Privy Construction

All specifications herein set forth shall meet the minimum requirements of the following codes: Chapter 145.135, Wisconsin Statutes; Chapter NR 113.03 (50): Safety and Professionals Chapter 91 and Section 4.49 Sawyer County Zoning and Private Sewage System Ordinance.


Privies shall be located at a minimum horizontal distance of:
  • 10 feet from any slab constructed accessory building (i.e., garage, shed, storage building etc.)
  • 25 feet from any lot line
  • 25 feet from any habitable building
  • 25 feet from the edge of a 20% slope
  • 50 feet from any water supply well
  • 75 feet from navigable waters or watercourses
  • Setback distances from highways and other roads are:
    • State and U.S. numbered highways - 130 feet from the center line or 66 feet form the right-of-way line, which ever is greater.
    • County Trunk highways - 75 feet from the center line or 42 feet from the right-of-way line, which ever is greater.
    • Town roads - 63 feet from the center line or 30 feet from the right-of-way line, which ever is greater.
    • Private access easements - 30 feet from the center line.

General Requirements

  1. The privy building shall be insect and vermin proof.
  2. Privies should be provided with a concrete floor and risers and the interior painted or paneled.
  3. Privies should be provided with a suitable approach, such as concrete, gravel or cinder block.
  4. All windows, ventilators, and other openings should be screened with 16 mesh screening to prevent entrance of insects
  5. Privy doors should swing and be self-closing.
  6. Privy seats should be provided with hinged covers.
  7. The entire installation should be kept clean and sanitary. Freshly slaked lime or other equally effective disinfectants should be used at frequent intervals for odor control.
  8. Floors, walls, seats and urinals should be scrubbed as often as possible.
  9. The outer base of the privy should be banked with earth.
  10. For open pit privies, the bottom of the pit shall be a minimum of 3 feet above high groundwater or bedrock. A certified soil test and site evaluation is required for open pit privies. No soil test is required if a vault privy is installed. The soil test must be filed in the zoning office before permits will be issued.
  11. Concrete or cement block foundation walls should extend 6 inches above the ground and 12 inches below the ground to prevent the entrance of insects and vermin.
  12. It is suggested, but not mandatory, that the open pit privy be excavated to a 5 feet depth and the pit be provided with a wood crib lining.
  13. The vault privy shall have a water-tight vault and be constructed of welded steel, monolithic concrete, glass-fiber reinforced polyester or other materials approved by the Department of Commerce.
  14. An exterior vermin-tight access opening for cleaning of the vault shall be provided where a water-tight vault has been installed.
  15. Vault privies should be ventilated with a pipe of at least 4 inches in diameter which terminates at least one foot above the roof of the privy and is provided with an effective ventilating hood.
  16. The privy should be provided with cross ventilation equal to 2 square feet of screened opening for each seat.
  17. The vault privy should be cleaned/pumped out when nearly full by a licensed septic hauler.
  18. According to Department of Commerce 91.12 Privies 1 the storage chamber of a vault privy shall have a minimum storage capacity of 200 gallons or 1 cubic yard.


  • Under Chapter 83 Wisconsin Department, Private Sewage, any building containing a water closet, wash basin, kitchen sink, shower, bathtub, laundry facility, dishwasher, or other fixture receiving domestic waste, requires connection to an approved waste disposal system.
  • If a dwelling will include any type of indoor plumbing fixtures, a Sanitary Permit must be obtained prior to the issue of a Land Use Permit.
  • Size restrictions, footprint shall not exceed 6 feet by 6 feet maximum, maximum height 10 feet to peak of roof.
  • Privies shall not be used for storage.