MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a bill that would allow wastewater plants and businesses to push off complying with the state's phosphorus reduction rules for 20 years.
The Department of Natural Resources' board approved sweeping regulations in 2010 that call for precise limits on phosphorus in water bodies. Municipalities and businesses have complained the regulations are too expensive. Republican Sen. Robert Cowles' bill would allow dischargers to seek up to four five-year variances from the limits. Each variance would increase phosphorus limits and require dischargers to pay counties for phosphorus reduction or launch other reduction projects. The Senate passed the bill Tuesday. The Assembly passed it 76-19 on Thursday. The measure now goes to Gov. Scott Walker. His spokesman was non-committal on support, saying only that Walker would evaluate it.