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Wisconsin Fund Grant

Click here for Press Release regarding Wisconsin Fund for 2023

Established in 1978, the Private Sewage System Replacement or Rehabilitation Grant Program provides financial incentives to protect public health, safety, and the waters of the state. Since its inception, the program has awarded over $58 million in grants for nearly 28,000 residences and businesses to replace or rehabilitate failing private sewage systems statewide.

As part of this program, Wisconsin counties, Indian tribes, and municipalities within Milwaukee County may apply to the Department of Commerce, Safety and Buildings Division, for grants to assist owners of principal residences and small commercial establishments in rehabilitating or replacing a failing private system.

Who Can Apply for a Grant?
You may be eligible for a grant under this progrm if ALL of the following requirements are met:

1. You reside in a governmental unit that is participating in the program.

2. A state or governmental unit employee verifies that you have a failing system before replacement begins.

3. Your principal residence or small commercial establishment is not located in an area served by a municiple system.

4. The system serving your principal residence or small commercial establishment was constructed prior to July 1, 1978.

5. The family income of all owners of the principal residence is less than $45,000 or the gross revenue of the small commercial establishment is less than $362,500. (Grant awards for principal residences are reduced by $.30 for each $1.00 earned over $32,000.)

6. Your principal residence or small commercial establishment is served by a category 1 or 2 failing system.

7. The principal residence or small commercial establishment is occupied 51% of the year by the owner.

8. The small commercial establishment is operated by the owner and has a daily wastewater fiow rate less than 5,000 gallons per day.

9. Your application is submitted within three years from the date of the verification of failure.

When is my Private Sewage System Considered Failing?
When properly operating, a private sewage system safely treats wastewater by storing sludge and solids in the septic tank and by treating and dispersing wastewater in a soil absorption field. However, a failing system can harm the environment by discharging sewage to the surface, to a lake or stream, or to groundwater. Your system may not show any apparent signs of failure and yet be failing. If you have any questions about your system, you can contact the Land Information Department at (715) 732-7535.

The types of failing private sewage systems are divided into three categories:

Category 1 systems are those which fail by discharging sewage to the surface water, groundwater, drain tiles, bedrock or zones of seasonally saturated soils. These are considered the most serious types of failure, and are given highest priority for grant assistance.

Category 2 systems are those which fail by discharging sewage to the surface of the ground. This type of failing system is eligible for a grant but has a lower priority for funding than Category 1 systems.

Category 3 systems are those which fail by causing the backup of sewage into the structure served. This type of failing system is not eligible for grant assistance.

How Much Money Can Be Received?
The maximum grant is limited to the amounts listed in tables published in Wisconsin Administrative Code, or $7,000. (The Land Information Department will have a copy of these tables and can explain how they are used.) Amounts may vary based on the extent of the work needed to bring your system into compliance with the state plumbing code. Experimental systems are not included in the $7,000 maximum.

How Do I Apply?
1. Have the Land Information Department - Solid Waste Division verify the existing system is failing prior to its replacement.

2. Complete the front of the "Owners Application".

3. Provide a copy of your Federal Income Tax return for the year of or prior to the enforcement order or determination of failure if you are applying as a principal residence. If you are applying as a small commercial establishment, submit a copy of your Federal Profit and Loss forms for the year of or prior to the enforcement order or determination of failure.

4. Application fee of $100.

5. Provide a copy of any invoice(s) relative to the installation of the system and a copy of your cancelled check(s). Invoices should be marked as being paid.

6. Application deadline is December 31st of the current year.

Please note that this is an after-the-fact grant. If you qualify, grant awards will be disbursed in the Fall of each year.

You can get a copy of the Owner's Application for the Wisconsin Fund by clicking on the link below.

If My Application is Approved, When Do I Get the Money?
Grant funds are allocated on an annual cycle. The governmental unit submits an application to Commerce in January for all the eligible individuals within their jurisdiction. Commerce makes grant awards for these applications in the following fiscal year or in the fall of each year.

If the Application is Denied, Does the Failing System Still Need to be Corrected?
Yes. Remember, a failing private onsite wastewater treatment system is a violation of your local ordinance and state statutes and can result in water pollution and health hazards. You may be ordered to correct a violation even if your governmental unit is not participating in the program or if you are not eligilble to recieve financial assistance.

Wisconsin Fund Grant Money Is Not Guaranteed
If approved applications exceed available funding; Commerce is required to prioritize funds based on potential environmental harm associated with different types of system failures.

Category 1 grants are paid in full before Category 2 are eligible for any funding. If there are insufficient funds to provide payments for all Category 1 applications, these are prorated and nothing is provided for the Category 2 systems. If Category 1 applications are fully funded, remaining funds are used for Category 2 systems. If the remaining funds cannot cover all of the Category 2 applications, these grants are also prorated.

Of the funds available each year, a maximum of 10 percent are allowed for small commercial establishments and a maiximum of 10 percent for experimental systems.

Click here for forms and documents to apply for the Wisconsin Fund »