Land Use


Sanitary Sewer and Water Supply Service Areas

SEWRPC regional land use plans have long recommended that the great majority of urban density development in the Region be served by both public sanitary sewerage systems and public water supply systems. In Wisconsin, State level oversight of sanitary sewerage and water supply services is provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). In the late 1970’s, State legislation was put in place in response to the Federal Clean Water Act that had the effect of requiring municipalities in the more urbanized areas of the State to prepare and adopt sanitary sewer service area plans. Upon approval of these plans by the DNR, the plans become regulatory documents that constrain State decision-making on locally proposed sanitary sewer extensions. As the designated water quality management planning agency for the seven-county southeastern Wisconsin Region under the Federal Clean Water Act, SEWRPC has the ongoing responsibility to work with local governments and sewerage agencies in the Region and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in fulfilling these planning requirements.

Sanitary sewer service area plans identify the outer boundary of the area within which sanitary sewers may be extended. The plans also identify the extent of environmentally sensitive lands within each sewer service area, wherein sanitary sewer extensions will be approved only on a special exception basis. The current status of sanitary sewer service area plans within southeastern Wisconsin may be found here. A map identifying the location and extent of the State-approved sanitary sewer areas may be found here.

The process of amending sanitary sewer service area plans in the SEWRPC Region is shown on this diagram and described in detail on this fact sheet. Certain environmentally sensitive lands are ineligible for public sanitary sewer service. These lands are described on this fact sheet. Additional information on sanitary sewer area planning in Wisconsin may be found at

The enactment into law of the Great Lakes Compact has created a relatively new process to prepare within southeastern Wisconsin local water supply service area plans. A fact sheet relative to this new requirement may be found here. SEWRPC is just beginning to work with local units of government and water utilities in preparing plans pursuant to this new State law. Planned water supply service areas have been delineated by SEWRPC for two local governments in southeastern Wisconsin—the City of Waukesha and
City of New Berlin.



Advisory Committe on Regional Land Use Planning


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Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission

W239 N1812 Rockwood Drive
P.O. Box 1607
Waukesha, WI 53187-1607

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


Global Water Center
247 Freshwater Way
Milwaukee, WI 53204

By Appointment


Phone: (262) 547-6721


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