Land and Water Conservation staff is available to assist landowners with many issues involving shorelands, including shoreland erosion.
How do I prepare a nutrient management plan?
A nutrient management plan manages nutrients on cropland, resulting in cost savings and water quality protection. Land and Water Conservation staff can assist landowners in writing nutrient management plans for their cropped fields.
How do I report manure runoff?
Call 715-346-1334 and ask for Land and Water Conservation staff. They respond to citizen complaints regarding manure runoff in Portage County.
What is cost sharing and what can it be used for?
Cost sharing is funding assistance to landowners found to be eligible for financial help to install conservation practices. Some common practices are:
Diversions - used to protect areas from soil erosion and to keep livestock feedlots dry and minimize potential manure runoff by diverting runoff water around the area.
Field windbreaks - used to control soil erosion by reducing wind velocities at the land surface. Refer to the Central Wisconsin Windshed Partnership Group(CWWP) webpage
Grade stabilization structures - used to prevent gullies from forming.
Riparian buffers - establishing/enhancing vegetation to provide wildlife habitat and reduce sediment, nutrients and pollutants from entering surfacewater.
Streambank and shoreline protection - planting vegetation to create wildlife habitat and protect the banks of streams and lakes against erosion.
Wetland development or restoration - construction of shallow water areas or destruction of tile line or drainage ditch functions to create or restore wildlife habitat.
Manure storage systems - a structure that stores manure, which increases available nutrients for crops and leads to savings on purchased fertilizers. A permit is required for all manure storage systems. The LCD highly recommends a minimum of six months capacity so winter spreading and manure runoff violations can be avoided.
Barnyard runoff control system - a concrete barnyard system used to contain manure in areas of concentrated livestock activity, which minimizes potential manure runoff violations.
Is there a fee for Land and Water Conservation staff assistance?
No. Technical assistance is available to Portage County landowners free of charge.
What is a POWTS
POWTS is an acronym for a Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment System. A more widely used term is 'septic system'. It is intended to treat domestic wastewater. The most common onsite system used is a septic tank in combination with a traditional drain field. A properly designed, installed, and maintained system should operate for 20 to 40 years or more, treating wastewater to minimize the negative impact on groundwater, surface water, and human health.
What is the reason for POWTS regulation
The State law is intended to protect the health and safety of Wisconsin residents and to protect the ground and surface waters of the State. It is important to make sure that wastewater or effluent from the septic system is being treated properly, and to identify septic systems when they are not functioning properly. If a failing septic system contaminates drinking water, it can affect many more people than just the owner of the septic system.
What is required of me as a POWTS owner?
After this initial information goes out and the inventory is completed, the County will begin sending out parcel-specific information and pumping notices. The pumping notice will have questions on it that need to be answered, thus you will have to contact a licensed pumper to come out to inspect your system and get it pumped. Once the pumping form is completed, you need to return it to the Planning and Zoning Department within the allotted timeframe. Once your POWTS is entered into our system, you will receive pumping notices every three years reminding you that your system is due to be pumped.
Where can I find the regulations regarding POWTS maintenance?
SPS 383.255 and State Statute 145.20(5) address the requirement that counties must inventory all septic systems (POWTS) in the county and have a maintenance program in place encompassing all of these systems. SPS 383.54 addresses the maintenance requirements for all POWTS, indicating the type of maintenance that must be performed on these systems and who must perform it.
What is the Inventory and Maintenance Program?
Each governmental unit within the State of Wisconsin is required to conduct, complete and maintain an inventory of all POWTS located within their jurisdictional area. The inventory does not require site visits, POWTS identification, or an evaluation of the POWTS. Upon completion of the inventory, the governmental unit shall develop and implement a comprehensive POWTS maintenance program, which is a process that accepts and records inspections, evaluations, maintenance, and servicing reports submitted by the POWTS owner or owner’s agent. Every POWTS shall be visually inspected at least once every three years to determine whether wastewater or effluent from the POWTS is ponding on the surface of the ground.
What is the on-line POWTS maintenance reporting system?
Portage County has begun an on-line reporting system for filing of POWTS maintenance reports. When a pumper has completed maintenance of a POWTS, they are to log onto the Portage County website http://powtsweb.co.portage.wi.us/PermitManagement and file a report on the correct parcel. Any person may go to the site and view their parcel to see if the information has been reported and view maintenance history.
What happens if I refuse to do POWTS maintenance?
Legal action will be taken in the form of a Summons and Complaint requiring court appearance. You may respond to the Summons and Complaint by either contacting the Planning and Zoning Department before the court date or by appearing in court. If you fail to respond, a judgment will be issued against you in the amount of $5,000 until we gain compliance. A forfeiture amount will be determined at the time of compliance.
What if I pump my septic tank every year or every two years?
While pumping your septic tanks every three years is the requirement, many experts in the field will recommend a more frequent maintenance program. If you do have your system serviced at a more frequent time interval, you may provide your pumper with a copy of the pumping form for them to fill out and return to the County. If you do not have a form, please contact Portage County Planning and Zoning Department to obtain one, 715-346-1334, or you may access a form online here. Portage County will continue to send pumping reminders every three years from the last date we have on record.