“Soil absorption field" means an area or cavity in the ground which receives the liquid discharge of a septic tank or similar component of a private on-site wastewater treatment system.
Powers of the department.
The department has general supervision and control of servicing septic tanks, soil absorption fields, holding tanks, grease interceptors, privies, and other components of private on-site wastewater treatment systems.
Every person before engaging in servicing in this state shall submit an application for a license on forms prepared by the department. Except as provided in ss. 299.07
, if the department, after investigation, is satisfied that the applicant has the qualifications, experience, understanding of proper servicing practices, as demonstrated by the successful completion of an examination given by the department, and equipment to perform the servicing in a manner not detrimental to public health it shall issue the license. The license fee shall accompany all applications.
Expiration date of license.
All licenses issued under this section for a period beginning before July 1, 1997, are for one year. All licenses issued under this section for a period beginning after June 30, 1997, are for 2 years. All licenses issued under this section expire on June 30. Application for renewal shall be filed on or before June 1 and if filed after that date a penalty shall be charged. The department shall promulgate a rule setting the amount of the penalty for late filing.
Wisconsin sanitary licensee.
Any person licensed under this section shall paint on the side of any vehicle that is used for servicing, the words “Wisconsin Sanitary Licensee" and immediately under these words “License No. ...." with the number of the license in the space so provided with letters and numbers at least 2 inches high; and all lettering and numbering shall be in distinct color contrast to its background.
A farmer who disposes of septage on land is exempt from the licensing requirement under par. (a)
if all of the conditions in sub. (4m) (b)
No person, except for a farmer exempted from licensing under par. (d)
, may service a private on-site wastewater treatment system or operate a septage servicing vehicle unless the person is certified as an operator of a septage servicing vehicle under s. 281.17 (3)
Rules on servicing.
The department shall promulgate rules relating to servicing septic tanks, soil absorption fields, holding tanks, grease interceptors, privies, and other components of private on-site wastewater treatment systems in order to protect the public health against unsanitary and unhealthful practices and conditions, and to protect the surface waters and groundwaters of the state from contamination by septage. The rules shall comply with ch. 160
. The rules shall apply to all septage disposal, whether undertaken pursuant to a license or a license exemption under sub. (3)
. The rules shall require each person with a license under sub. (3)
to maintain records of the location of private on-site wastewater treatment systems serviced and the volume of septage disposed of and location of that disposal.
The department may require a soil test and shall require a site approval for any location where septage is disposed of on land.
Notwithstanding par. (a)
, the department may not require a site approval for a location where septage is disposed of on land if the person who disposes of the septage is a farmer who owns or leases that location and if:
The septage is removed from a septic tank which is located on the same parcel where the septage is disposed of; and
The person complies with all applicable statutes and rules in removing and disposing of the septage.
If a location is exempt from site approval under par. (b)
, the department may require the person who services the septic tank to provide the department with information to show that sufficient land area is available for disposal.
A person seeking a site approval under par. (a)
shall submit an application to the department at least 7 days prior to using the site. Upon receiving an application for site approval, the department may enter and inspect the site if the department determines that an inspection is necessary. Commencing 7 days after submitting the application, the applicant may use the site unless the department notifies the applicant that the site may not be used.
The department shall collect the following fees:
For a license under sub. (3) (a)
to a state resident, for each vehicle used for servicing, $25 if the license period begins before July 1, 1997, and $50 if the license period begins after June 30, 1997.
For a license under sub. (3) (a)
to a nonresident, for each vehicle used for servicing, $50 if the license period begins before July 1, 1997, and $100 if the license period begins after June 30, 1997.
In addition to the license fee under par. (a) 1.
, the department shall collect from each licensee a groundwater fee of $50 if the license period begins before July 1, 1997, and $100 if the license period begins after June 30, 1997. The moneys collected under this paragraph shall be credited to the environmental fund for environmental management.
Notwithstanding pars. (a)
, an individual who is eligible for the veterans fee waiver program under s. 45.44
is not required to pay a license fee or groundwater fee.
Authority to suspend or revoke licenses. 281.48(5)(a)
The department may and upon written complaint shall make investigations and conduct hearings and may suspend or revoke any license if the department finds that the licensee has:
Made a material misstatement in the application for license or any application for a renewal thereof.
