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Public water system plan review

Basic process

Wisconsin Administrative Code NR 108, allows the Department of Natural Resource up to 90 days to approve, return or deny submitted plans for new construction or improvements relating to a public water system.

New well considerations

Contact us early in planning.

Average review process
  • Water Mains: 25–35 days
  • All other plan types: 60–90 days
Send completed plans for review to:

Cathrine Wunderlich, Public Water Engineering Section Chief
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater, DG/5

  • For US Postal Service delivery use:

    P.O. Box 7921
    Madison, WI 53707-7921

  • For UPS or hand delivery use:

    101 S Webster Street
    Madison, WI 53703

Approval requirements

Wisconsin Administration Code
Code Title
NR 108 [exit DNR] Requirements for Plans and Specifications Submittal for Reviewable Projects and Operations of Community Water Sytems, Sewerage Systems and Industrial Wastewater Facilities
NR 809 [exit DNR] Safe Drinking Water
NR 810 [exit DNR] Requirements for the Operation and Maintenance of Public Water Systems
NR 811 [exit DNR] Requirements for the Operations and Design of Community Water Systems
NR 812 [exit DNR] Well Construction and Pump Installation
NR 820 [exit DNR] Groundwater Quantity Protection

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When is an approval required?

An approval is required for any new or existing community water system making improvements, extensions or alterations which may affect the quality or quantity of water delivered. Approval is also required for wellhead protection plans for new wells servicing municipal water systems.

In addition to approval of the plans and specifications all new community water systems must receive capacity certification prior to placing them into service. See the Capacity Development web pages for information on capacity development and forms to be completed by other-than-municipal water systems seeking capacity certification.

Community water system means a public water system which serves at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents or regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents. Any water system serving 7 or more homes, 10 or more mobile homes, 10 or more apartment units or 10 or more condominium units shall be considered a community water system unless information is provided by the owners indicating that 25 year-round residents will not be served.

Municipal water system means a community water system owned by a county, city, village, town, town sanitary district, utility district or public institution as defined in s. 49.10 (12) (f) 1., Stats, or a privately-owned water utility serving any of the above.

Other-than-Municipal water system means a community water system that is not a municipal water system. Typically, these water systems serve mobile home parks, apartment complexes, subdivisions and condominium associations.

Public water system means a system providing piped water to the public for human consumption, if the system has at least 15 service connections or regularly serves an average of at least 25 individuals daily at least 60 days out of the year.

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Guidelines for plan submittal

A complete submittal varies with type of project and whether there is a submittal checklist for the type of project.

submittal requirements by project type button

All copies of plans and specifications for projects at municipal or subdivision water systems must have a professional engineer’s seal or signature indicating the plans were prepared under the supervision of a professional engineer licensed in Wisconsin.

There are no fees for submitting a plan approval.

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Project status

The status of any community water system plan review can be monitored with a link within our Drinking Water System (Oracle application). You will be able to search by facility, by project number or by consulting engineer. The information will be updated on a daily basis. Each record includes projects reviewed beginning in 2006. Please allow a week after your project has been submitted for the information to be entered into the database.

plan review web query button

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The bureau of Drinking Water & Groundwater supports additional programs related to the topic of Plan Review. For more information about those programs choose a link below:

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Policy & cross-program issues

The DNR reviews all water mains serving community water systems that are to be installed in street right-of-way or in dedicated public easements. The Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) [exit DNR] reviews all private water mains.

Because there is an overlap in the respective responsibilities a policy memo (PDF) outlining the agency responsibilities was drafted and approved (1/14/99).

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Last revised: Thursday August 15 2019