Private Septic Systems

Septic field dug out

Septic systems must be properly designed, installed, and maintained. This protects our ground and surface waters, and reduces the spread of disease.

Septic System Record Look-Up

Look up an active private septic system in Dane County.

View Septic System Records

(Scroll to bottom of page and click "search permit applications" under Permitting)

  • 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

Sanitary Permits

Our Sanitarians:

  • Review septic designs
  • Issue permits
  • Inspect system construction
  • Oversee required septic inspections and maintenance

We issue sanitary permits to make sure private septic systems are:

  • Installed in appropriate soil
  • In the proper location
  • The proper size so waste doesn’t cause a public health hazard.

You need a sanitary permit 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 needs to complete the Plan Review Application. They must send it to our office with the sanitary permit application, or to WI DSPS for review.  
  4. We will review your plans and permit application, and then issue a plan approval or a sanitary permit.

We want to better serve you! Fill out our 2-minute anonymous feedback survey about your health inspection.

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.

  • State and county law requires an inspection every three years for most systems. If that inspection finds the tank(s) to be 1/3rd or more full with combined scum and sludge, the tank(s) also need to be pumped.
  • A septic system inspection includes visual examination of all components and the area around the components to determine if the system is operating correctly. An inspection alone is enough to satisfy triennial maintenance requirements if the tanks are less than 1/3rd full of combined scum and sludge. Levels of scum and sludge must be measured during the inspection to satisfy triennial maintenance requirements.
  • Septic system service includes pumping to remove sludge and scum from the tank, cleaning of filters, pump repair, and other operations depending on the needs of your system.
  • You are responsible for getting your system inspection and service done and making sure this information is sent 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. Some septic systems need service on a more frequent basis. This is to keep filters clean or make sure mechanical systems are working correctly. If you have questions, check with your septic pumper. You can also call us at (608) 242-6515, or email us.
  • The septic maintenance fee is $9.54 per year per septic system. You will see this on your property tax bill. Tax exempt properties will get something that looks like a property tax bill, but it will only have the private maintenance fee.
  • 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.

Inspection and maintenance forms:

Septic Maintenance professionals:

We want to better serve you! Fill out our 2-minute anonymous feedback survey about your health inspection.

Maintenance Oversight

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

  • Sending reminder notices to private septic system owners to submit their maintenance report.
  • Reviewing maintenance and pumping reports to make sure systems are working properly.
  • Correcting problems on maintenance reports and making sure people comply with reporting requirements. This includes 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 or meet state or local regulations are abandoned properly.

Abandoning a Septic System

People who live in 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 us or call (608) 242-6515.

Septic System Abandonment Information and Form


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