Violated any provisions of this section or any rule prescribed by the department or falsified information on inspection forms under s. 145.20 (5)
The department may not reissue a license for a period of one year after revocation under par. (a)
The department may promulgate by rule a procedure for the temporary suspension of a license.
A county may submit to the department an application to regulate the disposal of septage on land. The county shall include in its application a complete description of the proposed county program, including a proposed ordinance and forms and information on plans for personnel, budget and equipment. The department shall investigate the capability of the county to implement a regulatory program under this subsection and shall approve or deny the application based on the county's capability. If the department approves the county application, the county may adopt and enforce a septage disposal ordinance.
The county septage disposal ordinance shall apply uniformly to the entire area of the county. No city, village or town may adopt or enforce a septage disposal ordinance if the county has adopted such an ordinance. If a city, village or town adopts a septage disposal ordinance, the ordinance shall conform with requirements applicable to a county septage disposal ordinance under this section.
The site criteria and disposal procedures in a county ordinance shall be identical to the corresponding portions of rules promulgated by the department under this section. The county shall require the person engaged in septage disposal to submit the results of a soil test conducted by a soil tester certified under s. 145.045
and to obtain a site approval for each location where the person disposes of septage on land. The county shall maintain records of soil tests, site approvals, county inspections and enforcement actions under this subsection. A county may not require licensing or registration for any person or vehicle engaged in septage disposal. The county may establish a schedule of fees for site approvals under this paragraph if the department determines that the fees are no more than is necessary to fund the county program under this paragraph. The county may require a bond or other method of demonstrating the financial ability to comply with the septage disposal ordinance. The county shall provide for the enforcement of the septage disposal ordinance by penalties identical to those in s. 281.98
The department shall monitor and evaluate the performance of any county adopting a septage disposal ordinance. If a county fails to comply with the requirements of this subsection or fails adequately to enforce the septage disposal ordinance, the department shall conduct a public hearing in the county seat upon 30 days' notice to the county clerk. As soon as practicable after the hearing, the department shall issue a written decision regarding compliance with this subsection. If the department determines that there is a violation of this subsection, the department shall by order revoke the authority of the county to adopt and enforce a septage disposal ordinance. At any time after the department issues an order under this paragraph, a county may submit a new application under par. (a)
. The department may enforce this section and rules adopted under this section in any county which has adopted a septage disposal ordinance.
Limit on local regulation.
No city, village, town, or county may prohibit or regulate, through zoning or any other means, the disposal of septage on land if that disposal complies with this section and rules promulgated under this section or with an ordinance adopted under sub. (5m) (a)
The department may follow the procedures for the issuance of a citation under ss. 23.50
to collect a forfeiture for a violation of subs. (2)
Notwithstanding s. 23.66 (4)
, the department shall promulgate rules establishing the basic amount of the deposit that may be made under s. 23.66 (1)
by a person to whom a citation is issued under par. (a)
. The rules shall specify a different amount for each offense under subs. (2)
See also ch. NR 113
, Wis. adm. code.
NOTE: 2005 Wis. Act 347
, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
Disposal of septage in municipal sewage systems. 281.49(1)(m)
“Septage" means the scum, liquid, sludge or other waste from a septic tank, soil absorption field, holding tank or privy. This term does not include the waste from a grease interceptor.
Requirement to treat septage.
A municipal sewage system shall accept and treat septage from a licensed disposer during the period of time commencing on November 15 and ending on April 15. The sewage system may, but is not required to, accept and treat septage at other times during the year.
Notwithstanding sub. (2)
, a municipal sewage system is not required to accept septage from a licensed disposer if:
Treatment of the septage would cause the sewage system to exceed its operating design capacity or to violate any applicable effluent limitations or standards, water quality standards or any other legally applicable requirements, including court orders or state or federal statutes, rules, regulations or orders;
The septage is not compatible with the sewage system;
The licensed disposer has not applied for and received approval under sub. (5)
to dispose of septage in the sewage system or the licensed disposer fails to comply with the disposal plan; or
The licensed disposer fails to comply with septage disposal rules promulgated by the municipal sewage system.
The municipal sewage system shall accept that part of the total amount of septage offered for disposal which is not within the exceptions in par. (a)
If the municipal sewage system can accept some, but not all, of the septage offered for disposal, the municipal sewage system may accept septage which is generated within the sewage service area before accepting septage which is generated outside of the sewage service area.
