Chapter 15.12


15.12.010    Scope.

15.12.020    Title.

15.12.030    Purpose.

15.12.040    Definitions.

15.12.050    Adoption of state law.

15.12.060    Plumbing inspector—Office established—General powers and duties.

15.12.070    Plumbing permits and licenses.

15.12.080    Plumbing fees.

15.12.090    Drainage of yard areas, roofs and sump discharges.

15.12.100    Holding tank guarantees prohibited.

15.12.110    Well abandonment/operation permit.

15.12.120    Abandonment of sewer and water connections.

15.12.130    New building sewers and drains and water services.

15.12.140    Underground lawn sprinkler installation in city right-of-way.

15.12.150    Notice and order format.

15.12.160    Emergency orders.

15.12.170    Backflow prevention inspection of nonresidential properties.

15.12.180    Violations—Penalties.

15.12.190    Other enforcement remedies.

15.12.200    Appeals.

Prior legislation: Prior code §§ 16.06 and 16.08.

15.12.010 Scope.

The provisions of this chapter govern the design, construction, installation, alteration, demolition and maintenance of all plumbing systems, appliances and fixtures. (Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012)

15.12.020 Title.

The provisions of this chapter shall be known and cited as the plumbing code of the city of Brookfield. (Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012)

15.12.030 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the city of Brookfield, by providing certain minimum standards, provisions and requirements for the design, methods of construction, installation and operation of all plumbing systems. (Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012)

15.12.040 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply. Words and phrases not otherwise defined shall have the meanings accepted by common usage.

“Plumbing” means and includes the following:

1.    All piping, fixtures, appliances, equipment, devices and appurtenances in connection with the water supply, water distribution and drainage systems, including hot water storage tanks, water softeners and water heaters connected with such water and drainage systems and the installation thereof;

2.    The construction, connection or installation of any drain or waste piping system from the outside or proposed outside foundation walls of any building to the mains or other sewerage system terminal within bounds of or beneath an area subject to easement for highway purposes, including private domestic sewage treatment and disposal systems, and the alteration of any such systems, drains or waste piping;

3.    The water service piping from the outside or proposed outside foundation walls of any building to the main or other water utility service terminal within bounds of or beneath an area subject to easement for highway purposes and its connections;

4.    The water pressure systems other than municipal systems as provided in Chapter 144, Wisconsin Statutes;

5.    A plumbing and drainage system so designed and vent piping so installed as to keep the air within the system in free circulation and movement; to prevent, with a margin of safety, unequal air pressures of such force as might blow, siphon or affect trap seals or retard the discharge from plumbing fixtures or permit sewer air to escape into the building; to prohibit cross-connection, contamination or pollution of the potable water supply and distribution systems; and to provide an adequate supply of water to properly serve, cleanse and operate all fixtures, equipment, appurtenances and appliances served by the plumbing system. (Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012: prior code § 16.02. Formerly 15.12.020)

15.12.050 Adoption of state law.

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the city of Brookfield adopts: Chapter 145, Wisconsin Statutes; SPS 302, 305 and 381 through 387, Wisconsin Administrative Code, and Standard Specifications for Sewer and Water Construction in Wisconsin are adopted and by reference made a part of this chapter with the same force and effect as though set out in full. Failure to comply with any of the provisions of such regulations shall constitute a violation of this chapter, punishable according to the penalties provided herein. (Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012: prior code § 16.01. Formerly 15.12.010)

15.12.060 Plumbing inspector—Office established—General powers and duties.

A.    General Appointment. The plumbing inspector shall be appointed by the director of inspection services. The plumbing inspector shall enforce all provisions of this chapter and all other state and city provisions relating to the construction, installation, alteration and repair of all plumbing within the city and shall make such inspections, perform such tests and issue such orders as may be necessary for such enforcements.

B.    Authority to Enter Premises.

1.    In the discharge of his/her duties, the plumbing inspector or his/her authorized agent may enter any building, upon presentation of the proper credentials, during reasonable hours for the purpose of inspection and may require the production of any permit or license required hereunder. No person shall interfere with the inspector while in the performance of his/her duties and any person so interfering shall be in violation of this chapter and subject to a penalty as provided by Section 15.12.110.

2.    If consent to entry to personal or real properties which are not public buildings, or to portions of public buildings which are not open to the public, for inspection purposes, has been denied, the plumbing inspector shall obtain a special inspection warrant under Section 66.0119, Wisconsin Statutes.

C.    Permits. The plumbing inspector or his/her authorized agent shall prepare suitable forms for permit applications and permits, shall take applications and issue to qualified applicants permits as required for all work contemplated by this chapter and shall maintain suitable records of the permits issued.

