“Sump" means a tank or pit that receives wastewater that must be emptied by mechanical means.
“Surface water" means all water which is open to the atmosphere and subject to surface runoff.
“Surge tank" means a tank into which overflow from a flowing well, spring or other water source is discharged and is repumped to a pressure tank or the water system.
“Telescoping method" means a method for setting a well screen where the well casing pipe is driven to the proposed screen setting depth and the well casing pipe is then pulled back to expose the screen. A packer is used to seal the annulus between the top of the screen and the bottom of the well casing pipe.
“Temporary manure stack" means solid manure only, piled for no more than 120 days within any one year period.
“Temporary outer casing" means a string of casing pipe that is driven, turned or placed from the ground surface into the surficial geological formation or formations as part of the process of constructing an upper enlarged drillhole and which is not intended to be left in place as a permanent well casing pipe.
“Top of bedrock” means the top of firm rock as determined by a change in the action of the drilling machine or a change in the type and size of the drill cuttings. The presence of bedrock shall be indicated when a majority of the drill cuttings consist of either angular rock fragments, as in the case of crystalline bedrock, or rock fragments composed of individual grains or rock particles that are cemented together to form an aggregate, as opposed to single sediment particles, such as in sand.
“Treatment pond" means a structure that is used for the treatment or storage of liquid waste. Treatment pond includes absorption, retention, storage and treatment ponds or lagoons.
“Unconsolidated formation” means geological materials composed of clay, silt, sand, gravel, or cobbles that are not bedrock, and includes alluvium, glacial drift, glacial outwash, glacial till, lacustrine deposits, loess, and saprolite.
“Upper enlarged drillhole” means a drillhole larger in diameter than the well casing pipe.
“Upstream" means, with respect to the pump installation discharge and pressure system, in a direction back towards the well.
NR 812.07 Note
Note: In previous versions of this rule the term “prior to" was used in lieu of the term “upstream."
“Valve pit” means a pit that contains only piping and valves. Valve pits do not contain pressure tanks.
“Variance" means a department approval to construct or install a water system or a portion of a water system in a manner not in strict compliance with the requirements of this chapter.
“Vegetated treatment area,” formerly known as “filter strip,” means a component of an agricultural waste management system that is an area or strip of herbaceous vegetation designed and constructed to Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Standard 635 specifications, located adjacent to an animal barn, animal barn pen, animal shelter, animal yard or a manure storage facility and which is intended to improve water quality by reducing pollutants associated with animal manure and other agricultural wastewater runoff.
“Walkout basement” means a basement with the floor at ground grade level on at least one side of the structure.
“Wastewater" means any water carrying wastes created in and conducted away from residences, industrial establishments and public buildings with ground or surface water which may be present including any liquid wastes except clear water wastes.
NR 812.07 Note
Section NR 114.52 (22)
“wastewater treatment plant” as a facility that provides for the treatment of sanitary or industrial wastewater or both.
“Wastewater treatment plant well” means a well serving a wastewater treatment plant.
“Water supply" means the sources, wells, pumps and intake and storage structures from which water is supplied for any purpose.
“Water system" means the water supply, storage, treatment facilities and all structures and piping by which water is provided for any purpose.
NR 812.07 Note
Section 281.34 (1) (h)
, Stats., defines “well” as any drillhole or other excavation or opening deeper than it is wide that extends more than 10 feet below the ground surface and is constructed for the purpose of obtaining groundwater.
“Well and pressure system" means the water supply and pump installation upstream of a building control valve or pressure tank and including any pressure tank.
“Well cap or seal" means an approved apparatus or device used to cover the top of a well casing pipe.
“Well constructor" means any person that constructs a well which is not required to be constructed by a licensed individual water well driller or a registered water well drilling business.
“Well driller" means an individual who performs well drilling.
“Well drilling" has the meaning specified in s. 280.01 (8)
, Stats., and includes any activity that requires the use of a well drilling rig or similar equipment, or any activity conducted using a well drilling rig or similar equipment with the exception of the driving of points having pipe or casing smaller than three inches in diameter. Well drilling also includes constructing a well or performing any activity that changes the characteristics of a drilled well including constructing, reconstructing or deepening a well, sealing the annular space of a well, joining or welding together lengths of well casing pipe or liner pipe, installation of a liner, installing or replacing a screen, well rehabilitation, hydrofracturing, blasting, and chemical conditioning. Attaching well casing pipe to the upper portion of a well to extend the well out of a pit is not considered well drilling.
