • Public Hearing
Initial Draft
Winter 2019 — Fall 2020
  • Stakeholder Interviews
Economic Impact Assessment
Nov. 2020 — Jan. 2021
  • Public Comment on Economic Impact
Public Comment and Hearings
Feb. — Apr. 2021
Address Public Comment
May 2021
NRB and Governor Approval
Summer 2021
Legislative Review
Fall / Winter 2021
  • No later than 12/10/2021
(We are here)
Rule Signed and Published
Spring — Summer 2022

Project Communications

To receive email updates about NR 216 rule changes, subscribe to GovDelivery and select the Storm Water Construction, Industrial, or Municipal topics.

Questions and/or comments may be sent to:

For more information, contact:

Amy Minser
Storm Water Engineer