I just found out that when I move my cabin onto my recreation property with privy I am not allowed any sinks or drains in said cabin.  I remember being around Green Bay in the 80s and seeing all the greywater from sinks and laundry just going right on top of the soil in that county and inquired back then and found it to be legal.

The cabin was on wrong side of property line after we divided up our land and I was moving it 300 feet and had what I thought was a grandfathered privy, they are making me apply for new permit, but wanting to know what greywater laws are in my state and how they can stop me from having a sink in a building that had a sink since the 40s?

Am I to wash outside and toss onto soil or can I have a drainfield or apply for some variance to get permit for said drainfield, I searched the state statutes and could not find term greywater in it…

I was hoping I could branch out the grey before it entered my tank and was turned into black so I could reuse for garden etc…



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Sorry to hear you’re having trouble with greywater after moving the cabin. I don’t know if your regulators would be able to let your system be grandfathered in or not after the cabin is moved.  If you haven’t already, I would try to ask them what they suggest you do, given the situation. There is always the Alternate Methods and Materials section of codes which provides them flexibility in permitting something out-of -the -ordinary.

Regarding greywater in Wisconsin, this is the information I have found, it’s from a report titled:

Treatment, Public Health, and Regulatory Issues Associated with Graywater Reuse by the WaterReuse Research Foundation in 2013.

(This doesn’t make it seem like it will be easy for you to get a simple, affordable permit for your system, unfortunately.) Wisconsin

Graywater reuse and stormwater management in Wisconsin is regulated under Chapter SPS 382 (Comm 82), Design, Construction, Installation, Supervision, Maintenance, and Inspection of Plumbing and SPS 383 (Chapter Comm 83), Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems. The state plumbing code includes water quality requirements, cross connection control, and frost protection for the use of all forms of wastewater and stormwater. A variety of use applications and water quality requirements are displayed in Table 4.12. These particular quality requirements are not unique to graywater applications and can apply to any form of wastewater.

Permitting, and sizing graywater systems are regulated under the private on-site wastewater systems (POWTS). For any POWTS exceeding 12,000 gpd, the Department of Commerce communicates with the Department of Natural Resources regarding mutual issues of interest and agrees on approving and installing the system. The design flow for a residential graywater POWTS is 60 gallons times the number of bedrooms based on two persons per bedroom. Commercial flows are designed based on measured daily wastewater flow over a period of time representative of the facility’s use or occupancy. After a POWTS is constructed, the owner is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the system including maintaining a maintenance contract with a POWTS maintainer that evaluates and maintains any part of the system at an interval of 12 months or less. The management plan should include

  •   accumulated solids and byproduct removal
  •   influent/effluent quantities and qualities
  •   metering, sampling, and monitoring schedules
  •   installation and inspection checklist
  •   evaluation, monitoring, and maintenance schedules for mechanical POWTS components
  •   start-up and shut-down procedures
  •   procedures for abandonment

    At the completion of each inspection, evaluation, maintenance, or servicing event, the owner or owner’s agent is required to contact the department and report on the service to the system. Prior to constructing or installing a POWTS, the owner of the property is required to receive a valid sanitary permit. To achieve this, plans and specifications are required to be submitted to the department. After installation, the Department of Safety and Professional Services may inspect the POWTS to ascertain whether the POWTS conforms to the approved plans. The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services maintain a database of approved wastewater systems that can be found online. The database provides information on specific requirements for each technology prior to implementation.

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I meet with zoning on Wednesday, the cabin hasn’t been moved yet.

Still having issue with the privy, going to inquire if building can at least me moved and set up on cribbing while work out well-septic-privy-greywater issue.

Live in state where industry can dump into lakes and streams but the little guy gets all the regulations, guess since they can’t push their pencils at people with money they will at people without…


Thanks again for your reply.

  • Laura
    Good luck with it! If you get a chance, I’d love to hear what happens in the end. It is so unfortunate for us all that industry gets to pollute, and simple, ecological, affordable systems are not often legal. In California examples like yours helped change the state code making simple greywater systems legal for most situations.
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