NR 812.07 Note
Section 280.01 (8)
, Stats., defines “Well drilling" to mean the industry and procedure employed in obtaining groundwater from a well by digging, boring, drilling, driving or other methods but not including the driving of points for the purpose of obtaining ground water. It shall also include all construction work and installation of well casings in said well involved therein for the protection of such well water against pollution.
“Well notification” means a notice provided to the department in accordance with s. 281.34 (3)
“Well vent" means a screened opening in a well seal to allow atmospheric pressure to be maintained in the well.
“Well yield" means the quantity of water which may flow or be pumped from the well per unit of time.
NR 812.07 History
Cr. Register, January, 1991, No. 421
, eff. 2-1-91; am. (3), (4), (48), (61m), (74) (b), (79), (81), (82), (107) and (119), cr. (27m) (30f), (30m), (30t), (30x), (72m), (79m), (97m) and (110m), renum. (36) and (39) to be (61q) and (61u) and am. Register, September, 1994, No. 465
, eff. 10-1-94; corrections made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, September, 1994, No. 465
; correction in (29), (30) and (79m) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 6. and 7., Stats., Register, September, 1996, No. 489
; corrections in (50), (81), (97), (123) and (124) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, December, 1998, No. 516
; correction in (71) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register July 2002 No. 559
; CR 05-020
: cr. (24m) and (57w) Register January 2006 No. 601
, eff. 2-1-06; corrections in (28) and (56) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 6. and 7., Stats., Register July 2010 No. 655
; correction in (29), (97) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 6., 7., Stats., and (29) renumbered to (35g) under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 1., Stats., Register December 2011 No. 672
; CR 13-096
: am. (33) (a), cr. (50e), CR 13-099
: cr. (1d), (1h), (1p), (1t), am. (3), (4), (6), (10), cr. (10m), (17m), (19m), am. (23), (24), cr. (27t), (29m), am. (35), cr. (35e), am. (38), cr. (41m), (47m), am. (49), renum. (51) to (50), (52) to (51), am. (53), (54), cr. (54g), (54r), (55m), am. (57m), cr. (57s), am. (60), cr. (61g), am. (64), (67), (72), (74) (b), cr. (74) (c) to (e), (75c), (75g), (75L), (75p), (75t), (75x), (79e), (79p), (79t), am. (80), cr. (80m), r. and recr. (82), am. (84), cr. (85m), am. (86), (90), (91), (93) (intro.), (a), (94), cr. (94g), (94r), (96g), am. (104) to (108), cr. (108r), (110s), renum. (112g) to (111m), cr. (112m), (112v), (119g), am. (122), r. and recr. (124), cr. (124m) Register September 2014 No. 705
, eff. 10-1-14; correction in (67) made under s. 35.17, Stats., Register September 2014 No. 705
; CR 18-095
: r. (1d), cr. (1r), am. (10), r. (10m), (13), (19), (21), am. (22), r. and recr. (23), (24), (27t), r. (29m), (30x), am. (31), (32), (33), r. (33) (a) to (c), am. (35), r. (35e), cr. (36), r. and recr. (38), r. (42), r. and recr. (43), (44), (45), r. (47m), r. and recr. (48), am. (49), (50), cr. (50b), (50d), r. and recr. (50e), r. (50m), r. and recr. (52), (54), r. (54g), (55), (55e), (55m), cr. (55s), am. (56), r. (57), cr. (57k), r. and recr. (57m), (57s), (57w), r. (59), (60), cr. (60e), (60m), (60s), r. and recr. (62), r. (63), r. and recr. (64), am. (67), cr. (69m), r. (70), (72m), am. (73), (75), r. (75c), r. and recr. (75L), (75p), (75t), (75x), cr. (77m), r. and recr. (79), am. (79m), (79t), renum. (80) (intro.) to (80) and am., r. (80) (a), (b), r. and recr. (81), r. (85m), r. and recr. (86), am. (87), r. (88), r. and recr. (89), (90), (91), (94), cr. (94b), r. and recr. (94r), (95), r. (96), r. and recr. (96g), (97m), cr. (97r), r. and recr. (98), am. (99), r. (100), (104), (105), am. (106), (111), r. (112), cr. (112g), (112k), (112p), am. (112q), (112v), r. (113), am. (114), (116), cr. 116m, r. and recr. (119), am. (121), r. and recr. (123), am. (124), am. (124m), (124m), r. (125), (128) Register June 2020 No. 774
, eff. 7-1-20; corrections in (56) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7. and 35.17, Stats., and correction in (22), (91) made under s. 35.17, Stats., Register June 2020 No. 774
; correction in (23) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register January 2021 No. 781
; CR 21-070: cr. (79x) Register July 2022 No. 799, eff. 8-1-22.
