Featured News > New Water Quality Trading Clearinghouse Launches to Make Water Quality Improvements Easier Across Wisconsin

New Water Quality Trading Clearinghouse Launches to Make Water Quality Improvements Easier Across Wisconsin

Wisconsin Clearinghouse, LLC and the Wisconsin Department of Administration agree to landmark partnership to create third-party administered water quality trading clearinghouse

March 29, 2023

Wisconsin Clearinghouse, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of RES (Resource Environmental Solutions), announced today a first-of-its-kind partnership with the Wisconsin Departments of Administration and Natural Resources to act as the exclusive third-party administrator of the Wisconsin Water Quality Trading Clearinghouse.

The Clearinghouse provides an efficient, streamlined process to connect sellers (landowners and agricultural producers) with buyers (municipal wastewater treatment facilities and private industries) to help reduce pollutants entering surface waters in Wisconsin.

In the past, it has been difficult for trading partners like municipalities and landowners to find each other, but the Wisconsin Water Quality Trading Clearinghouse creates a centralized location for interested buyers and sellers to engage in water quality trading that ensures long-term certainty while minimizing risk for all parties.

“For years, we have heard about the challenges around water quality trading from communities across Wisconsin,” said Erin Delawalla, RES Regional Client Solutions Manager. “Many are interested in utilizing this innovative approach to compliance and watershed restoration but are unsure how to find the right landowner partner at the right time, and whether their procurement rules allow them to execute projects efficiently. The Clearinghouse solves those issues and will accelerate the use of nature-based solutions to address impaired water quality.”

Landowners and agricultural producers interested in installing water quality best management practices (BMPs) to prevent soil erosion and nutrient runoff will have the ability to offset or eliminate the cost of these projects when paired with a Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit holder, within the same watershed, willing to cover the costs of the project. In exchange, WPDES permit holders can claim credits to demonstrate compliance with permit-required water quality-based effluent limitations (WQBELs).

Water quality trading allows WPDES permit holders to meet regulatory obligations by supporting credit-generating projects using nature-based solutions—such as BMPs—that provide the same or greater water quality benefit within the same watershed. A water quality trade can serve as an alternative to costly facility upgrades or chemical treatments while commensurately addressing sources of non-point pollution.

According to Wisconsin’s 2022 Water Quality Report to Congress, Wisconsin has many high-quality freshwater resources, but nearly 1,700 of Wisconsin’s recently assessed waters are listed as impaired. These streams and lakes could benefit from watershed projects that seek to reduce nutrient loading, erosion, and sedimentation. The Wisconsin Water Quality Trading Clearinghouse has built a network of partners, including engineering firms, non-profits, local agronomists, and other stakeholders, to accelerate the pace of water quality trading across the state and help improve the condition of Wisconsin’s impaired waters.

The Wisconsin Water Quality Trading Clearinghouse will launch an online platform to connect sellers and buyers in April 2023 but is ready to start processing transactions immediately. Interested parties should reach out to admin@wiclearinghouse.org. Visit WIClearinghouse.org for more information.

About Wisconsin Clearinghouse, LLC

Wisconsin Clearinghouse, LLC operates the Wisconsin Water Quality Trading Clearinghouse through a partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Administration. Wisconsin Clearinghouse, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of RES (Resource Environmental Solutions).

For more information, visit WIClearinghouse.org.