Get Your Feet Wet with the Division of Water Quality
Healthy watersheds depend on public involvement and the choices we make in our homes, in our communities and in the workplace.
Many actions proposed by DWQ or the Environmental Management Commission include an opportunity for public comment. The division also holds informational meetings, workshops and public hearings that are designed to increase public understanding and involvement in issues affecting water quality. These opportunities can be found on our Public Events Calendar.
How do I get involved?
How do I use the DWQ Public Calendar?
Want to know the latest postings on the DWQ Public Calendar?
You can subscribe to the DWQ Public Calendar to receive an e-mail notice when the calendar is updated. To find out more: Click Here.
What is the difference between comments gathered through a notice and those gathered at a hearing?
Both a public notice and a public hearing are formal opportunities for the public to comment on a proposed action by a government agency or commission. The comments that are received during the comment period are included in the formal record for the proposed action and are considered during the decision making process.
What is the difference between public meetings and public hearings?
Public meetings are informal opportunities to learn more about an issue and discuss it with agency staff and other interested members of the public. It includes opportunities for questions and interaction between participants. A public hearing is a formal opportunity to gather information from the public on a proposed action - permit renewal, stream reclassification, etc. A record is kept of the proceedings and all comments, whether presented orally or in written form, become part of the hearing record. The public hearing is not an opportunity for general discussion. All comments are to be directed to the hearing officers who will compile them and present them, along with the officer's recommendations, to the division director or the Environmental Management Commission for a final decision on the proposed action.
Which have greater influence on the final decision, written comments or oral comments?
Written and oral comments are given equal weight in the evaluation of an agency or commission decision.
I see that some actions have public hearings and some do not. Why is that?
Not all agency actions require a public hearing as part of the process. In some cases, the state administrative code stipulates certain conditions under which a public hearing is required. In addition to that, the division director may decide to hold a public hearing in the public interest. A public hearing request may be made during the comment period by any member of the public.