D.    Records and Reports.

1.    To the Council. The plumbing inspector shall keep in his/her office a daily record of all the transactions of his/her office, including permits issued and fees received, and shall make such reports thereon to the council as it may require.

2.    To the Waukesha County Department of Health and Social Services. The plumbing inspector shall make such reports to the department of health and social services as are required under Section 145.04(3), Wisconsin Statutes.

3.    Record of Special Locations. The plumbing inspector shall keep a record of all special sewer and water connections and shall make maps showing the locations of the same and the positions of all house drains, connections, junctions and other data necessary for the efficient operation of his/her office.

E.    Stop Work Orders. The plumbing inspector may order work stopped on the construction, installation, alteration or repair of plumbing when such work is being done in violation of this chapter. Work so stopped shall not be resumed except with written permission of the plumbing inspector; provided, if the stop work order is an oral one, it shall be followed by a written order within a reasonable period of time. (Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012: Ord. 1819 § 3 (part), 2001; prior code §§ 16.03(1), (2). Formerly 15.12.030, 15.12.040)

15.12.070 Plumbing permits and licenses.

A.    1.   Required. No work regulated by this chapter may be started until a permit has been issued by the plumbing inspector or his/her authorized agent to a state of Wisconsin licensed plumber or other person as provided below.

2.    Licensed Plumbers Permit. No person may install plumbing unless a licensed master plumber is in charge of the work at all times and who shall be responsible for proper installation. It is unlawful for any licensed master plumber to allow the use of his or her license, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of obtaining local permits for others or to allow the use of his or her license by others to install plumbing work. Actual installation may be performed by any plumber licensed by the state of Wisconsin and employed by the permit holder or employed by the firm or corporation of which such permit holder is a member, officer or employee.

3.    Property Owner Permit.

a.    A property owner occupying a single-family residential building as their home may apply for and be issued a plumbing permit for fixture placement at that dwelling without being licensed. The owner, and no one else, may only place the following fixtures: toilets, sinks, faucets, sump pumps, hose bibs, shower stalls, bathtubs, laundry sinks, dishwashers, garbage disposals, and refrigerator water lines. An owner may not relocate fixtures or relocate, alter, remove or add to existing drains, vents, or water lines.

b.    The owner is responsible to ensure that all work is installed in compliance with the Wisconsin Uniform Plumbing Code.

c.    Property owners may not apply for or receive a permit to install plumbing in new home construction or additions.

4.    Neither a permit nor a licensed plumber is required to eliminate leaks, remove obstructions in waste pipes, or restore defective valves, faucets and similar appliances to an efficient operating condition regardless of who performs the work.

B.    Permits May Not Be Assigned. No plumbing permit may be assigned to another person.

C.    Application. The application shall be in writing upon forms which the plumbing inspector shall provide and shall include the name of the owner and the description of the property on which the work is to be done along with such pertinent information as the plumbing inspector may require and shall state that the property owner and the applicant shall be bound by and subject to the provisions of this chapter.

D.    Issuance, Term, Suspension and Revocation. When the plumbing inspector is satisfied that the work proposed by the applicant can be done in conformity with the provisions of this chapter and after the appropriate fees have been paid to him/her, he/she shall issue the permit. Such permit shall be good for the continuous performance of the work named thereon. A permit shall automatically expire:

1.    When work has not started within three months from the date such permit was issued;

2.    Upon the written request of the person who received the permit;

3.    When work ceases for sixty (60) days without good and reasonable cause for same;

4.    On completion of the work for which it was issued, provided the plumbing inspector may, upon notice, suspend or revoke such permit for violation of the provisions of this chapter.

E.    Restrictions on Issuance.

1.    When the installation of any plumbing occurs contrary to the regulations of this chapter, the plumbing inspector shall issue an order to the violator and/or property owner to remedy the defective work. Failure to comply with the order shall be deemed sufficient reason for withholding future permits, in addition to other penalties provided in this code.

2.    If, after the issuance of a permit, there is an unreasonable delay in the performance of the plumbing work, or if there is a failure to promptly respond to official communications, or a failure to request final inspection, then such acts shall also be deemed sufficient reason for withholding future permits.

