Private Wells


The Village of Grafton has a private well abandonment ordinance that has been in effect since 1985 and addresses the requirements and procedures for abandonment of private wells located within the Village of Grafton. The ordinance also covers the option and procedures for obtaining an Operation Permit that allows for continued use of a private well.


The ordinance is meant to prevent contamination of groundwater and to protect public health, safety and welfare by assuring that unused, unsafe, or non-complying wells, wells which may serve as conduits for contamination, or wells which may be illegally cross-connected to the municipal water system, are properly abandoned. The ordinance applies to all wells located on premises served by the Grafton municipal water system.

Well Abandonment Required

All wells located on premises served by the municipal water system shall be abandoned in accordance with the terms of the Village Code Chapter 12.16 and Chapter NR 812, Wisconsin Administrative Code, within twelve months after written notification to the owner by the Grafton Water and Wastewater Utility, unless a valid well operation permit has been obtained by the well owner from the municipal water utility under the terms of this ordinance. In any case, private well abandonment must be arranged for and completed prior to the time of sale or property transfer unless a written statement is received from the prospective buyer indicating that he or she will be assuming full operation and maintenance responsibility for the private well including applying for a private well operation permit upon transfer of property.

Well Operation Permit Option

Owners of wells on-premises served by the municipal water system wishing to retain their wells for any use shall make application for a well operation permit for each well no later than 90 days after connection to the municipal water system. The Grafton Water and Wastewater Utility shall grant a permit to a private well owner to operate a well for a period not to exceed three (3) years providing the conditions of this section are met. An owner may request renewal of a well operation permit by submitting information verifying that the conditions of this section are met. The utility, or its agent, may conduct inspections or have water quality tests conducted at the applicant's expense to obtain or verify information necessary for consideration of a permit application or renewal. Permit applications and renewals shall be made on forms provided by the utility. All initial and renewal applications must be accompanied by a fee of $60.00. In addition, the following conditions must be met for issuance or renewal of a well operation permit:

A. The well and pump installation shall meet the “Standards for Existing Installations” described in s. NR 812.42, Wisconsin Administrative Code;

B. The well construction and pump installation shall have a history of producing bacteriologically safe water as evidenced by a least two coliform bacteria samplings taken a minimum of two weeks apart. In areas where the Department of Natural Resources has determined that groundwater aquifers are contaminated with substances other than bacteria, additional chemical tests may be required to document the safety of the water;

C. There shall be no cross-connections between the well pump installation or distribution piping and the municipal water system;

D. The water from the private well shall not discharge into a drain leading directly to a public sewer utility unless properly metered and authorized by the sewer utility;

E. The private well shall have a functional pumping system;

F. The proposed use of the private well and pump installation shall be justified based upon need due to lack of other reasonable alternatives.

G. The operation permit is not transferable to a new property owner.

Abandonment Procedures 

A. All wells abandoned under the jurisdiction of this ordinance or rule shall be abandoned according to the procedures and methods of NR 812.26, Wisconsin Administrative Code. All debris, pump, piping, unsealed liners and any other obstructions which may interfere with sealing operations shall be removed prior to abandonment.

B. The owner of the well, or the owner's agent, shall notify the utility at least forty-eight hours prior to commencement of any well abandonment activities. The abandonment of the well shall be observed by a representative of the utility.

C. A completed abandonment report form shall be submitted by the well owner or his agent to the utility and the Department of Natural Resources within 30 days of the completion of the well abandonment. The necessary report form is available through the Department of Natural Resources and also at the Grafton Water and Wastewater Utility.