Wisconsin Clean Water Act funding not equitable among permit holders

WI Green Fire, October 16, 2018

Wisconsin’s Green Fire Analysis: Wisconsin Clean Water Act funding is not equitable among Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit holders

Wisconsin’s Green Fire analysis found that fees are not charged equitably between types of permits covered by the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) program to protect water quality. Download the brief analysis. The financial burden among regulated parties is not equitably distributed. Fees for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) permits support only 2.7% of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) CAFO program ($2,402,000 in 2015). By comparison, fees paid by municipal and industrial WPDES permit holders pay for 66% of WDNR cost to address their facilities. If CAFO facilities paid at the same rate as other industries, the entire Wisconsin Clean Water Act Program could more readily address the numerous shortcomings raised in the Legislative Audit Bureau 2016 report and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Lack of funding has important implications for WDNR enforcement of clean water programs. Prior to 2012 WDNR spent more time tracking compliance than issuing WPDES permits. Since that time, the WDNR has spent more time processing permits than investigating compliance.