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Indiana Department of Environmental Management

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Table of Contents: Water Quality

Construction - Wastewater Treatment Facilities

Following is information about the various approval requirements for building or modifying wastewater treatment facilities, including sewer main extensions, lift stations, industrial or municipal wastewater treatment plants, and industrial or municipal pretreatment plants.

Which projects require an IDEM-issued Wastewater Facility Construction Permits prior to construction?

  • Sewer main extensions, but only if the construction does not otherwise have the approval of a local publicly owned sewer authority. Under Indiana Administrative Code
    (327 IAC 3-2.1-3), the applicant can gain local approval by submitting plans to the local wastewater treatment authority which meet all state water pollution control rules and are prepared by a professional engineer. The local authority is responsible for reviewing the plans and notifying IDEM of approved projects.
  • Lift stations. Wastewater collection systems usually rely on gravity flow, and to further facilitate that flow, sewer lines may be designed to flow to intermittent low points, where pumps "lift" the sewage to a higher elevation where it again flows by the force of gravity to the next low point.
  • New municipal wastewater treatment plants, or modifications to existing facilities.
  • New industrial wastewater treatment or pretreatment plants.
  • Modifications to existing industrial wastewater pretreatment plants discharging to publicly owned treatment works, but only if those pretreatment facilities are operating under an Industrial Wastewater Pretreatment Permit (IWPP) issued by IDEM.

Submitting a Notice of Installation in lieu of applying for a Wastewater Facility Construction Permit

Existing permitted industrial wastewater treatment facilities (those with a valid NPDES permit) or existing industrial pretreatment facilities (but only those with permits issued by municipalities implementing U.S. EPA-approved industrial pretreatment ordinances) need not obtain a Wastewater Facility Construction Permit from IDEM prior to making modifications to their water pollution control equipment or wastewater treatment facilities. However, if modifications entail the installation of additional equipment for the treatment or control of any new influent pollutant or to increase treatment capacity, the facility must file a Notice of Installation and a design summary with IDEM within 30 days of the commencement of operation of the modified facility.

Which activities do not require a Wastewater Facility Construction Permit?

A permit is not required for modifications to repair, replace or add equipment at existing municipal or industrial water pollution control/wastewater treatment facilities, which are not associated with treating new types of influent pollutants or to increase the capacity of the facility.

In addition, under 327 Indiana Administrative Code (327 IAC 3-2-4(1-7)), a Wastewater Facility Construction Permit is not required for the following projects.

  1. Storm sewers transporting only surface run-off;
  2. Single-family dwelling connections to existing sanitary sewers;
  3. Sewers connecting multi-unit residential, commercial or industrial buildings that do not discharge toxic substances or pollutants incompatible with the system, or incapable of being treated to an acceptable quality;
  4. Approved commercial or residential septic absorption field systems;
  5. Confined feeding operations for animal production;
  6. On-site storage lagoons at land application sites;
  7. Groundwater remediation systems utilizing either carbon absorption or air stripping as the mode of treatment; or,
  8. Wells for the disposal of salt- or sulfur-bearing water and waste liquids, if such disposal is pursuant to a valid permit issued by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources or U.S. EPA.

Complying with IDEM’s Wastewater Facility Construction Permit Program Includes:  

  • Submitting a complete application with a set of construction plans (non-industrial projects must be stamped and signed on each page by a professional engineer or land surveyor for gravity sewers) 90 days (or as many days as is possible) prior to the start of construction (a construction permit needs to be issued before construction can begin);
  • Providing information on notifying affected persons or potentially impacted parties (adjacent landowners, or those with proprietary or expressed interest);
  • Listing the receiving stream, or if discharging to a publicly owned treatment works:
    • Providing, if constructing an industrial pretreatment facility, a capacity/acceptance letter from the receiving POTW certifying that the proposed project is not expected to cause overloading or bypassing in the collection system from locations other than NPDES authorized discharge points and that there is sufficient capacity in the treatment plant to adequately treat the flow; and,
  • Enclosing appropriate application fees.

Wastewater Facility Construction Permit fees

No fee is required for sewer projects or for state and federal projects. Meanwhile, governmental entities (county, municipal or township) and non-profit organizations are only required to pay $50 for new or expanded wastewater treatment facilities. All other applicants pay the following fees:

Wastewater Construction Permit Fees
Application Fees for New or Expanded Wastewater Treatment Facilities
Sewer Projects: No Fee
Governmental Entities and Non-profit Organizations: $50
All Other Applicants:
New Wastewater Treatment
(except industrial)
Up to 500,000 gpd (gallons per day) $1,250
Greater than 500,000 gpd $2,500
New Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant
(including pretreatment)
Up to 500,000 gpd for:
Biological or chemical treatment $1,250
Physical treatment $250
Greater than 500,000 gpd:
Biological or chemical treatment $2,500
Physical treatment $500
Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion Up to fifty percent (50%) design capacity:
Up to 500,000 gpd $625
Greater than 500,000 gpd $1,250
Greater than fifty percent (50%) design capacity:
Up to 500,000 gpd $1,250
Greater than 500,000 gpd $2,500

What to Expect

IDEM has 90 days to complete its review of a Wastewater Facility Construction Permit application. Sewer permits generally take 30 to 40 days, industrial pretreatment construction permits take 40 days, and treatment plant construction permits take 40-60 days. Meanwhile, applications for "as built" facilities initiate an enforcement action.

There is no public comment period required for a Wastewater Facility Construction Permit application. However, like all IDEM-issued environmental permits, it may be appealed by any affected or interested party. The appeal must be filed with the Office of Environmental Adjudication within 18 days (15 days, plus 3 days for mail delivery) of a permit decision.

Where IDEM’s Office of Water Quality issues a wastewater facility construction permit for the construction of sewer lines, a lift station, wastewater treatment facility, or other related equipment, construction must begin within one year of the date of issuance.

Change of ownership or property transfer may be processed at any time following the issuance of the permit.

Wastewater Facility Construction Permit applications are available at the IDEM OWQ permit application forms page.

Questions may be directed to the IDEM OWQ Wastewater Permits Branch at (800) 451-6027, ext. 2-5579.