Each year a licensed disposer may apply to the municipal sewage system, prior to September 1, for permission to dispose of septage in the sewage system.
The municipal sewage system shall approve applications for septage disposal, or reject those applications which are within the exceptions in sub. (3)
, no later than October 1 of each year.
The municipal sewage system may impose reasonable terms and conditions for septage disposal including:
Specific quantities, locations, times and methods for discharge of septage into the sewage system.
Requirements to report the source and amount of septage placed in the sewage system.
The municipal sewage system shall prepare a disposal plan for each licensed disposer whose application for septage disposal is approved. The disposal plan shall consist of the approved application and all terms and conditions imposed on the licensed disposer.
Analysis of septage.
The municipal sewage system may require the licensed disposer to analyze representative samples of septage placed in the sewage system in order to determine the characteristics of the septage and the compatibility of the septage with the municipal sewage system. The municipal sewage system may not require the analysis of septage from exclusively residential sources.
A municipal sewage system which is required to accept and treat septage shall provide adequate facilities for the introduction of septage into the sewage system.
The department shall prepare a model septage disposal regulation which may be used by municipal sewage systems in the implementation of this section.
Land disposal not prohibited.
This section shall not be construed as a prohibition of the land disposal of septage. The land disposal of septage is governed by s. 281.48
Disposal fees established by a municipal sewage system under sub. (5) (c) 4.
for the disposal of septage introduced into the system by a licensed disposer may be based on only the following actual costs related to the disposal of the septage, as determined in accordance with a uniform cost accounting system applicable to all services provided by the system:
The cost of facilities at the system that receive and store septage.
The cost of any testing of septage conducted by the system.
The cost of treating septage by the system. This cost may vary based on the quantity and type of the septage.
The portion of the system's additional administrative and personnel costs for accepting the septage not reflected in the costs identified in subds. 2.
In determining its actual costs under par. (a) 1.
, a municipal sewage system may include any associated cost of capital, debt service, operation, and maintenance, and any other type of cost used by a municipal sewage system in establishing fees for the treatment and disposal of sewage by its customers connected to the system.
Each municipal sewage system shall establish a procedure to review a septage disposal fee charged by the system that is disputed by a licensed disposer.
Upon the request of a licensed disposer, a municipal sewage system shall use the procedure established by the system under par. (a)
to review whether a septage disposal fee charged by the system for the quantity and type of septage specified by the licensed disposer conforms with sub. (5) (c) 4.
After pursuing the review of a septage disposal fee under par. (b)
, a licensed disposer may request the staff of the public service commission to informally review the disputed septage disposal fee. If the staff determine that there is sufficient basis for a dispute regarding the fee and that use of the procedure under par. (b)
is not likely to resolve the dispute, the staff may agree to review the disputed septage disposal fee. Based on its review, the staff may recommend a reasonable septage disposal fee that conforms with sub. (5) (c) 4.
If the use of the procedure under par. (c)
does not lead to resolution of the dispute, the licensed disposer requesting the review under par. (c)
may make a written request to the public service commission for review of the disputed septage disposal fee under s. 66.0821 (5)
or 200.59 (5)
Upon the request of a licensed disposer, or the public service commission or its staff, a municipal sewage system shall provide information to the requester concerning the basis of its septage disposal fees. A municipal sewage system shall provide to the public service commission or its staff any other information that the commission or its staff requests related to a review under par. (c)
Notice of septage disposal increases.
Each municipal sewage system shall notify each licensed disposer currently approved under sub. (5) (b)
to dispose of septage in the system of any increase in a disposal fee applicable to the licensed disposer at least 60 days prior to imposing the increased disposal fee. The notice shall include a description of how the system calculated the new disposal fee.
History: 1983 a. 410
; 1989 a. 31
; 1995 a. 227
; Stats. 1995 s. 281.49; 2005 a. 347
; 2009 a. 180
NOTE: 2005 Wis. Act 347
, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
Financial assistance program; local water quality planning. 281.51(1)(1)
As used in this section:
“Designated local agency" means the designated local agency under section 208 of the federal act.
“Federal act" means the federal water pollution control act amendments of 1972, P.L. 92-500
, 86 Stat. 816.