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Indiana Department of Environmental Management


Table of Contents: Land Quality


IDEM oversees the requirements for the removal, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of septage from sewage disposal systems

All businesses that remove and manage septage from domestic septic tanks, holding tanks, privies, seepage pits, cesspools, compost toilets, portable sanitary units and "restaurant" grease (animal/vegetable only) from traps or interceptors must have a permit. The regulation and rule governing septage management can be found in the Indiana Administrative Code under IC 13-18-12 and the Indiana Administrative Code under 327 IAC 7.1. There are no fees for the business permit and storage/treatment permit; however, there is a fee for each land application site.

Septage may be transported to, and discharged directly into a NPDES permitted publicly owned treatment works (POTW), a storage/treatment facility specifically designed for the storage/treatment of domestic septage and "restaurant" grease (animal/vegetable only), or it may be land applied. All sites used for the land application of septage must be pre-approved and permitted by IDEM prior to use.

Application Information

Managing Septage
  • Those businesses that deal with septage or wish to deal with septage must submit an application to IDEM;
  • Apply for a business permit prior to engaging in septage management;
  • Not advertise or engage in septage management activities without a permit, and use only the business name on the permit in advertising;
  • Renew all permits and vehicle identification numbers prior to the expiration date; and,
  • Have each land application site, storage/treatment facility, and vehicle used for pumping and transporting septage inspected.
Land Applying Septage
  • Those businesses that land apply septage or wish to land apply septage must submit an application to IDEM:
    1. a statement signed by the property owner granting permission to land apply septage on their property, acknowledging crop and use limitations, and stating that land application is not prohibited by any covenant of record;
    2. a county map showing the property location and proposed septage application site;
    3. a soil survey map classifying the soils and their permeability within the proposed site and specifying the site's suitability for septage disposal;
    4. an accurate drawing that indicates all required features of interest; and
    5. an application fee of $30.00 per site per year.
  • Restrict access to the site for specific time periods after application;
  • Utilize "Lime Stabilization" of the septage prior to application to significantly reduce pathogens;
  • Submit the required quarterly reports;
  • Not land apply septage to saturated, snow covered, or frozen soil;
  • Employ the proper application rates based on nitrogen requirement of next year's crop;
  • Use techniques which prevent erosion;
  • Any "restaurant" grease (animal/vegetable only) that is land applied must be injected or otherwise incorporated into the soil within six (6) hours after application; and,
  • Renew the land application site permit prior to its expiration.
Storing and Treating Septage

All septage storage/treatment facilities must have a permit. The applicant must:

  • Submit an application accompanied by plans and specifications certified by a registered engineer licensed to practice in Indiana;
  • Follow all setbacks required for facility location;
  • Submit a statement signed by the property owner granting permission and stating that the facility is not prohibited by any covenant of record;
  • Submit the appropriate maps and drawing required by the application;
  • As detailed in 327 IAC 7.1-4-11, a storage/treatment facility that is no longer being used must be closed in a manner protective of human health and the environment, requiring that the operator:
    1. notify IDEM 30 days in advance that the facility is to be closed;
    2. complete the closure within 120 days of notification;
    3. properly dispose of the contents of the facility;
    4. properly dismantle and remove the facility; and,
    5. submit a certified statement that the requirements have been met.

What to Expect

IDEM must issue all septage management permits and storage/treatment permits within 90 days of receipt of a complete application. All land application site permits must be issued within 180 days of receipt of a complete application.

All septage management related permits are non transferable.

For Additional Information:

Visit IDEM’s Land Permits Web page for application documents. Pre-application and/or post-application meetings with IDEM's OLQ Solid Waste Permits staff are encouraged to clarify any questions you may have regarding land application and septage regulations. Please direct questions or requests for more information to IDEM’s OLQ Land Application Program at (317) 233-0472 or toll free at (800) 451-6027, ext. 3-0472.