Legislative Update - January 2016
1. AB 600 / SB 459 – Regulation of Navigable Waters, Wetlands, and Artificial Streams – This bill provides that:
  • DNR may not prohibit the construction of storm water management ponds in navigable or nonnavigable artificial waterways as a method for achieving compliance with DNR's prescribed performance standards for sources of nonpoint water pollution,
  • DNR must give credit for any pollutant reduction achieved by ponds in artificial waterways in determining compliance with performance standards specified in a storm water discharge permit,
  • Unless specifically provided otherwise, the statutes that regulate navigable waters, harbors, and boating do not apply to an artificial water body that is not hydrologically connected to a natural navigable waterway and that does not discharge into a natural navigable waterway except as a result of storm events. An artificial water body is a body of water that does not have a history of being a lake or stream or of being part of a lake or stream.
  • Any discharge that is the result of maintaining a roadside ditch or sedimentation or storm water detention basin and associated conveyance features are exempted from wetland permitting requirements.
APWA WI members are encouraged to visit http://cqrcengage.com/apwa/home to fill in their zip code and find their state representative and state senator to provide the following feedback:
  a. Support passage of the "Artificial" waterways criteria in AB 600 / SB 459 to help Wisconsin's municipalities meet stormwater performance standards,
  b. Encourage your state representative and state senator to add language to AB 600 / SB 459 to make projects in "artificial" waterways eligible for DNR construction grants, and
  c. Provide feedback to APWA WI Water Resources Chair Bill Frisbee (frisbee@beloitwi.gov) and APWA WI President Ryan Amtmann (ramtmann@ruekert-mielke.com) to write a letter supporting items 1.a. and/or 1.b. above.

2. AB 735 / SB 567 - Phosphorus Variance Rule – Senator Robert Cowles and Representative Amy Loudenbeck have drafted bills in consultation with DNR staff in order to obtain EPA approval of the statewide phosphorus variance. A public hearing is anticipated for Tues., Jan. 19, 2016. APWA WI Water Resource Committee members believe that this will primarily affect public and private wastewater treatment facilities. APWA WI members are encouraged to provide feedback to APWA WI Water Resources Chair Bill Frisbee (frisbee@beloitwi.gov) as to whether APWA WI should track this upcoming legislation.

3. EPA releases MS4 Remand Rule for small communities The EPA is proposing a change to its regulations governing the way in which small MS4s obtain coverage under NPDES general permits, called the MS4 Remand Rule. The EPA is acting because of multiple lawsuits by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense Center against the agency's original small MS4 rule from 1999 that the environmental groups have won twice in 2003 
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