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Glossary of technical terms
    that appear in the LaMPs

Acronyms | Words and definitions

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Wasteload Allocation (WLA)

The portion of a receiving waters total maximum daily load that is allocated to one of its existing or future point sources of pollution. WLAs constitute a type of water quality-based effluent limitation.

Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP)

A facility that receives sewage and stormwater from collection structures, then uses various levels of treatment to purify the water. Most modern publicly-owned treatment works in larger municipalities provide primary treatment, secondary treatment, tertiary treatment, and disinfection techniques to kill disease-producing organisms.

Water Pollution Control Facility

A system that treats (which can include recycling and reclamation) municipal sewage or industrial wastes of a liquid nature. Large facilities are generally owned and operated by local governments.

Water Pollution Control Plant

A system that treats (which can include recycling and reclamation) municipal sewage or industrial wastes of a liquid nature. Large facilities are generally owned and operated by local governments.

Water Quality Agreement of 1987

A binational agreement that amends the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 1978. Also see "Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement."

Water Quality Criteria

Numeric or narrative expressions that specify concentrations of water constituents (such as toxic chemicals or heavy metals) which, if not exceeded, are expected to support an ecosystem suitable for protecting life in water and life dependent on water for its existence. States incorporate water quality criteria into their water quality standards to protect public health or welfare, enhance the quality of water, and serve the purposes of the Clean Water Act.

Water Quality Guidance for the Great Lakes System

The official name for the Great Lakes Initiative. The final version of the guidance was published on March 23, 1995 and has regulatory implications. The guidance establishes minimum water quality standards, anti-degradation policies, and implementation procedures for waters in the Great Lakes system. Also see "Great Lakes Toxic Reduction Initiative," "Great Lakes Toxic Reduction Effort," "Clean Water Act," and "Great Lakes Initiative."

Water Quality Standard

A water quality standard defines the water quality goals of a water body, or portion thereof, by designating the use or uses to be made of the water, by setting water quality criteria necessary to protect the uses, and by preventing degradation of water quality through anti-degradation provisions. States adopt water quality standards to protect public health or welfare, enhance the quality of water, and serve the purposes of the Clean Water Act. Also see "Clean Water Act."

Water Table

The upper surface of the ground water or that level below which the soil is saturated with water.

Water Use Classification

A classification of waters of the state contained in MN Rule Chapter 7050 for the purpose of water quality protection, consideration of the best use in the interest of the public, and other considerations. Water quality standards for each class of waters prescribe the quality of the water that is necessary for the designated uses, as follows:
Class 1 waters are for domestic consumption;
Class 2 waters for aquatic life and recreation;
Class 3 waters for industrial consumption;
Class 4 waters for agriculture and wildlife;
Class 5 waters for aesthetic enjoyment and navigation;
Class 6 waters for other uses; and
Class 7 waters for limited resource value waters.

Waters of the United States

A term used in Minnesota statutes and regulations that refers to all water bodies regulated by the state. They include streams, lakes, ponds, marshes, watercourses, waterways, wells, springs, reservoirs, aquifers, irrigation systems, drainage systems, and all other bodies or accumulations of water, surface or underground, natural or artificial, public or private, which are contained within, flow through, or border upon the state of Minnesota or any portion thereof.

Waters of the United States

A term used in federal regulations that defines all water bodies regulated as waters of the U.S. It includes:
(1) all waters which may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce;
(2) all interstate waters, including interstate wetlands;
(3) all other waters, such as intrastate lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mud flats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, or natural ponds, the use, degradation, or destruction of which could affect interstate or foreign commerce including any such waters;
4) all impoundments of waters otherwise defined as waters of the United States;
(5) tributaries of waters identified in this section;
(6) the territorial seas;
(7) wetlands adjacent to waters (other than waters that are themselves wetlands).


The land area that drains into a lake, river, stream, estuary, or other water body; same as drainage area.

Western Lake Superior Region Resource Management Cooperative (WLSRRMC)

A multi-agency/university assemblage established to coordinate programs in the Lake Superior basin. It provides coordinated research, information exchange, and outreach and education program support. Its goal is to achieve full benefits of Lake Superior regional waters, air, fish, wildlife, forests, and wildlands and associated resources for their cultural, social, commercial, economic, and recreational utilization and enjoyment. Formed in 1989, the cooperative represents eight federal agencies, Wisconsin and Michigan DNRs, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, and six academic instituitions.

Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD)

A local agency responsible for sewage treatment, hazardous household and solid waste collection, recycling, and waste disposal for a number of municipalities in the greater Duluth, Minnesota area.

Weight of evidence approach

The weight of evidence approach considers all high-quality scientific data (the overall evidence) on adverse health effects from wildlife studies, experimental animal studies, and human studies in combination, toward hazard identification and in weighing the actual and potential adverse health effects of environmental contamination in human populations.

Wet Deposition

The deposition of pollutants from the atmosphere that occurs during precipitation events. Acid rain is one form of wet deposition. Wet deposition is calculated by multiplying precipitation amounts by the pollutant concentration. Wet deposition rates are often very different than dry deposition rates.

Wetland Conservation Act (WCA)

A Minnesota statute that requires regulation for draining and filling activities in wetlands. This act amended various Minnesota statues (namely 103A, 103B, and 103C). Also referred to as Chapter 354.

Wetland Mitigation

A regulatory requirement to replace or enhance wetland areas destroyed or impacted by proposed land disturbances with artificially created or restored wetlands.


Those areas which are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support a variety of vegetative or aquatic life. The lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water. Wetland vegetation requires saturated or seasonally saturated soil conditions for growth and reproduction. This is a legal definition and controversy still exists among scientists and policy makers as to how many of these characteristics must be present in order for an area to be defined as a wetland. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, fens, and bogs.

Whole Effluent Toxicity Test (WET)

The total toxic effect of a complex effluent measured directly by a toxicity test.

Wildlife Criteria

Water quality criteria designed to protect wildlife. These are surface water concentrations of toxic substances that will cause no significant reduction in the viability or usefulness (in a commercial or recreational sense) of a population of animals that use the waters of the Great Lakes system as a drinking and/or foraging source over several generations.

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture administers programs in land and water resource management, atrazine prohibition, conservation engineering, drainage districts, ground water protection, shoreland management, and soil conservation.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR, WDNR)

The Wisconsin state agency responsible for overall management of the stateís natural resources and environmental quality. The WDNR administers many programs (similar to U.S. EPA's) for protection of water quality in ground water and surface waters, including the NPDES permit program, water quality standards regulations, the nonpoint source pollution program, and ambient statewide monitoring programs. The WDNR administers both natural resources programs and environmental law enforcement.

Wisconsin Lake Superior Basin Water Quality Management Plan

Wisconsinís five-year blueprint for water quality. This plan, prepared by the WDNR, will be used to set water quality management priorities in the Lake Superior basin.

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