• This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Water Law for Sustainable Management

Build a solid foundation in Wisconsin’s water law: Understand how our water laws have developed, fundamental concepts, and why we have laws to protect this vital public commons. Learn about sustainable management of storm and sewer waters, groundwater, and the shared Great Lakes. You will gain an understanding of the Great Lakes Compact, the Clean Water Act, Wisconsin’s groundwater laws, the Public Trust Doctrine, and the intersections of law and science. 

This course can be applied to the Water Technology Certificate.

Who Should Attend

The course is intended for contractors, planners, environmental scientists, design engineers, water and wastewater plant operators, managers, supervisors, technical persons, and community members interested in gaining a working understanding of the basic principles of Wisconsin’s water laws and sustainable water management.

Benefits and Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the Clean Water Act and Great Lakes Compact
  • Learn about pollution issues and how they relate to legalities
  • Adopt stormwater reduction techniques

Course Outline/Topics

Introduction and Overview – Betsy Lawton, Midwest Environmental Advocates (8:00 a.m.)

Fundamental Concepts in Water Law – Betsy Lawton (8:05-8:50 a.m.)

Learn why we have water laws and what parts of our lives are impacted by them; understand key concepts of the(Public trust doctrine, riparian, and appropriative rights;(status of our water commons locally and globally; and how water and the laws governing its use are fundamental to business development, health, recreation, and the environment.

Great Lakes Compact – Peter McAvoy, UWM School of Freshwater Sciences, and Jodi Habush Sinykin, Midwest Environmental Advocates (9:00 – 9:50 a.m.)

Engage in an In-depth discussion of the Great Lakes Compact; understand what the Compact does for the Great Lakes and what remains to be interpreted by administrative rules; overview of current conflicts around water and how the Compact may influence the outcome.

Wisconsin ‘s Groundwater – Carl Sinderbrand, Axley Brynelson LLP  (10:00 – 10:50 a.m.)

Explore the science and law of groundwater in Wisconsin(Hydrology; interconnection of groundwater and surface water; update on the Lake Beulah case; problems with groundwater depletion; development of Wisconsin’s groundwater law;(analysis of the gaps in the law and what remains to be done to protect a sustainable supply of groundwater.

Clean Water Act – Betsy Lawton, Midwest Environmental Advocates (11:00 -11:50 am)

Gain insights into the development of the Clean Water Act from the 1970s – today; point source regulations and WPDES permits; Water Quality Standards; impaired waters; cleanup plans; enforcement of water pollution laws; and the interaction between federal and state laws regarding water pollution.

AFTERNOON SESSION (12-1pm – lunch provided)

POTWs and the Intersection of Law and Science – Katherine Lazarski, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (1:00 – 1:50 pm) 

Refine your understanding of the Clean Water Act with a focus on core concepts about the management of storm and sanitary sewer water in the built environment; legal requirements for POTWs; and the intersections of science and law that impact our water quality.

Emerging Techniques to Reduce Stormwater Pollution – Dennis Grzezinski, Midwest Environmental Advocates (2:00 – 2:50)

See examples of green infrastructure and learn how it works; learn the economic and environmental pros and cons of green infrastructure; and identify funding sources and legal impediments.

Break (2:50 – 3:05)

Agricultural water pollution – Kara Slaughter, Wisconsin Farmers Union  (3:05 – 4:00)

Wisconsin’s changing landscape of farming is impacting quality of life.  Understand the rules and techniques to control water pollution from large industrial feedlots to small farms.  At the end of this session, you should understand the difference between treatment of point and nonpoint pollution under Clean Water Act as it relates to farms, the main components of agricultural runoff:  N and P, its sources and mitigation strategies, federal, state and local rules that apply to farm waste, and nutrient trading.

Dates and locations to be announced.