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Request for Examples of groundwater protection in zoning By -laws


Hi All:
Anybody out there able to point to example(s) of zoning ordinaces (by-laws) that have codified grooundwater protection areas - maybe by way of an overlay district.

If yu have something to share, please post a reply to this thread.


Cyburbian Emeritus
Here's ours :

The formatting gets a bit funky when dropped into the Cyburbia reply box, but you should be able to get the gist of it.

Through the Wisconsin Legislative Act 410 (effective May 11, 1984), and as the residents of the City of Muskego depend exclusively on groundwater for a safe drinking water supply, it is recognized that certain land use practices and activities can seriously threaten or degrade groundwater quality. The intent of this overlay district is to protect the City of Muskego's municipal water supply and well fields.

The regulations specified by this district shall apply to all lands that lie within the five year Time of Travel (TOT) of each City of Muskego municipal well or 1,200 feet minimum, within the City of Muskego corporate limits, and have a well head protection area delineated in a Well Head Protection Plan accepted by the City.

9.11(1) Lot Size per underlying district.
9.11(2) Density per underlying district.
9.11(3) Building Location per underlying district but see 9.11(7)A. B. & C. for additional locational requirements and restrictions.
9.11(4) Building Size per underlying district.
9.11(5) Open Space per underlying district.
9.11(6) Height per underlying district.

Required horizontal separation distances between a well and the following land uses and facilities.
1. 50 feet between a well and a storm sewer main.
2. 200 feet between a well and any sanitary sewer main, lift station or single family residential fuel oil storage tank. A lesser separation distance may be allowed for sanitary sewer mains where the sanitary sewer main is constructed of water main materials and joints and pressure tested in place to meet current AWWA 600 specifications. In no case may the separation distance between a well and a sanitary sewer main be less than 50 feet.
3. 400 feet between a well and a septic tank receiving less than 8,000 gallons per day, a cemetery or a storm water detention or retention pond.
4. 600 feet between a well and any gasoline or fuel oil storage tank installation that has received written approval from the Wisconsin Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations or its designated agent under s. ILHR 10.10., Wisconsin Administrative Code.
5. 1,000 feet between a well and outer limits of land used for the application of municipal, commercial or industrial waste; industrial, commercial or municipal wastewater lagoons or storage structures; and septic tanks or soil absorption units receiving 8,000 gallons of wastewater per day or more.
6. 1,200 feet between a well and any solid waste storage, transportation, transfer, incineration, air curtain destructor, processing, one time disposal or small demolition facility; sanitary landfill; salt or deicing material storage area; gasoline or fuel oil storage tanks that have not received written approval from the Wisconsin Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations or its designated agent under s. ILHR 10.10; bulk fuel storage facilities; and pesticide or fertilizer handling or storage facilities.
7. In addition, lands within the calculated Well Head Protection Area for each well are subject to the following permitted and prohibited zones:

a. Permitted Uses. The following land uses are permitted uses within both the Primary and Secondary Well Head Protection Area if first permitted by the underlying zoning district, and not prohibited under 17:9.11(7)A 7.b. or 17:9.11(7)A.7.c.:
(1) Parks, provided there are no on-site waste disposal or fuel oil storage tank facilities associated within such use,
(2) Playgrounds
(3) Wildlife areas,
(4) Non motorized trails, such as biking, skiing, nature and fitness trails,
(5) Residential uses,
(6) Agricultural activities (see prohibited uses 17:9.11 (7)A 7.b. or 17:9.11(7)A.7.c.)
(7) Commercial and industrial uses, except those listed as prohibited below,

