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Register to provide input to NRB on Sensitive Areas rule by Jan. 19
Sensitive Areas
CHUCK WAGNERS GRANDAUGHTERS, Mackayla, left, and Maggie DeBaker, pose with polluted well water from his Kewaunee County home around 2010. In 2013, Wagner had a new, deeper well drilled at a cost of $10,000. The new well has also become polluted with viruses from cattle manure, and he now uses a reverse osmosis system to filter the water before drinking or cooking.

WISCONSIN - The long-awaited revisions to the State’s NR 151 administrative rule for run-off management will finally be voted upon by the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board at their meeting in Madison on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

Their action item 2, A, 1 under air, waste, water, and enforcement states that the Board will request adoption of Board Order WT-15-16, proposed rules affecting chapter NR 151, Wis. Adm. Code, and limited incorporation by reference of those proposed revisions to ch. NR 243 relating to runoff management and nonpoint source performance standards in areas of the state with shallow soils over Silurian bedrock.

The summary provided to the NRB states:

The department has found that, on shallow soils in the Silurian bedrock area of the state, groundwater standards will not be attained by implementing the statewide agricultural performance standards and prohibitions  in ch. NR 151, Wis. Adm. Code. This is because Silurian bedrock has the capacity to allow rapid transport of contaminants without attenuating those contaminants. The performance standards in the proposed rule are designed to minimize the risk for pathogen delivery to groundwater.

No significant changes were made to the requirements within the draft rule.  Based on public comments received, clarification changes were made to sections of the rule, including definitions for closed depressions, defined channels, soil texture, and infield bedrock verification.  NR 151.075(10), (11) was modified for easier understanding of solid and liquid manure application rates, time, methods and exemptions from pre-tillage (no-till, perennial or established crops).  Section NR 151.09  was amended to reference implementation and enforcement procedures  of cropland performance standards.

The statement of scope of this rule was approved by the NRB at the August 2016 meeting. From July 7 through August 7, 2017, the Department solicited comments on the economic impact analysis. The NRB authorized public hearings through passive review. Public hearings were held on September 15, 2017 in Green Bay and Madison. The rule is expected to be a Level 2 - moderate economic  impact.

Citizen participation and written comments are welcome, and should be sent to Mary Anne Lowndes, Runoff Management Section Chief. Lowndes can be reached at, or by mail at 101 S Webster Street, Madison, WI 53703.

The public participation deadline to testify and/or written comment is 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018.