State Senate poised to relax well rules

The state Senate is poised to approve a Republican bill that would relax Wisconsin’s high-capacity well regulations.

The bill from Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald would exempt well repairs, reconstruction, replacement and ownership transfers from Department of Natural Resources oversight.

The DNR would be required to evaluate water bodies in the state’s central sands region to determine if groundwater withdrawals are significantly reducing stream and lake water levels. If DNR officials feel special conditions should be enacted to protect that area’s groundwater they could ask the Legislature to impose them. Area lake associations would be allowed to build high-capacity wells to replenish depleted lakes.

The Senate is set to vote on the bill Tuesday. The chamber passed an identical bill last session but it died in the Assembly.