NR 812.08 Water well, reservoir and spring location. NR 812.08(1)(1)
Any potable or nonpotable well, reservoir, or spring shall be located:
So the well and its surroundings can be kept in a sanitary condition.
So that the well, reservoir or spring is protected from surface water flow and flooding, and located at the highest point on the property consistent with the general layout and surroundings if reasonably possible.
As far away from any known or possible contaminant source as the general layout of the premises and the surroundings allow.
NR 812.08 Note
Section PSC 114.234 (6)
requires that a horizontal clearance of at least 3/4 of the vertical clearance of the conductors, including overhead power lines to the ground required by Rule 232 shall be maintained between open conductors and wells. Persons installing wells must comply with this requirement.
Such that any potential contaminant source, not identified in this section or in Table A, is a minimum of 8 feet from the well, reservoir, or spring.
So that it is reasonably accessible with proper equipment for cleaning, treatment, repair, testing, inspection and any other maintenance that may be necessary.
No person may locate a well, reservoir, spring, or a contaminant source in a manner that fails to comply with any requirements established in this section.
Relation to buildings.
In relation to buildings, all of the following apply to the location of any potable or nonpotable well:
No well may be located directly in line with a rainwater downspout outlet or other clear water discharge.
When a structure is built over a drilled well, the structure shall have an easily removable access hatch, or provide other practicable access to allow for pulling and servicing the pump. The well casing pipe shall extend at least 12 inches above the ground-grade or above the ground-grade floor of the building and shall be sealed watertight at the point where it extends through the floor.
No well may be located, nor a building constructed, such that the well casing pipe will terminate in a basement or extend through the basement of any building or terminate under the floor of a building having no basement. A well may not terminate in or extend through a crawl space.
The top of a well casing pipe may terminate in a walkout basement if all of the following conditions are met:
It is possible to walk directly outside from the walkout basement without walking upstairs or upslope.
The surface of the ground around the outside exit door of the walkout basement slopes down away from the door.
The well and pump installation are accessible for repair and removal.
The well and pump installation are in compliance with all other requirements of this chapter.
A well may not terminate in or extend through a crawl space having a below grade depression or excavation.
If a well must be located in a driveway, parking area, walkway, or other high traffic area due to lot size or to meet minimum required separation distances between the well and contaminant sources, the well may be contained within a driveway ramp structure without department approval providing the driveway ramp meets the specifications of s. NR 812.36
. A driveway ramp may not be constructed or located in a floodway or floodplain.
A yard hydrant may not be installed within or on a well.
A well may be constructed, reconstructed or replaced in a floodfringe provided that the top of the well is terminated at least 2 feet above the regional flood elevation for the well site. The regional flood elevation is determined by the city, village, or county floodplain zoning ordinance.
A well may be reconstructed or replaced in a floodway provided that the top of the well is terminated at least 2 feet above the regional flood elevation for the well site.
Relation to contamination sources.
A well driller or well constructor may not construct or reconstruct a well, install a reservoir, or develop a spring that is less than the minimum separation distance from a possible contaminant source as specified in Table A. The minimum separation distances of this subsection do not apply to dewatering wells approved under s. NR 812.09 (4) (a)
. Greater separation distances may be required for wells requiring plan approval under s. NR 812.09
. Separation distance requirements to possible contaminant sources may not be waived because of property lines. Separation distances shall be measured from the edge of the well, reservoir or spring, to the nearest edge of the contaminant source or as specified in Table A.
