Wisconsin Fund Program

Private Sewage System Replacement
or Rehabilitation Grant Program

The Wisconsin Fund Program provides financial incentives to protect public health, safety, and the waters of the state. The program awards grants to replace or rehabilitate failing private sewage systems statewide.

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 private sewage system may not show any apparent signs of failure and yet be failing.

Types of Failing Private Sewage System Categories

  • Category 1 Systems which fail by discharging sewage to 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 which fail by discharging sewage to 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 which fail by causing the backup of sewage into the structure served. This type of failing system is not eligible for grant assistance. 

Who can apply for a Grant
You may be eligible for a grant under this program, if ALL of the following requirements are met:

  • You reside in Barron County and the structure being served by the failing private sewage system is your principal residence (PR) or is a small commercial establishment (SCE).
  • You have received a written enforcement order/determination of failure to correct the violation from the county zoning office before replacement begins.
  • Your PR or SCE is not located in an area served by a municipal sewer.
  • The private sewage system serving your PR or SCE was constructed prior to July 1, 1978.
  • The family income of all owners of the PR is less than $45,000 or the gross revenue of the SCE is less than $362,000. (Grant awards for PRs are reduced by $.30 for each $1.00 earned over $32,000.)
  • Your PR or SCE is served by a category 1or 2 failing system.
  • The PR or SCE is occupied 51% of the year by the owner.
  • The SCE is operated by the owner and has a daily wastewater flow rate less than 5,000 gpd.
  • Your application is submitted within three years from the date of the verification of failure.  

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 private sewage system failures.

Category 1 grants are paid in full before Category 2 grants are eligible for funding. If there are insufficient funds to provide payments for all Category 1 grants, these grants are prorated, and no funds are provided for Category 2 systems. If funds are adequate to fully fund Category 1 grants, then remaining funds are used for Category 2 grants. If these Category 2 grants cannot be fully funded from remaining funds, these grants are also prorated.