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DHS Sends Groundwater Recommendations to DNR, DATCP
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 06/24/2019

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has provided the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture with recommended standards for 27 groundwater contaminants, which are intended to protect human health and the environment as part of Wisconsin's landmark groundwater law. The agency said last week that 11 of the standards relate to agricultural chemicals.

State law outlines a process that DHS and DNR follow, ensuring a scientifically rigorous review of available technical information and clarity on how recommended groundwater standards are determined. With the new DHS recommendations in hand, DNR will begin rulemaking immediately. However, given the multiple steps in the rule making process it may take us up to 30 months to promulgate the amendments into law, according to DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk.

"As Governor Evers declared, this is the Year of Clean Drinking Water, and we look forward to our continued partnership with the DNR as we work toward the shared goal of protecting the health of Wisconsin residents," Van Dijk said. "Using a rigorous, evidence-based process will help us assure that our water is safe, no matter where we live in the state."

After DNR provided a list of substances to DHS, health officials extensively reviewed scientific literature about each substance, using federal quality standards as a starting point when available, and created a document describing the rationale for each enforcement standard. In order to make these recommendations, DHS toxicologists reviewed over 5,000 scientific findings.

Once the rulemaking process is complete, the new or revised standards will be added to the state's 138 existing NR 140 groundwater quality standards.

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