You can find out more about available funding for replacement POWTS by going to the Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Wisconsin Fund or the Housing Programs page.
Show All Answers
1) A property owner desires to build a structure in an area where public sanitary sewer service is not available.
2) Anytime a property owner desires to have, or is required to have, an existing failing POWTS replaced.
3) Anytime a property owner proposes a significant change to the primary living structure or place of business. Land divisions, conditional use requests, and change of use (for business establishments) may also require an upgrade or replacement of the existing POWTS.
You can get a state sanitary permit by following the steps outlined in the procedures section of the state permit page.
Go to the Obtaining a Sanitary Permit page of this website for the procedure. If you have further questions, you can contact the Planning & Development Office.
There are very few things that you could do that are more detrimental to your private onsite wastewater treatment system (POWTS). It is one of the quickest ways to cause your POWTS to fail. When people do all their laundry in one day, the high (peak) flow will cause the drain field to go anaerobic (without air).
Your POWTS performs best in aerobic conditions. In aerobic (with air) conditions, a lot more bacteria are working to digest the organics (among other things) in the wastewater. The peak flows that flow into the septic tank from the home cause the settled solids to re-suspend themselves in the wastewater. During re-suspension, these solids get pushed out of the septic tank and end up in your piping network or drain field. When these additional solids end up in the drain field, it will accelerate the failure rate of the drain field. In other words, the drain field will fail much quicker than a POWTS that does not experience frequent peak flows.
All septic tanks designed from about 1978 to the present were designed to allow for a 24-hour settling period for any solids or suspended solids entering the tank. By creating excessive peak flows, the solids settling cycle will be short-circuited and cause most suspended solids to leave the septic tank too soon. To help minimize the peak flow effects generated from the laundry process, homeowners should consider purchasing water-conserving, low-flow front-load washing machines. They typically will use about 1/3 of the amount of water per load as standard top-load washing machines.
The “perk” test method for POWTS suitability has been replaced, since 1994, with a more accurate and descript means of soil and site evaluation. Today, the soil testing procedure is done by means of a morphological evaluation.
After the soil and site evaluations have been conducted by the soil tester, the results of that soil and site evaluation are to be sent to the county reviewing authority. Once reviewed by the county reviewing authority, and the soil and site evaluations are found to be acceptable for completeness, they are then filed for use with a future sanitary permit for the property tested.
The soil and site evaluations (soil tests) are good for as long as the administrative rule that governs them remains in effect. If there is a significant rule change that affects the evaluation process or results of previously completed tests, a new test may have to be done.
A sanitary permit ensures that a proposed private onsite wastewater treatment system (POWTS) meets the minimum standards specified in the Wisconsin Administrative Code. These standards define POWTS separation requirements, seasonal water tables, wells, lot lines, structures, water lines and mains, and more. They identify treatment methods and products that are acceptable for use in a POWTS and the manner in which they should be installed.
County sanitary permits are issued in unique situations arise where a state sanitary permit is not warranted.
For example, a property owner would like to add a room/rooms to an existing building where a state sanitary permit has been issued, and the POWTS was installed for over 2 years. During the “addition” building process, it will be necessary to disconnect the existing POWTS for a period of time and then reconnect it to the structure via the new building addition.
Another example might be a property owner who wants to put up an outbuilding with a bathroom in it. A county sanitary permit can be issued so long as the existing POWTS is a code-compliant installation previously inspected by the department's staff.
For further details on a county sanitary permit issuance and when they may be necessary, you can contact the Kenosha County Department of Planning and Development.
There appears to be a myth that mound systems do not work. Mound systems work every bit as well as an in-ground (conventional) POWTS.
The primary difference between the two systems is that mound systems are pressurized above-ground systems, and the conventional in-ground system is below ground and typically not pressurized. As far as system performance is concerned, a pressurized system typically will perform better than one that is not. The wastewater is dosed over the entire absorption area versus being distributed over a small area as in the conventional gravity system.
If they do not have these credentials then they will not legally be able to install a POWTS in the State of Wisconsin. You can check the yellow pages for POWTS installers or contact Kenosha County Department of Planning and Development for a list of POWTS installers.
