Frequently Asked Questions
You have the questions and we have the answers. Take a look at some common questions that we have received. If you still need assistance, give us a call!
Location of service access opening < 25 feet to an all-weather road measured from the furthest service access opening or pump out port. Anything more than this will result in extra hose charges.
Private On-Site Waste Treatment Systems (POWTS) are more commonly known as septic systems. System types include in-ground trench or bed, in-ground pressure, at-grade, and mound type systems.
The first portion of a septic system is the anaerobic treatment tank. This tank is where sludge and scum settle out. Excess sludge or scum could cause the baffle/ filter to plug, plug the drainfield or ruin a pump for the system if it is not maintained properly. State code requires a tank to be pumped once sludge and scum volume equals 1/3 full of the tank volume.
Holding tanks are also considered a POWTS. Holding tanks must be pumped once the liquid level reaches 1’ below the inlet invert or at 90% of the tank volume.
When a Private On-Site Waste Treatment Systems (POWTS) fails, inadequately treated wastewater is released into the environment , putting your family and community at risk. Untreated wastewater can contaminate nearby wells, surface water and drinking water sources.
Failing POWTS are expensive to repair and replace, and improper maintenance by homeowners is a common cause of early system failure.
IT’S THE LAW!
Wisconsin Statute 145.20 and Wisconsin Administrative Code SPS 383 requires the County to enforce a maintenance program. SPS 383.52 states the landowner is responsible for ensuring the system is not creating a health hazard. Failure to maintain a system under a maintenance plan shall be considered a human health hazard under Wisconsin Code.
The County is required to send out notices to septic system owners on a three year cycle to have their systems pumped or inspected. The notices have deadlines printed on them. First notices are sent in early spring with deadlines in August. If the County does not receive notification of maintenance from a property owner by the deadline of the first notice, a final notice is sent.
Final Notices are sent in August with deadlines in November. If maintenance is not reported by the final deadline, the County will issue citations to the property owner. The owner will receive a citation every year until compliance is met. Typically citations will be more then the cost of having a septic tank serviced. It is not in the County’s best interest to issue citations, it is to gain compliance. Issuing citations cost the County more time and money moving through the process, than citation revenue brought in.
If your tank is greater than 1/3 full of sludge and scum it will be pumped. If there is a filter in the septic tank it should be cleaned at this time. The service provider should ensure that baffles are in place and that there is no septage ponding to the ground surface.
If the service provider feels it is unnecessary to pump the tank because it is not 1/3 full of solids, it shall still be reported to the County. You should expect timely and accurate reporting of maintenance. State Statue and Wisconsin Administrative Code requires that your service provider report maintenance to the County within 30 days of Service. Your service provider reports maintenance to the County by either the property address or parcel number. This is why it is important that you provide the correct property address or parcel number to your service provider.
- Pump the tank when necessary – every 3 years or when tank is 1/3 full of solids
- Practice water conservation. Repair dripping faucets and leaking toilets, run washing machines and dishwashers only when full, avoid long showers, and use water-saving features in faucets, showerheads and toilets. Spread wash loads out throughout the week.
- Take leftover hazardous household chemicals to your approved hazardous waste collection center for disposal. Use bleach, disinfectants, and drain and toilet bowl cleaners sparingly and in accordance with product labels.
- Keep surface water away from septic system area.
- Avoid pouring grease down a drain. It can clog inlets, build-up in a tank, clog outlets, and congest the absorption field.
- Do not flush sanitary napkins, condoms, cotton swabs, dental floss, tampons, wipes, disposable diapers and cigarettes into sewer. These products are made of cellulose, plastic or other non biodegradable components.
- Don’t allow anyone to drive or park over any part of the system. The area over the drainfield should be left undisturbed with only a mowed grass cover.
- Limit use of state-approved commercial septic tank additives. Some products could damage the system.
- Don’t plant trees or shrubs over drainfield as many species have roots that will attempt to grow into the drainfield to seek moisture and nutrients and could damage your drain lines.
- Avoid having the septic tank pumped in colder months, it is more likely that the drainfield could freeze.