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Timeline for Publication of Thermal Discharge Rules

Environmental Law Alert Thomas P. McElligott, Raphael F. Ramos

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources ("DNR") recently announced that it anticipates that the new thermal water discharges rules will take effect on October 1, 2010.[1] In its recent announcement, DNR also indicated that WPDES permits which are issued or reissued after October 1, 2010, will need to reflect the requirements of the new rules.

DNR had previously indicated that the rules would become effective on July 1, 2010. The delay was apparently necessitated, at least in part, to provide DNR staff with additional time to develop guidance for the implementation of the new rules. DNR is currently developing guidance on a wide range of subjects related to the new rules and indicated that the guidance will be posted on the DNR webpage. However, DNR has not provided a timetable for when it expects that guidance to be available.

The rules and accompanying green sheet are available here. For more information, please contact Tom McElligott at (414) 277-5531 /, Raphael Ramos at (414) 277-5539 / or your Quarles & Brady attorney.

[1] The thermal discharge rules were approved by the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board on May 27, 2009. The rules allow the DNR to regulate effluent temperature based on two things: the type of water body receiving the discharge and the flow rate of that water body. Wis. Admin. Code NR Ch. 102 will contain the thermal water quality standards for various water bodies while NR Ch. 106 will contain the methodology for calculating the limits on thermal discharges.