Septic field dug outProper design, installation and maintenance of septic systems protect our ground and surface waters, and reduce the spread of disease. Our sanitarians review septic designs, issue permits, inspect system construction, and oversee required septic inspections and maintenance.


Sanitary Permits

We issue sanitary permits to make sure that private septic systems are installed in appropriate soil, in the proper location, and are the proper size so that waste does not cause a public health hazard.

A Sanitary Permit is needed to:

  • Install a new private septic system or replace a system
  • Repair, extend, or enlarge an existing private septic system
  • Reconnect to an existing private septic system
  • Modify an existing private septic system in some other way

Steps to Getting a Sanitary Permit

  1. Have a soil evaluation done by a licensed certified soil tester.
  2. Get a system design from a licensed professional. Options include a Master Plumber, Master Plumber Restricted, or a Certified Designer. A professional engineer may have the credentials to design a septic system in some cases.
  3. Ask your licensed professional to submit your Sanitary Permit Application to us. For information about fees, see Well & Septic Program Fee Schedule. If your proposed system requires plan review, your designer will need to complete the Plan Review Application and submit to our office with the sanitary permit application or to WI DSPS for review.  
  4. Our sanitarian will review your plans and permit application, and then issue a plan approval or a sanitary permit.

Septic System Record Look-Up

Look up an active private septic system in Dane County.

View Septic System Records

  • In the search screen that comes up, you can search by the address or the parcel number. Do not try to search both at the same time.
    • If you search by address, enter the street number in the “Street No.” field, then Enter the first 2 or three letters of the street name in the “Street Name” field (i.e. “Sta” for State Highway 32 or “Bai” for Bailey Rd). Do not enter direction, street type, unit type, unit no., city, state, zip, or parcel.
    • If you search by parcel number, enter the 12-digit parcel number without dashes (i.e. “090737520001” for 0907- 375-2000-1), do not fill in any other fields.
  • Your search results will appear at the bottom of the screen. You may have to scroll down to see your results.
  • In the list of results, the septic system ID or record number  will be bold and underlined. Click on the septic system ID to get more information If multiple records are listed, click on each record to find the correct system.
  • Detailed Instructions for Looking Up Septic System Records

Septic System Maintenance

All septic systems in Dane County must be inspected and serviced on a regular basis to make sure that they are working correctly. This prevents septic system failures or helps to identify them as quickly as possible.

  • You (private septic system owner) are responsible for getting your system inspection and maintenance completed and making sure that this information is reported to us. Most septic pumpers can submit the maintenance report for you online. Make sure to provide the notice you received to them. Septic pumpers only report service after receiving payment. If your report has not yet been submitted, please check with the pumper to make sure they have received your payment.  
  • Most septic systems require service every three years. Certain types of septic systems need service on a more frequent basis to keep filters clean or make sure mechanical systems are working correctly. If you have questions, check with your septic pumper or call us at (608) 242-6515, or email us at privatewellseptic@publichealthmdc.com.
  • The septic maintenance fee is $9.54 per year per septic system and is billed on your property tax bill. Tax exempt properties will receive a document that looks like a property tax bill but will only have the private maintenance fee on the bill.
  • If you are having problems with your system, your system may be starting to fail. Work with a professional to determine how to fix the problem.

Below are some forms that you may need to report septic system inspection and maintenance.

Maintenance Oversight

We enforce Dane County's septic inspection and maintenance rules by:

  • Sending notices to private septic system owners reminding them when they are due to submit their maintenance report.
  • Reviewing maintenance and pumping reports to make sure systems are working properly.
  • Taking action to correct problems on maintenance reports and make sure people comply with reporting requirements. This may include issuing orders and citations, investigating property condition and ownership, and referral to Dane County Corporation Counsel for further legal action.
  • Making sure that septic systems that no longer work properly or meet state or local regulations are abandoned properly.

Abandoning a Septic System

Dane County residents are required to report the abandonment of their septic system to us. Notifying us right away helps prevent you from being charged a maintenance fee in future years. To find out if your system abandonment has been reported, please email privatewellseptic@publichealthmdc.com or call (608) 242-6515.

Septic System Abandonment Information and Form


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