Van Vliet Lake Association

 A Septic System Update



April 27, 2009

A few short years ago when the Van Vliet Lake Association was spearheading an effort to get lakeshore properties rezoned to R-1 (a highly successful endeavor despite inaccurate information that has been disseminated since) I saw a correlation between the assembling and listing of property owners, tax numbers and land use that caused me to spend some time developing an inventory for all the septic systems on Van Vliet Lake, at least those that are known and documented. From this we compiled a list of property owners who were on the “maintenance system” which was established Countywide as the result of a State mandate. Our website currently lists the properties who are on the system. If your property is not listed it is likely that your septic is pre 1980 and does not comply with current code.

The State of WI recently (Mar 01, 2009) advised their 72 counties that they SHALL begin a physical inventory and record establishment for all remaining non-compliant septic systems (POWTS). Comm. 83.255 outlines the State edict and the compliance timeline (three years). Vilas County is currently deeply into the data base establishment. How this affects property owners and the County procedures to compel this septic compliance has yet to be worked out. But-you can expect a 1) notification process, probably US mail, probably registered, 2) provision for a reasonable amount of response time, 3) perhaps a follow up notification for non-respondents, 4) the process the landowner must comply with (certified soil testing and tank inspection for sure), 5) the correction process, if necessary with the attendant costs absorbed by the land owner, and 6) the process to deal with non-compliance which would involve the courts and law enforcement.

Bottom line, if you know your system to be pre-1980 and you are not on the maintenance system, you will be faced with involvement in this process. The easiest and least costly results would be the fees charged by a certified soil tester, an excavator and tank inspection. The worst-case scenario would be a complete new septic system or mound system or holding tank depending on the conditions found.

Given the state of the economy this is probably not the happiest news you could receive if your septic falls into this category. Nonetheless the short and long term health of the nearly 12,000 lakes in WI needs attention as does the health issues of runoff and ground water and aquifer contamination from failed systems. Feel free to contact me for additional information regarding this process or you may wish to contact Vilas County @ 479-3620.

Jeff Burke