Lakeside Interceptor | Duluth, MN

What Does the New Wisconsin Phosphorus Law Mean for You?

Tom Fitzwilliams | with 0 Comments

What Does the New Wisconsin Phosphorus Law Mean for You?

For the past few years, there has been a constant drumbeat about impending strict phosphorus regulations for Wisconsin’s wastewater treatment plants. Yesterday, Governor Scott Walker signed into law legislation that will add another wrinkle to the phosphorus compliance process.
At MSA we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of wastewater engineering and regulation. MSA closely monitored the bill as it moved through the legislative process and attended the public hearings in the Legislature.
So what does the law do? Here are the highlights:
  • The new law is not a repeal of the phosphorus compliance rules. Communities will still have to achieve some level of phosphorus reduction in their effluent.
  • Some facilities may still require upgrades to take advantage of this compliance option.
  • The law does allow an additional path to compliance, the multi-discharger variance. The variance will allow permitees to meet lower interim phosphorus reduction goals over the course of up to 20 years. A similar approach is currently used in Wisconsin for chlorides and in Montana for phosphorus.
  • Permitees will be charged for any phosphorus discharged above the permitted level at a rate of $50 per pound. The rate is adjusted annually for inflation.
  • The law will provide additional funding for non-point phosphorus reduction through NR 151 programs administered by counties and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
  • The law requires the DNR and the Department of Administration (DOA) to review wastewater technologies to determine if more cost effective methods of phosphorus reduction have been developed.
The new law is not in effect yet and still needs approval from the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As the DNR and DOA work with the EPA, we will keep you informed of their progress.
At MSA, we have hosted a series of power lunches across Wisconsin to keep people better informed about phosphorus compliance. If you would like one of our wastewater experts to talk to you, please contact me via email.

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