b. Primary Zone Prohibited Uses. The following uses are prohibited uses within the Primary Well Head Protection Area:
(1) Animal waste storage facilities,
(2) Asphalt products manufacturing,
(3) Bulk fertilizer and pesticide storage facilities,
(4) Bus or truck terminals,
(5) Dry cleaning facilities,
(6) Electroplating,
(7) Exterminating shops,
(8) Garage and vehicular towing,
(9) Gas stations,
(10) Hazardous and toxic materials storage and use,
(11) Hazardous and toxic waste facilities,
(12) Junk yards or auto salvage yards,
(13) Landfills or waste disposal facilities,
(14) Non municipal spray wastewater facilities,
(15) Non municipal wastewater treatment facilities,
(16) Paint and coating manufacturing,
(17) Printing shop,
(18) Public and municipal maintenance garages,
(19) Radioactive waste facilities,
(20) Salt Storage,
(21) Seepage and/or sludge spreading,
(22) Tire and battery services,
(23) Underground storage tanks,
(24) Vehicle repair establishments, including auto body repair, and
(25) Waste Transfer Stations.

c. Secondary Zone Prohibited Uses. The following uses are prohibited uses within the Secondary Well Head Protection Area:
(1) Animal waste storage facilities,
(2) Bulk fertilizer,
(3) Garage and vehicular towing,
(4) Gas stations,
(5) Underground storage tanks,
(6) Vehicle repair establishments, including auto body repair and,
(7) Landfills or waste disposal facilities.

8. Requirements for existing facilities prohibited by Sec. 17:9.11 (7) A 7. b. and c. as listed above are as follows:
a. Facilities shall provide copies of all federal, state and local facility operation approvals or certificate and on-going environmental monitoring results to the City of Muskego.
b. Facilities shall provide additional environmental or safety structures/monitoring as deemed necessary by the City of Muskego, which may include, but is not limited to, stormwater runoff management and monitoring.
c. Facilities shall replace equipment or expand in a manner that improves the existing environmental and safety technologies already in existence.
d. Facilities shall have the responsibility of devising and filing a contact list with the City of Muskego for the immediate notification of City of Muskego officials in the event of an emergency.
e. In the event the individual and/or facility causes the release of any contaminants which endanger the District, the activity causing said release shall immediately cease and a cleanup satisfactory to the City of Muskego shall occur
f. The individual/facility shall be responsible for all costs of cleanup, City of Muskego consultant fees at the invoice amount, plus administrative costs for oversight, review and documentation.

B. Permitted Accessory Uses
1. Any accessory use as permitted in the underlying basic district unless otherwise prohibited by 17:9.11(7)A 7.b or 17:9.11(7)A.7.c.

C. Permitted Uses By Conditional Grant

1. By Conditional Use Grant, if the use is not expressly prohibited by 17:9.11(7)A 7.b or 17:9.11(7)A.7.c., individuals and/or facilities may request the City of Muskego permit other land uses in the Well Head Protection Area, or any conditional uses permitted in the basic underlying district.
a. All requests shall be made in writing to the City of Muskego and shall include a report assessing the potential for contamination of the public water supply wells concerned.
b. A copy of the assessment report shall be provided to the City of Muskego for consideration and approval by the City of Muskego Plan Commission or any other body of authority deemed necessary by the Plan Commission.
c. All other aspects of the submittal shall be in conformity with 17:6.03 Conditional Uses.


There are a ton of bylaws (ordinances) addressing groundwater protection coming out of Washington State right now, as wellhead/groundwater protection is considered a critical area under the State legislation. You should go to www.mrsc.org and do a site search for groundwater protection ordinances.

Either they will be in an individual groundwater protection ordinance, or as part of an overall critical areas ordinance. But I promise you will come a way with at least a dozen examples, most of which have been adopted in the past five years or so.


Many of the ordinances from WA state are also overlays. Usually it involves hydrological analysis or a groundwater model that establishes the zones of contribution for the well head, groundwater recharge area, or other feature you are trying to protect. And then that contribution area becomes the overlay district. As an example, the City of Vancouver (USA, not Canada) has an interim ordinance and a draft of new regulations that you may want to check out by clicking here.