- See PDF for table
- See PDF for table
1) Separation distances to manure and manure containment structures are also defined in Natural Resource Conservation (NRCS) technical standards and chs. NR 151
. The separation distances in each may be different. When installing a well on a farm, especially an AFO (animal feeding operation) consult with the owner, the technical standards, and all applicable administrative code provisions to identify other well separation distances that may exist.
2) The separation distance from a POWTS dispersal component does not apply if the component has been abandoned in accordance with s. SPS 383.33
3) See s. NR 812.12 (4)
for well construction requirements for wells to be constructed within 500 feet of a quarry.
4) This category includes sand and salt mixtures if the salt content of the mixture is 5% or more.
5) The separation distance requirements for pond shorelines do not apply to synthetically lined decorative yard ponds located on residential lots.
Heat exchange drillhole separation distances.
Minimum separation distances between any heat exchange drillhole, water supply wells, and existing sources of contamination; or between new sources of contamination and existing heat exchange drillholes shall be maintained as described in this subsection. Separation distance requirements to possible sources of contamination will not be waived because of property lines. Minimum separating distances are ten feet between a heat exchange drillhole and each of the following:
NR 812.08 History
Cr. Register, January, 1991, No. 421
, eff. 2-1-91; am. (1) (b) 1., (2) (a) to (c), (4) (a) 5., 9., 12. and 13., (b) 1., 5., 7., 11. and 13., (c) 10. to 13., (d) 1. to 3., (f) 6. to 8., (g) 1. and Table A, cr. (1) (e), (4) (a) 14. and 15., (b) 14. and 15., (c) 14. and 15., (d) 4. to 9. and (ee), r. (4) (b) 8., Register, September, 1994, No. 465
, eff. 10-1-94; corrections made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, September, 1994, No. 465
; correction in (4) (d) 1. made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, September, 1996, No. 489
; cr. (4) (f) 11., am. Table A, Register, December, 1998, No. 516
, eff. 1-1-99; corrections made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, December, 1998, No. 516
; CR 05-020
: am. (4) (g) 1. Register January 2006 No. 601
, eff. 2-1-06; CR 09-123
: am. (4) (b) 11. Register July 2010 No. 655
, eff. 8-1-10; correction in (4) (a) 1., 2., 4., (b) 4., 5., (c) 7., 10. b., 14., (d) 1., Table A made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register December 2011 No. 672
; CR 13-096
: am. (title), (4) (intro.), cr. (5), CR 13-099
: am. (1) (intro.), (b) (intro.), r. (1) (b) 1., 2., cr. (1) (f), am. (2) (a) to (c), cr. (2) (d) to (g), am. (4) (intro.), (a) 1., 2., r. (4) (a) 3. to 6., 8., am. (4) (a) 11., r. (4) (a) 13., am. (4) (a) 14., 15., cr. (4) (a) 16. to 18., am. (4) (b) 2. to 4., 7., r. (4) (b) 9., 10., am. (4) (b) 12., r. (4) (b) 13., am. (4) (b) 15., cr. (4) (b) 16., am. (4) (c) 1., 2., 4., renum. (4) (c) 10. (intro.) to 10. and am., r. (4) (c) 10. a., b., cr. (4) (c) 16. to 20., am. (4) (d) 1., 4., 6., cr. (4) (d) 10. to 12., am. (4) (f) 2., 7., 8., cr. (4) (fm), am. Table A Register September 2014 No. 705
, eff. 10-1-14; correction in (4) made under s. 35.17, Stats., Register September 2014 No. 705
; 2015 Wis. Act 197
s. 43 Register April 2016 No. 724
; CR 18-095
: am. (1) (title), (b), (c), (e), (f), cr. (1) (g), (1m), r. and recr. (2), am. (3) (a), (c), r. (3) (d), r. and recr. (4), Table A Register June 2020 No. 774
, eff. 7-1-20; correction in (2) (d) 5. made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., and corrections in (4), Table A made under s. 35.17, Stats., Register June 2020 No. 774
; republished to correct an error in transcription in Table A Register July 2020 No. 775
Unless another time period is specified by law, the department shall complete its review and make a determination on all applications for licenses or approvals within 65 business days after receipt of a complete application. Incomplete applications will be returned. The start of the 65 day review period will not begin until a complete application is received by the department. All requests for approval shall be in writing, except for situations that require an immediate response, in which case an approval may be requested verbally and a verbal approval may be granted by the department to be followed up with a written confirmation.
