Wisconsin officials want public input on surface water quality standards.
Wisconsin officials are asking the public for input on how to keep the state water sources clean and safe.
The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is evaluating surface water quality standards as part its review process, which is conducted every three years. Also known as Triennial Standards Review, this process gives the public a chance to deliberate on how the agency should protect public waters.
“There are lots of topics out there that we could work on,” said Kristi Minahan, water quality standards specialist with DNR. “This lets us narrow down which are the most important.”
According to Scott Laeser, water program director for Clean Wisconsin, there are issues including toxic algae blooms which make some of the state’s waters unsafe, reported the Wisconsin State Journal.
“People feel like our water resources are so abundant that we don’t have to worry about them. We take it for granted,” said Laeser. “At the end of the day, we still have a lot of rivers, lakes and streams that are polluted.”
According to DNR, the components of water quality standards reviewed as part of the Triennial Standards Review include:
- Designated uses: goals and expectations established for each waterbody
- Water quality criteria: narrative and numeric benchmarks established to protect the designated uses
- Anti-degradation: policy or procedure established to protect high-quality waters; and
- Water quality variances; short-term changes to permit limits or water quality standards when criteria are unattainable.
The DNR deadline for topic suggestions is Sept. 14. The suggestions should be sent to [email protected].
In the fall, the agency will publish a list of potential topics along with a survey for the public to rank them. From there, a final work plan will possibly be released early 2021.