F.    Appeals for Failure to Issue—Suspension and Revocation. Any person directly interested who is aggrieved by the decision of the plumbing inspector to refuse to issue a permit or to suspend or revoke such permit or to order work stopped under Section 15.12.060 may obtain review of such determination. (Ord. 2831-23 § 1, 2023; Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012: Ord. 1541 § 1 (part), 1996; prior code §§ 16.04, 16.05. Formerly 15.12.050)

15.12.080 Plumbing fees.

A.    The following fees shall be paid to the Plumbing Supervisor before the plumbing permit is issued:


a. Each sewer connection to a main sewer or lateral at the curb



b. Over 100 feet of sanitary building sewer, building drain or storm sewer, per foot



Each water service connection to municipal system



Installation of each plumbing fixture or water connected appliance including toilet, bath, urinal, floor drain, sink, laundry tray, basin, bubble, or for each plumbing fixture opening including conductor bends



Inside sewer (building drain)



Minimum fee for any permit, where no other applicable



Minimum for water heater and water softener, water treatment



Each inspection after the second that is necessary to enforce ordered corrections



Each sump pump discharge connection to storm sewer



Five-year well operation permit



Backflow prevention inspection fees for nonresidential properties:


Water meter size

Inspection fee


5/8 inch



3/4 inch



1 inch



1-1/2 inch



2 inch



3 inch



4 inch



6 inch


B.    Penalty for Failure to Obtain Permit. If plumbing work is begun before the permit has been obtained, triple the above fees shall be charged, and the violator shall be subject to the penalties in Chapter 1.12. (Ord. 2858-23 § 1, 2023)

15.12.090 Drainage of yard areas, roofs and sump discharges.

A.    All clear and stormwater wastes, as defined by SPS 382.36, shall be discharged either by gravity flow or by mechanical means to a storm sewer, to the surface of the ground outside of the building or to other places of disposal as may be authorized by the plumbing inspector.

B.    No sump, or roof discharge whether by hose, trench or in any other manner, shall be installed or maintained to discharge, run or flow into an adjacent property.

C.    Any person responsible for permitting clear water to discharge to a sanitary sewer by any means whatsoever shall be subject to the penalties prescribed for violations of this chapter. (Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012: Ord. 2171-09 § 1, 2009; prior code § 16.07)

15.12.100 Holding tank guarantees prohibited.

A.    Holding tanks require a state permit that shall be issued only if the applicant files a pumping and transport agreement with the city as a written guarantor. Tanks require a warning device which is either an audible or indoor illuminated alarm, which alarms may malfunction and which do not meet their purpose if activated during times when no one is on the property to respond thereto. Malfunctioning holding tanks are a public health nuisance.

B.    The city will not hereafter be a guarantor to private pumping and transport agreements for holding tanks, except in the case of an existing building with septic tank problems found by the council to be unsolvable, and the council determines that a holding tank is necessary to prevent severe hardship. (Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012: prior code § 16.09. Formerly 15.12.110)

15.12.110 Well abandonment/operation permit.

A.    Purpose. To prevent contamination of ground water and to protect public health, safety and welfare by assuring that unused, unsafe or noncomplying wells, or wells which may serve as conduits for contamination, or wells which may be illegally cross-connected to the municipal water system are properly abandoned.

B.    Applicability. This section applies to all wells located on premises served by the city water system.

C.    Definitions.

1.    “Municipal water system” means a system for the provision to the public of piped water for human consumption. Such a system is solely maintained and operated by the city water utility.

2.    “Noncomplying” means a well or pump installation which does not comply with the provisions of Wisconsin Administrative Code NR 812, in effect at the time the well was constructed, a contamination source was installed, the pump was installed or work was done on either the well or pump installation.

3.    “Pump installation” means the pump and related equipment used for withdrawing water from a well, including the discharge piping, the underground connections, pitless adapters, pressure tanks, pits, sampling faucets and well seals or caps.

4.    “Unsafe” means a well or pump installation which produces water which is bacteriologically contaminated or contaminated with substances which exceed the standards of Wisconsin Administrative Code NR 809 or 140, or for which a health advisory has been issued by the Department of Natural Resources.

5.    “Unused” means a well or pump installation which is not in use or does not have a functional pumping system.

6.    “Well” means an excavation or opening into the ground made by digging, boring, drilling, driving or other methods for the purpose of obtaining ground water for consumption or other use.

7.    “Well abandonment” means the filling and sealing of a well according to the provisions of Wisconsin Administrative Code NR 812.

D.    Abandonment Required. All wells located on premises served by the municipal water system shall be abandoned in accordance with the Wisconsin Administrative Code NR 812 by March 31, 1994, and no later than one year from the date of connection to the municipal water system, whichever occurs last, unless a well operation permit has been obtained by the well owner from the inspection services department.

