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Chippewa-Eau Claire Sewer Service Area Planning

Housing Distribution map for the Chippewa-Eau Claire Sewer Service Area Update

(click image to enlarge)

2024 Plan Update

The existing Sewer Service Area (SSA) Plan for the Chippewa Falls-Eau Claire urban area has not been fully updated since its adoption in 2007, and the urban area has changed significantly since that time.  West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (WCWRPC) is working with the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) Policy Council and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to update the SSA Plan.  The plan update process commenced in May 2024 and a draft plan is expected to be completed in 9-15 months, then submitted to WDNR for approval. 


This INFORMATIONAL SHEET provides an overview of the SSA Plan update purpose, scope, and approach.


Meeting Agendas

July 22, 2024     Water Quality Management Technical Advisory Committee

What is Sewer Service Area Planning?

Sewer service area plans (SSA Plans) anticipate future wastewater needs, identify areas suitable for development, and help protect environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs) where development could have an adverse impact upon water quality.  Under Federal and State rules, SSA Plans are required for larger urban areas and become part of areawide water quality management plans.  SSA Plans are considered by Federal and/or State agencies when reviewing plans and grant applications for wastewater improvements, as well as during the State review of sanitary sewer extensions and certain private sewer laterals and interceptor mains.


The sewer service area (SSA) delineates areas with a potential for sewered development by 2025, excluding ESAs.  Inclusion of lands within the SSA boundary does NOT determine or guarantee that these lands will be developed, sewered, or annexed by 2025. 


Chippewa Falls-Eau Claire Sewer Service Area Plan

The current Chippewa Falls-Eau Claire SSA Plan was approved by WDNR in July 2007, with a policy update approved in February 2018.


Chippewa Falls-Eau Claire Sewer Service Area Plan (pdf)

WCWRPC is the local planning and administrative agency with the MPO’s Policy Committee serving as the local advisory and decision-making committee.  WDNR has final, decision-making authority over plan implementation, updates, or amendments.


The CF-EC sewer service area includes the cities of Altoona, Chippewa Falls, and Eau Claire, the Village of Lake Hallie, and portions of surrounding towns.  The goals, policies, and procedures of the SSA Plan apply to development and, especially, sewered development within the SSA boundary (see map below).  Again, inclusion of lands in the SSA does not suggest or guarantee that public sanitary sewer will be provided to all such areas. 


Implications for Proposed Development and Sewer Extensions

Proposed development and sanitary sewer extensions within the SSA boundary shall be reviewed in accordance with the following process for consistency with the SSA Plan:

SSA Plan Development Review Process (pdf)

For Sewer Extensions – A 208 Conformance Review is required by State rules for the installation or expansion of a public sewage system.   Under the SSA Plan, a sewer extension excludes plumbing in connection with buildings served (except PIMS as noted below), service laterals from buildings to a street main, and the maintenance or replacement of inadequate systems in areas previously served.  An application for a 208 Review Letter for a sewer extension must be submitted to WCWRPC by the developer or municipality.  See Chapter 6.1 of the SSA Plan.

Application Instructions for a Section 208 Conformance Review (click here)


For Private Hook-Ups/PIMS – As specified by State rules (SPS 382.20(4)), certain private sewer hooks, and private interceptor main sewers also require a 208 Review Letter.  In such cases, the local municipality is the review authority and the developer should contact the local municipality to request a 208 Review Letter.  See Chapter 6.2 of the SSA Plan.


For Other Development Not Requiring a 208 Review Letter  - The local municipality is responsible for reviewing and permitting other development, including ensuring consistency with the SSA Plan.  See Chapter 6.3 of the SSA Plan.


When is a SSA Plan Amendment Required?

SSA Plan Amendments should be rare and avoided if possible.  Four types of amendments may be made to the Sewer Service Area Boundary:


Type I amendments: Requests for boundary changes without the total acreage of the service area changing. (Land Swap Amendments)


Type II amendments: Requests to alter the boundary and the acreage of the service area.  (Land Addition/Subtraction Amendments)


Type III amendments: Requests to add holding tank service areas to the plan. (Holding Tank Amendments)


Type IV amendments: Requests for development of an environmentally sensitive area (ESA Amendments).  An ESA shall not be encroached upon by an intensive land disturbance and shall be considered unbuildable until a Type IV amendment is granted or otherwise properly approved under the SSA Plan.

Amendments are initiated by the municipality and submitted to WCWRPC following the process and application requirements in Chapter 6.4 of the SSA Plan. 