Go to “Contacts” page of this website for licensing web link.
Depending on who you ask this question to, their answers will be varied in response. Some will say that a food waste grinder should never be installed, and some would say it is acceptable. Those that say it is acceptable would say so with a few conditions.
If a grinder is added to the kitchen sink, the disposal should be used sparingly only. Also, if you are intending to put in a disposal, you should let your POWTS installer know so that a modification can be made to the proposed treatment tank. The treatment tank should be at least two-chambered and have an effluent filter installed on the septic tank outlet.
You should give serious consideration to oversizing the septic tank beyond the minimum code requirements. By following these simple procedures, your POWTS may experience premature failure due to the additional settling time provided by your treatment tank.
See the Septic Tank Maintenance page on this website.
You will find that a two-chamber or multi-chamber treatment tank does a better job of filtering out solids and suspended solids before the wastewater leaves the tank. This filtering ability is enabled because of the separate chambers within the treatment tank. It reduces the amount of disturbance caused by peak flows to settled solids within the tank. Through this disturbance reduction, fewer solids will leave the tank, which then improves the drain field lifespan.
In this instance, a two-chamber septic tank does appear to be better. Having a treatment tank with greater capacity and multiple chambers seems to reduce the maintenance frequency of effluent filters. This is compared to those in single-chamber tanks.
Effluent filter alarms are available for people who are interested in that extra degree of security for that “just in case” event of sewage backing up into the basement when the effluent filter is clogged. A clogged filter will restrict the amount of wastewater leaving the septic tank, which causes the wastewater level to rise in the septic tank.
When the wastewater level rises above its normal flow level it will begin to back up into the piping network coming from the structure.
There typically are more than enough bacteria in the wastewater generated daily to do a sufficient job of digesting the biodegradable material in the waste stream. There comes a point where the solids that remain in the tank can no longer be digested and will not be able to undergo further digestion.
If you use strong cleansers conservatively and feel the need to add a digesting aid to assist the bacteria in your septic tank you could add several cakes of yeast to boost the digestion process for a while.
The statement of “saving costs” on pumping your septic tank does not appear to make sense for people living in Wisconsin. All septic systems installed within the last 25-30 years in the State of Wisconsin are required to have the septic tanks pumped at least every 3 years. Where would the cost savings come from?
After determining the DWF the POWTS installer can size the necessary treatment tank(s) properly. After reviewing the soil and site evaluation report, that was performed by the certified soil tester, the installing plumber can then determine the minimum size of absorption field required which is based on the soil load rate that is specified on the report form.
The property owner will have to have another POWTS evaluation done because there is specific administrative code language that specifies when a POWTS evaluation is required. As part of those requirements, there is more detailed information that will need to be submitted to the permitting authority for review. Some of the required submitted information is soil test boring data that will determine whether the existing POWTS can meet the minimum depth of separation to limiting conditions. The typical limiting condition in this area is seasonal saturation depth (seasonal water table).
The seasonal saturation depth can be observed by specific soil feature characteristics found in the various layers found in the soil. A soil pit is typically required to perform a soil test. The soil boring will be dug near the existing POWTS (drain field), and the soil characteristics/properties will be described and recorded on a soil test report form. The evaluator who performs the soil test and provides the rest of the required information for the existing POWTS evaluation has to be licensed by the State of Wisconsin Department of Safety & Professional Services.
The POWTS evaluation for real estate sale transactions does not require licensure and does not have a specific set of standards or requirements to follow. The data in their reports can be less specific and more general. It is for these reasons – required standards & licensing, that another POWTS evaluation needs to be completed to obtain a permit for a building addition/renovation.
If you want to put plantings on or near your POWTS, you should plant a species of plant that has a herbaceous root system.
You should not plant a species of plant that has a woody root system very close to or on top of the absorption field. The roots from this plant group tend to grow or migrate in the direction of a moisture source. They will work their way into the piping network. Once inside, the roots will begin to clog the piping. Given sufficient time, they will cause a system failure.
The alternative to a woody root plant species could be flowers or wildflower seeding.