E.    Well Operation Permit. The inspection services department may grant a permit to a private well owner to operate a well for a period not to exceed five 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. Permit applications and renewals shall be made on forms provided by the inspection services department. A permit fee will be paid for a five-year well operation permit and each renewal for a five-year permit. All applicable fees shall be paid. The following conditions must be met for issuance or renewal of a well permit:

1.    The well and pump installation meet or are upgraded to meet the requirements of Wisconsin Administrative Code NR 812, in effect at the time the well was constructed;

2.    The well and pump installation have a history of bacteriologically safe water as evidenced by at least one sampling. No exception to this condition may be made for unsafe wells unless the Department of Natural Resources approves, in writing, the continued use of the well;

3.    There shall be no cross-connections between the well and pump installation and the municipal water system;

4.    The proposed use of the well and pump installation can be used for exterior hose bibs only.

F.    Abandonment Procedures.

1.    All wells abandoned under the jurisdiction of this section or rule shall be abandoned according to the procedures and methods of Wisconsin Administrative Code NR 812. All debris, pumps, piping, unsealed liners and any other obstruction which may interfere with sealing operations shall be removed prior to abandonment.

2.    The owner of the well, or the owner’s agent, shall submit to the inspection services department verification that the well has been abandoned.

G.    Penalties. Any well owner violating any provision of this section shall, upon conviction, be subject to penalties set forth in Chapter 1.12. If any person fails to comply with this section for more than ten days after receiving written notice of the violation, the city may impose a penalty and cause the well abandonment to be performed and the expense to be assessed as a special tax against the property. (Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012: Ord. 1935 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1875 § 2, 2002; amended by memo, 12/21/02; amended during 8/01 supplement; prior code § 16.10. Formerly 15.12.120)

15.12.120 Abandonment of sewer and water connections.

A.    Definitions. For the purposes of this section, “abandonment” or “abandon” means, in the case of a sanitary sewer lateral, excavating and capping the lateral on a property at the property boundary line and filling the remainder of the lateral to the sewer main with grout or another material approved by the city; in the case of a water service lateral, excavating and detaching the lateral on a property at the city’s public water main.

For the purposes of this section, “disconnect” or “disconnection” means, in the case of a sanitary sewer lateral, terminating the lateral on the property from the city’s sewer main at the property or easement boundary line with a temporary watertight cap; in the case of a water service lateral, excavating and detaching the lateral on the property at the property line/curb stop, or another location at the city’s discretion, to ensure that an air gap sufficient to prevent cross-connection and contamination is present.

B.    Any person, firm or corporation demolishing or moving a building or structure that is served by a sewer or water or both shall engage a licensed plumber under a permit to properly abandon or disconnect the building sewer or water or both. The plumbing permit shall be obtained before the permit to demolish or move the building is issued. The city engineer may determine the means and methods of abandonment or disconnection and is not limited to the means and methods listed in subsection (A) of this section, and the permittee shall comply with the city engineer’s determination. (Ord. 2592-20 § 19, 2020)

15.12.130 New building sewers and drains and water services.

A.    Installation of the building drain shall not be started until the building roof has been completed.

B.    All water services installed shall have a meter installed at the completion of the final inspection, regardless of their intention for using City water. The licensed master plumber to whom the permit is issued shall be responsible for the proper installation of the meter horn, building control valve upstream of the meter, and control valve downstream of the meter.

C.    The city engineering department, at the time the building drain permit is issued, will furnish the lateral location according to the best available city records. It is imperative that the plumber stub the house drain out of the building to accomplish as straight a lateral to the connection as possible.

D.    A backflow prevention device shall be installed on new residential single-family homes.

E.    Water Softeners. Ion exchange water softeners used primarily for hardness reduction, that during regeneration discharge a brine solution, shall be of a demand initiated regeneration type equipped with a water meter or a sensor unless a wastewater treatment system downstream of the water softener specifically documents the reduction of chlorides. Water softeners shall be plumbed with a bypass around the unit in accordance with Section SPS 382.40(8)(d)4 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code. Outside hose bibb(s) shall be plumbed such that only unsoftened water is provided to the fixture(s). This requirement applies for both newly installed and replacement softeners for residences, commercial and industrial businesses. (Ord. 2831-23 § 2, 2023; Ord. 2021-101915 § 1, 2021; Ord. 2347-13 § 3, 2013; Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012: prior code § 16.11)

15.12.140 Underground lawn sprinkler installation in city right-of-way.

The plumbing inspector will not issue the plumbing permit to install a lawn sprinkler system until a notarized hold harmless agreement has been signed by the property owner and submitted and has been approved by the department of public works. (Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012: prior code § 16.12)

