Waukesha County

Permit Application

There are two types of permit applications forms available for download -  Storm Water Permit Application and the  Small Site/Utility Installation Storm Water Permit Application . The small site/utility installation form requires much less detail in the erosion control plans, but can only be used for small sites that do NOT trigger the storm water management planning requirements in the ordinance.  (See permit  flowchart for triggers.)  The checklist for submittals is on the back of the small site/utility installation form.

All projects requiring storm water plans and any grading over an acre must use the Storm Water Permit Application. There are separate checklists that explain what must be submitted for erosion control and storm water plans. Please note the definitions on the application forms. They are important to ensure proper communication between the county and the client(s). The definitions clarify to county staff who the primary contact is for plans review comments, who's name will appear on the permit, who will be overseeing construction work, etc. While all parties involved are subject to enforcement action, many communication problems can be avoided by having these contacts correctly identified. The names of contractors are not needed at the time of application, but are needed prior to the issuance of the permit.

The application form also has a brief list of items that must be submitted along with it before it can be considered a "complete application", which starts the clock for review timelines. We STRONGLY encourage the applicant to apply for a "Preliminary Review Letter" prior to applying for a permit, which is described in more detail below.

Permit Application Fee
Permit fees help the County recover costs associated with administering the Erosion Control and Storm water Management Ordinance. These fees are established annually through the county budget process.  Fee Schedule.

Preliminary Review Letter
The Storm Water Permit Application form contains a column for requesting a "Preliminary Review Letter". We strongly encourage applicants to request this prior to a final permit. There is no additional cost involved and it can save the applicant considerable time and money. It can also help the applicant obtain other related permits prior to the completion of expensive construction plans. In fact, the county has adopted a  policy to require this review letter prior to issuing many other zoning related permits as a form of cross-compliance within the Parks and Land Use Department. So, if your project requires other permits from the county, please read and comply with this policy to prevent unnecessary delays with your permits.

Experience has shown that it is important that storm water be included in the early phases of site planning, because it can have major impacts on the final layout, design and landscaping plans. The Preliminary Review process is designed to make several permit processes run smoother and avoid costly delays, redesigns or enforcement action. The "Preliminary Review Letter" can avoid these problems by allowing the applicant to obtain review comments from the county early in the planning phase. The recommended process for preparing plans and obtaining county permits includes

  1. Meet with Land Resources and Planning & Zoning staff (and county Transportation staff if applicable) in the "Concept Planning" phase to clarify how various standards or restrictions may apply to the site and could be incorporated into the site plans. This may involve an on-site visit.
  2. Submit preliminary site grading, erosion control and storm water management plans and request a "Preliminary Review Letter", along with other applicable permit applications or approvals. If there are no major objections to the preliminary plans, other permits or approval processes may then be completed before final construction plans. For subdivision plats, the preliminary plans may be reviewed during a county  "Development Review Team" meeting.
  3. Prepare final erosion control and storm water management plans along with other construction and landscaping plans - incorporating earlier review comments. Submit for a final storm water management permit.



Following this process will be your best chance to obtain a permit in a timely manner. It should be noted that inadequate soil evaluations at proposed sites for storm water facilities are a common cause for permit delays. This information is usually needed in the preliminary planning stage. To avoid this problem, read the section below.

Soil Evaluations
Soil evaluations are a critical step in the storm water planning and design process. They need to be conducted very early in the planning stage at all sites where storm water facilities may be located. If not done, it can cause significant delays in the permit process.

As more emphasis has been placed on infiltration and treatment of storm water runoff, proper soil evaluations have become increasingly more important. These evaluations require the soil tester to enter an excavated hole and document the soil color, structure, texture, mottling and other soil features for each layer in the soil profile, using standard state  Soil Evaluation Report forms. A sample of a completed form is also available. The soil profile must be documented at least 3-5 feet below the bottom of any proposed storm water facility in several spots in order to ensure compliance with applicable technical design requirements. The completed soil profile evaluation is needed to make a number of decisions regarding storm water practice design, including:

  • Evaluating the soil stability, compaction and drainage conditions relating to berm design and construction for detention basins.

  • Documenting depth to bedrock or seasonal groundwater to determine compliance with applicable separation restrictions.

  • Evaluating the potential for infiltrating storm water and determining infiltration rates to use in practice designs.

  • Determining the soil's ability to adequately filter pollutants before storm water is allowed to seep into the local groundwater.

  • Calculating the availability of topsoil to be used for final landscaping.

  • Evaluating the need for a liner to hold impounded water and the availability of clayey material on-site to stockpile and reuse for a liner.


It has been standard practice to conduct soil evaluations for on-site septic system design for quite some time. However, completing the same evaluations in the low areas, where storm water practices may be located, will usually require a special request until soil testers become more aware of storm water planning requirements. This is a directive to remember when site planning begins for any development project.

General Requirements
Storm water permits are subject to these  general requirements. This form must be signed by the permit applicant prior to permit issuance.

Permit Posting
Once a permit is issued, it must be posted at the entrance of the site in plain view of the public and the inspector. The permit gives the public a number to call if they are concerned about any activity at the site relating to erosion control or storm water management. This should not be a problem for the permit holder as long as they follow the approved set of plans and the site remains in compliance with permit conditions.

Business Hours: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm Monday - Friday (excluding holidays)
515 W. Moreland Blvd., Waukesha, WI 53188

Room AC 170 - (262) 896-8270 - Land Information System
Room AC 230 - (262) 548-7790 - Park System, Planning and Zoning
Room AC 260 - (262) 896-8300 - Environmental Health, Land Conservation and Recycling
Room AC 320 - (262) 548-7920 - Community Development

If you have questions, please email Department of Parks & Land Use or call the numbers listed above.