Approval application and submission.
The property owner or lessee shall obtain a written approval from the department. When an application is submitted by someone other than the owner of the subject property, the owner or authorized agent shall sign the application. Application information, outlines or forms may be obtained from the department. Applications shall provide information regarding the name, address and firm name of both the owner and operator, if applicable, and any other information requested by the department, including descriptions or sketches of well construction, geology, pump installation, plumbing, possible contamination sources, property boundary, water use and water sample results, depending on the type of application.
Plans and specification preparation.
Plans and specifications for a school water system or wastewater treatment plant water system shall be submitted by a registered professional engineer or licensed water well driller for wells, and by a registered professional engineer or licensed pump installer for pumps, discharge piping, storage tanks and controls.
Prior department approval is required for the activities described in this subsection. When deemed necessary and appropriate for the protection of public safety, safe drinking water and the groundwater resource, the department may specify more stringent well and heat exchange drillhole locations, well and heat exchange drillhole construction or pump installation specifications for existing and proposed high capacity, school or wastewater treatment plant water systems and other activities requiring approval by this subsection. Approval by the department does not relieve any person of any liability that may result from injury or damage suffered by any other person. In addition, failure to comply with any condition of an approval or the construction, reconstruction or operation of any well or water system in violation of any statute, rule or department order shall void the approval. Approval is required for all of the following:
The construction, reconstruction, or operation of a high capacity well or high capacity well system, including dewatering wells, school wells, and wastewater treatment plant wells, except those actions specified in s. 281.34 (2g)
, Stats. An application for a high capacity well or high capacity well system approval shall include, for every well, the location, construction or reconstruction features, pump installation features, the proposed rate of operation and the distance to nearby public utility wells, as defined in s. 196.01
, Stats. A high capacity well or high capacity well system approval is subject to all of the following:
The department may deny approval, grant a limited approval or modify an approval under which the location, depth, pumping capacity or rate of flow and ultimate use is restricted so that the supply of water for any public utility, as defined by s. 196.01
, Stats., will not be impaired. Reduced availability of groundwater to a public utility well may be indicated when calculated drawdown, using estimated values for aquifer characteristics, results in a reduction of 10% or greater in the public water utility's saturated thickness based on pumping from the proposed high capacity well or well system. The department may also deny approval or condition an approval if the proposed or actual well location, water quality, well construction or pump installation features or the use of the well does not meet, at the time of application, the specifications of this chapter for new well construction and pump installation or water use.
When an owner transfers the land on which a high capacity well or high capacity well system is located, the owner shall provide notice to the department as specified in s. 281.34 (2g) (c)
The owner or operator of a high capacity well or well system shall submit pumpage and well water level reports to the department on department forms at the time periods indicated by the department.
Emergency approval for a high capacity well or high capacity well system may be granted when fire hazard, imminent crop damage or other similar emergency requires expedited approval, if the owner submits the request in writing with a justification of the emergency, and if the department determines that the high capacity well or high capacity well system meets the requirements of s. 281.34 (5)
High capacity test drillholes or up to 2 geothermal heat exchange drillholes may be constructed without approval to test for aquifer yield to determine if a high capacity well, heat exchange drillhole or high capacity well system is feasible. The well casing pipe for such test drillholes shall not exceed 6 inches in diameter unless the well driller notifies the department. High capacity test drillholes may not be converted to permanent high capacity wells unless approved by the department prior to construction. High capacity test drillholes may be test pumped at a rate of 70 gallons per minute or more without department notification or approval under this section if the test does not last more than a total of 72 hours. After testing, the drillhole shall be filled and sealed according to the requirements of s. NR 812.26
or shall be converted, within 90 days following approval, to a high capacity well, heat exchange drillhole or high capacity well system that meets the requirements of this chapter or ch. NR 811
and of any approved plans and specifications.
NR 812.09 Note
State v. Michels Pipeline Construction, Inc.
, 63 Wis.2d 278
, 217 N.W.2d 339
(1974) established that the doctrine of reasonable use applies to property rights in groundwater. Persons adversely affected by the operation of a high capacity well or well system may take action against the operator or owner of the high capacity well or well system.