15.12.150 Notice and order format.

A.    Content. All notices and orders from the department with respect to any matter under this chapter shall be in writing and:

1.    Shall include a description of the property sufficient for identification;

2.    Shall include a statement of the reason for the action;

3.    Shall specify a reasonable time for correction of violations;

4.    If the director desires, shall contain an outline of remedial actions which, if taken, will effect compliance with the provision giving rise to the violation;

5.    Shall advise the owner, operator or occupant of the right of appeal.

B.    Service. Notices and orders shall be served on the owner, the operator or the occupant or agent; provided, that the notice shall be deemed properly served upon the owner, agent, operator or occupant if served either by delivering a copy to the person or the registered agent personally or, if not found, by leaving a copy at his usual place of abode in the presence of some competent member of the family at least fourteen (14) years of age who shall be informed of the contents thereof or by mailing a copy to the person’s last known address. If the owner has not filed with the director a current address or the name and address of the person empowered to receive service of process, it shall be deemed sufficient notice to the owner that violations have been found if copies of the notice and order are mailed to the last known address of the owner as recorded with the register of deeds for Waukesha County. When service has been completed as prescribed in this subsection, the notice shall be effective notice to anyone having an interest in the property, whether recorded or not, at the time of giving the notice and shall be effective against any subsequent owner of premises as long as the violation exists and there remains an official copy of the notice in a public file maintained by the director. (Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012: prior code § 15.10(4))

15.12.160 Emergency orders.

Whenever the director finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health, the director may, without notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as necessary to meet the emergency. Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter, such order shall be effective immediately. Any person to whom such order is directed shall comply therewith, but upon petition to the Waukesha County circuit court shall be afforded a hearing in accordance with applicable procedures. After such hearing, depending upon the findings of the court as to whether the provisions of this chapter and all other applicable legal requirements have been complied with, the Waukesha County circuit court shall continue the order or modify it or revoke it. (Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012: prior code § 15.10(5))

15.12.170 Backflow prevention inspection of nonresidential properties.

Pursuant to the provisions of Wisconsin Administrative Code NR 810, the city of Brookfield is responsible for performing backflow prevention inspections of all nonresidential properties within the city. A fee shall be assessed to such properties to recover the cost of performing said inspections, in the following amounts:

Water meter size

Inspection fee

5/8 inch


3/4 inch


1 inch


1 1/2 inch


2 inch


3 inch


4 inch


6 inch


Inspections for high hazard rated sites shall be performed biannually. The fee for inspections of a high hazard rated site subsequent to the initial inspection shall be the same as the initial inspection fee for properties with meter sizes under two-inch. For properties with meters two-inch and larger subsequent inspection fees shall be one hundred thirty dollars ($130.00).

Such fees are a special charge for current services rendered to the property. Any such charges that remain unpaid on November 15th of the current year shall become a lien, and shall automatically be extended upon the tax roll as a special charge against the property served pursuant to Section 66.0627, Wisconsin Statutes.

An administrative charge of fifteen dollars ($15.00) shall be charged for each resident entity subject to inspection for which a special charge is placed on the tax roll in any given year.

Fees under this section shall not be applicable to inspections relative to any facilities owned and operated by the city of Brookfield. (Ord. 2473-17 § 1, 2017; Ord. 2290-12 § 1, 2012)

15.12.180 Violations—Penalties.1

Any person who violates an order hereunder after it has become final shall be subject to the penalties provided in Chapter 1.12. In addition, such person shall be subject to an action in injunction, mandamus, abatement or other appropriate action or proceeding as authorized in the Wisconsin Statutes. (Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012: prior code § 16.15. Formerly 15.12.150)

15.12.190 Other enforcement remedies.

The enforcement remedies described in Section 15.12.180 shall be in addition to all other remedies available to the city under any other ordinances of the city, any applicable state or federal law or regulations, and any other legal or equitable remedies. (Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012)

15.12.200 Appeals.

The board of zoning appeals of the city shall act as the hearing board for appeals of administrative decisions. Notices of appeal shall be filed with the city clerk. A fee of one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) shall be required of the applicant at the time that a request for a hearing before the board is made. (Ord. 2311-12 § 1 (part), 2012: Ord. 1617 § 4, 1997: prior code § 15.10(8). Formerly 15.12.160)


Code reviser’s note: Ordinance 2311-12 sets out Sections 15.12.170 through 15.12.190, which have been editorially renumbered as Sections 15.12.180 through 15.12.200 to avoid conflicting with the existing Section 15.12.170.