2017 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 283. Pollution discharge elimination.
283.01 Definitions.

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 283.01 (2017)

283.01 Definitions. In this chapter:

(1) “Biological monitoring" means the determination of the effects on aquatic life, including accumulation of pollutants in tissue, in receiving waters due to the discharge of pollutants by techniques and procedures, including sampling of organisms representative of appropriate levels of the food chain appropriate to the volume and the physical, chemical and biological characteristic of the effluent and at appropriate frequencies and locations.

(2) “Construction" means any placement, assembly or installation of facilities or equipment, including contractual obligations to purchase such facilities or equipment, at the premises where such equipment will be used, including preparation work at such premises.

(3) “Department" means the department of natural resources.

(4) “Discharge" when used without qualification includes a discharge of any pollutant.

(5) “Discharge of pollutant" or “discharge of pollutants" means any addition of any pollutant to the waters of this state from any point source.

(6) “Effluent limitation" means any restriction established by the department, including schedules of compliance, on quantities, rates, and concentrations of chemical, physical, biological, and other constituents which are discharged from point sources into waters of this state.

(6m) “Environmental pollution" means the contaminating or rendering unclean or impure the air, land or waters of the state, or making the same injurious to public health, harmful for commercial or recreational use, or deleterious to fish, bird, animal or plant life.

(7) “Municipality" means any city, town, village, county, county utility district, town sanitary district, town utility district, school district or metropolitan sewage district or any other public entity created pursuant to law and having authority to collect, treat or dispose of sewage, industrial wastes or other wastes.


(a) “New source" means, except as provided in par. (b), any point source the construction of which commenced after the effective date of a standard of performance under 33 USC 1316 that is applicable to the point source.

(b) If the federal environmental protection agency proposes a standard of performance under 33 USC 1316 that is applicable to a point source and if the standard of performance takes effect within 120 days of the publication of that proposed standard of performance, “new source" means a point source the construction of which commenced after the date of publication of that proposed standard of performance.

(9) “Owner or operator" means any person owning or operating a point source of pollution.

(10) “Permit" means a permit for the discharge of pollutants issued by the department under this chapter.

(11) “Person" means an individual, owner, operator, corporation, limited liability company, partnership, association, municipality, interstate agency, state agency or federal agency.

(12) “Point source" means either of the following:

(a) A discernible, confined, and discrete conveyance, including but not limited to any pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, conduit, well, discrete fissure, container, rolling stock, concentrated animal feeding operation, or vessel or other floating craft from which pollutants may be discharged either into the waters of the state or into a publicly owned treatment works except for a conveyance that conveys only storm water. This term does not include agricultural storm water discharges and return flows from irrigated agriculture.

(b) A discernible, confined, and discrete conveyance of storm water for which a permit is required under s. 283.33 (1). This term does not include agricultural storm water discharges and return flows from irrigated agriculture.

(13) “Pollutant" means any dredged spoil, solid waste, incinerator residue, sewage, garbage, refuse, oil, sewage sludge, munitions, chemical wastes, biological materials, radioactive substance, heat, wrecked or discarded equipment, rock, sand, cellar dirt and industrial, municipal and agricultural waste discharged into water.

(14) “Pollution" means man-made or man-induced alteration of the chemical, physical, biological or radiological integrity of water.

(15) “Schedule of compliance" means a schedule of remedial measures including an enforceable sequence of actions or operations leading to compliance with an effluent limitation or other limitation, prohibition or standard.

(16) “Secretary" means the secretary of natural resources or his or her designee.

(17) “Toxic pollutants" means those pollutants or combinations of pollutants, including disease-causing agents, which after discharge and upon exposure, ingestion, inhalation or assimilation into any organism, either directly from the environment or indirectly by ingestion through food chains, will, on the basis of information available to the department, cause death, disease, behavioral abnormalities, cancer, genetic mutations, physiological malfunctions, including malfunctions in reproduction or physical deformations, in such organisms or their offspring.

(18) “Treatment work" means any devices and systems used in the storage, treatment, recycling, and reclamation of municipal sewage or industrial waste of a liquid nature or necessary to recycle or reuse water at the most economical cost over the estimated life of the work, including intercepting sewers, outfall sewers, sewage collection systems, cooling towers and ponds, pumping, power and other equipment, and their appurtenances; extensions, improvements, remodeling, additions, and alterations thereof; elements essential to provide a reliable recycled supply such as standby treatment units and clear well facilities; and any works, including site acquisition of the land that will be an integral part of the treatment process or is used for ultimate disposal of residues resulting from such treatment. Additionally, “treatment work" means any other method or system for preventing, abating, reducing, storing, treating, separating or disposing of municipal waste, including storm water runoff, or industrial waste, including waste in combined storm water and sanitary sewer systems.

(19) “Vessel" means any watercraft or other artificial contrivance used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.

(20) “Waters of the state" means those portions of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior within the boundaries of Wisconsin, all lakes, bays, rivers, streams, springs, ponds, wells, impounding reservoirs, marshes, water courses, drainage systems and other surface water or groundwater, natural or artificial, public or private within the state or under its jurisdiction, except those waters which are entirely confined and retained completely upon the property of a person.

History: 1973 c. 74; 1979 c. 221; 1983 a. 189; 1987 a. 403; 1993 a. 16, 112, 482; 1995 a. 227 s. 847; Stats. 1995 s. 283.01; 2015 a. 307; 2017 a. 59.

A concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) under sub. (12) includes not only where the animals are confined, but also the equipment that applies the animal waste to fields outside the confinement area, whether the fields are owned by the CAFO operator or others. Any overapplication of manure by the operator is a discharge under sub. (5) whether because of runoff to surface waters or percolation to groundwater. Maple Leaf Farms v. DNR, 2001 WI App 170, 247 Wis. 2d 96, 633 N.W.2d 720, 00-1389.

Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. Wisconsin may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.