Vilas County Zoning & Planning is responsible for permitting and inspection private onsite wastewater treatment systems (POWTS) - commonly called septic systems - throughout Vilas County. For questions regarding septic sytems, please contact the sanitary department at (715) 479-3619 or the Deputy Zoning Administrator for your town. Please click here for a list of Deputy Zoning Administrators.
The Vilas County Land & Water Conservation Department has grant funding available for well abandonment. Click here for more information.
State Sanitary Permits
Vilas County is the agent for issuing sanitary permits for the installation of POWTS in Vilas County. Permits are required prior to the installation or modification of all POWTS. All permits must be signed with original signatures by a Wisconsin licensed Master Plumber or Master Plumber-Restricted Service. Vilas County only requires one copy of the application, which must be accompanied by a Vilas County Sanitary Checklist and the appropriate fee. Certain holding tank and pre-treatment systems require additional paperwork. Contact the Sanitary Department at (715) 479-3619 for more information.
- Sanitary Permit Application (SBD6398) (PDF Format)
- Sanitary Permit Application (SBD6398) (Fillable Word Fomat)
- Soil and Site Evaluation (SBD8330) (PDF Format)
- Soil and Site Evaluation (SBD8330) (Fillable Word Format)
- Vilas County Sanitary Checklist
- Fee Schedule (updated March 27, 2020)
- Certified Soil Testers Serving Vilas County
- Wisconsin Licensed Plumbers Serving Vilas County
- USDA NRCS Web Soil Survey
- POWTS for Non-Domestic Wastewater (WisDNR)
County Sanitary Permits
County Sanitary PermitsThe Vilas County Private Sewage System Ordinance requires permits for certain activities including but not limited to reconnections, the installation of an exterior pump crock, or a non-plumbing septic system (NPSS) such as a privy or composting toilet. Certain types of County Sanitary Permits have additional paperwork required. Contact the Sanitary Department at (715) 479-3619 for more information.
State Plan Review
State Plan ReviewVilas County Zoning & Planning has received agent status for state plan review of non-pressurized in-ground POWTS with a design flow <3000 gallons per day (gpd). State plan review fees are as follows:
- 0 - 1000 gpd design flow: $175.00 plus permit fees
- 1001 - 3000 gpd design flow: $225.00 plus permit fees
All pressurized systems, individual site designs, and commercial non-pressurized in ground systems > 3000 gpd design flow must be submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services for plan review prior to submission to Vilas County.
Sanitary Maintenance Program
Vilas County Zoning & Planning runs a sanitary maintenance program in accordance with the Vilas County Private Sewage System Ordinance and Wisconsin Administrative Code SPS 383.255. The over 22,000 identified POWTS in Vilas County are subjected to a required pumping and/or inspection once every three years. All POWTS receive a sanitary maintenance card for this pumping/inspection but systems installed using antiquated methods of soils work may require a verification using modern methods under certain circumstances. Please contact the Deputy Zoning Administrator for the town in which your property is located if you have questions regarding the sanitary maintenance program.
Continuing Education Opportunities
The following continuing education opportunites are available for those in the POWTS installation/inspection field. Click on the session for more information, including contact info and how to sign up. Inclusion on this website does not constitute an endorsement of the training or any of its providers by Vilas County.
DSPS has developed a waiver request process for tradespeople who were unable to attain the necessary continuing education credits due to the COVID-19 coronavirus public health emergency. For more information:
Code & Ordinance
- Vilas County Private Sewage System Ordinance
- Chapter 145 of Wisconsin Statutes
- SPS 305 Licenses, Certifications and Registrations(Appendix)
- SPS 381 Definitions and Standards
- SPS 382 Design, Construction, Installation, Supervision, Maintenance and Inspection of Plumbing(Appendix)
- SPS 383 Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems(Appendix)
- SPS 384 Plumbing Products(Appendix)
- SPS 385 Soil and Site Evaluations
- SPS 387 Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Replacement or Rehabilitation Financial Assistance Program (Wisconsin Fund)
- SPS 391 Sanitation(Appendix)
- NR 811 Requirements for the Operation and Design of Community Water Systems(Appendix)
- NR 812 Well Construction and Pump Installation
- DSPS Approved Component Manuals
DSPS Trades Pages
- DSPS eSLA
- DSPS eSLA Public Lookup (use for plumbing products, credentials, and component manuals)
- DSPS POWTS Program Web Page
- DSPS Plumbing Program Web Page
- DSPS POWTS Plan Review Program Page
- DSPS Wisconsin Fund Web Page
- DNR Well Program Information
- DNR Septage Business Information
- DNR Septage Operator Information
- Wisconsin Onsite Water Recycling Association (WOWRA)
- H20 & M: Individualized Septic System Guides
- Vilas County Online Mapping
- University of Wisconsin Small Scale Wastewater Management Program
- University of Minnesota Onsite Sewage Treatment Program
- National Small Flows Clearinghouse