Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wisconsin Outstanding Resource Waters and Exceptional Resource Waters

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has designated in state rules many of the state’s highest quality waters as Outstanding Resource Waters (ORWs) or Exceptional Resource Waters (ERWs). ORW and ERW status identifies waters that the State of Wisconsin has determined warrant additional protection from the effects of pollution. These designations are intended to meet federal Clean Water Act obligations requiring Wisconsin to adopt an “antidegradation” policy that is designed to prevent any lowering of water quality.

ORWs typically do not have any point sources discharging pollutants directly to the water, though they may receive runoff from nonpoint sources. New discharges may be permitted only if their effluent quality is equal to or better than the background water quality of that waterway at all times; no increases of pollutant levels are allowed.

If a waterbody has existing wastewater point sources at the time of designation, it is more likely to be designated as an ERW. Dischargers to ERW waters are required to maintain background water quality levels; however, exceptions can be made for certain situations when an increase of pollutant loading to an ERW is warranted because human health would otherwise be compromised.

Currently 103 lakes and impoundments are designated as ORW. Based on the current ORW/ERW list, a total of 3,179 stream miles (7.6%) have been designated as ORW, and 4,668 stream miles (11%) have been designated as ERW.

Caltha LLP provides expert environmental consultant services in Wisconsin to obtain air and wastewater permits, evaluate regulatory requirements, and to develop cost effective compliance programs.

For further information, contact Caltha LLP at:

Email: Website:

No comments:

Post a Comment