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Septic System Ownership in Wisconsin

The Government of Wisconsin believes that anticipating problems can help to prevent them. As a result, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Commerce work together to protect the environment of the State, including regulation of Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (POWTS), also known as septic systems.

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The Department of Safety and Buildings provides technical assistance to counties, contractors, and homeowners in the design, installation, and maintenance of POWTS. In cases of large POWTS, both the DNR and the Department of Commerce are responsible for conducting the review of applications.

Regulation of Septic Systems Contractors in Wisconsin

Based on DNR regulations, Certified Septage Operators must pass an exam which is held either in May or November each year. There are two levels of written examinations which an applicant must pass with a score of at least 75%. Each exam costs $100.

  • GRADE T: Allows the operator to conduct all aspects of septage servicing, except land application of septage systems.
  • GRADE L: Allows all the rights of a GRADE T plus the ability to conduct land application of septage systems.

Licensure Requirements for Septic System Contractors

Any business wishing to service a septic tank in Wisconsin must hold a Wisconsin Sanitary License. For applications made after July 1997, expiration of the license will be the next odd-numbered year. The fee for applying is $50 for Wisconsin residents and $100 for non-residents.

Installing A New Septic System In Wisconsin

Before installing a new septic system, a homeowner should consult with their local county. For an example, in Wood County you'll need:

  • a soil report from a Certified Soil Tester,(CST)
  • sanitary permit Insurance,
  • a sanitary permit review,
  • a certified installer, and
  • a sewage system inspection.

Filing A Complaint

Any concerns about the septage issues in Wisconsin, should be forwarded to:

The Wisconsin DNR Central Office
101 S Webster Street
PO Box 7921
Madison WI 53707-7921
Tel: (608) 266-2621


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