What are ESAs and how are they treated under the SSA Plan?

Chapter 3.4.1 identifies five environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs) that shall be protected and not encroached upon by any intensive land disturbance:

  • Surface Waters

  • 100-year floodplains

  • Wetlands. If potential wetlands or wetland-indicator soils exist, a site-specific survey and/or certified wetland delineation may be required. 

  • Steep Slopes.  For the plan, a steep slope ESA is a contiguous area of slope that is 20% or greater and at least 2,000 square feet total in size, and includes two classes.

Summary of Steep Slope ESA Definition

  • 20+% slope and min. of 2,000 square ft. is a steep slope ESA.

  • Class A – The steep slope and/or its 20 ft. top & bottom buffer overlaps a surface water, 100-year floodplain, or wetland ESA

  • Class B – Steep Slope ESA’s that are not Class A slopes.

See Chapter 3.4.1. for full definitions.

Encroachment by an intensive land disturbance (as defined in Chapter 3.4.2) upon any of the above within the SSA shall not be allowed without a Type IV Plan Amendment, except:

  • certain exceptions identified in Policy 2.1.3

  • A 208 Review Conformance Letter or other approval may be issued without a Type IV Plan Amendment for an intensive land disturbance within Class B steep slopes if an engineering report or its equivalent has been approved by the local regulating jurisdiction and such encroachments are reported to WCWRPC for tracking purposes.  See Policies 2.1.2. and 2.1.7.

A Type IV amendment request for which less than 1 acre of ESA is affected may be considered a minor amendment and eligible for an expedited administrative review.


ESA Protections in the SSA

The local regulating county or municipality is responsible for reviewing, discouraging, minimizing, and mitigating any steep slope  or other ESA encroachment and related impacts, regardless of the slope’s or ESA’s proximity to any other ESAs or if an intensive land disturbance is part of sewered or unsewered development. Failure to implement such policies may impact future sewer extension approvals by State agencies.  Local jurisdictions may have additional or more stringent requirements at their discretion.


The following table highlights the local regulations regarding erosion controls and steep slope protections in the SSA.  Other local plans (e.g., comprehensive plans, stormwater management plans) have additional policies related to ESA protection.

Construction site erosion control measures under the uniform dwelling code (IHLR 20-25) and WDNR rules (NR 151, NR 216)

All SSA Municipalities

Floodplain, shoreland, and/or shoreland-wetland ordinances

MS4 and WPDES Permitting.   As a federally-designated urbanized area, these municipalities have been required to obtain a MS4 permit to reduce polluted stormwater runoff by implementing stormwater management programs with a variety of educational, enforcement, and best practices activities.

Chippewa County

Land Division Regulations (Chapter 38) discusses steep slopes and stormwater controls.

Shoreland Zoning Regulations (Chapter 55) include additional slope and shoreland regulations.

Land Division Regulations address stormwater management and erosion controls.

Land Use Ordinances include prohibitions and requirements related to steep slopes.

Eau Claire County

Zoning Ordinance (Chapter 18) includes ESA protections

County Stormwater Management & Erosion Control Ordinance (Chapter 17.05)

Storm Water Comprehensive Plan 

Storm Water Ordinance (Title 19, Chapters 19.10, 19.20, and 19.30

City of Eau Claire

Storm water system conveyance modeling

Construction Site Erosion Control Ordinance (Chapter 30)

City of

Chippewa Falls

Stormwater Management Ordinance (Chapter 31)

City of


Village of Lake Hallie

Zoning Ordinance (Chapter 70) considers stormwater management.


The Sewer Service Area & ESA webmap was developed using ESRI ArcGIS to allow users to quickly view layers developed for the 2018 policy update.  This map contains all SSA & ESA layers described above using the most recent available data as of January 2018. 


Click on the image below to access the webmap and once loaded, the map will only display the Sewer Service Area Boundary.  As users zoom into the map, layers will become active, which helps improve the speed of the webmap layers loading in the viewer.


SSA Plan Conformance Tracking

Tracking of conformance with the Sewer Service Area Plan is required.  In particular, a brief tracking form is completed for any Section 208 review, steep slope (20+%) or other ESA encroachment, or SSA Plan amendment.  Direct access to this web-based form is limited to WCWRPC, county, or municipal staff responsible for reviewing or approving the related SSA planning actions, though the data entered into the form is available upon request as a public record.

SSA Plan Tracking Form - Staff Only (link to external site)

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