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Indiana State Department of Health

Environmental Public Health Home > Onsite Sewage Systems Program Onsite Sewage Systems Program

Program Overview

Welcome to the home page for the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) Onsite Sewage Disposal Program.  Onsite sewage disposal systems (i.e., septic systems) are those which do not result in an off-lot discharge of treated effluent, typically consisting of a septic tank to settle out and digest sewage solids, followed by a system of perforated piping to distribute the treated wastewater for absorption into the soil. More than 800,000 onsite sewage disposal systems are currently used in Indiana Local health departments issue more than 15,000 permits per year for new systems, and about 6,000 permits for repairs.

The Onsite Sewage Disposal Program promotes use of technologically correct onsite sewage disposal methods for one and two family dwellings beyond the reach of sanitary sewers. Program staff reviews soil surveys for on-site disposal systems, plans and specifications for water supply and sewage disposal systems to serve all types of public and commercial facilities. Additionally, the Division reviews total facility construction for various types of facilities, as mandated by law or regulation. These include mobile home parks, organizational campgrounds and recreational campgrounds.  Staff review and approve plans and specifications for onsite sewage disposal systems serving any type of commercial facility. Examples of commercial facilities are apartments, subdivisions, mobile home parks, churches, factories, gas stations, groceries, convenience stores, post offices, restaurants, taverns, golf course clubhouses, campgrounds, and veterinary, dental, and medical offices. Program staff provides training and technical assistance about proper onsite sewage disposal to local health departments, consumers and their contractors. The status of soil reports and plans is available at Plan Review Project Status.

Under several rules such as 410 IAC 6-7.1, 410 IAC 6-7.2 and 410 IAC 6-9 the program is required to approve the construction of Recreational Vehicle, Youth and Agricultural Labor camps. An application is required for all types of camps, however only Recreational Vehicle and Youth camps are required to have plans prepared by be a licensed engineer or architect. Agricultural labor camps plans need to be presented in a manner that will allow the reviewer to determine whether or not the proposed camp meets requirements. If there is a need for an onsite sewage system then the plans for the onsite system need to be prepared by a licensed engineer or architect, accompanied by a completed application and fee. This applies for all types of camps.

If a sanitary sewer is available within a reasonable distance to the proposed facility, installation of an onsite sewage disposal system is prohibited, and a connection must be made to the sewer.

Disposal of petrochemicals and other industrial wastes (in whole or in part) is regulated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). Sewage treatment systems that discharge to a stream or other surface water body are also the purview of IDEM.

A summary of the plan review process and requirements is available here.

Announcements / Current News

New Residential Onsite Sewage Systems Rule
Rule 410 IAC 6-8.3, which became effective November 19, 2012, was most recently updated effective May 9, 2014. To view the new rule click here.

Directories

Indiana Registered Soil Scientists
Pre-approved Exterior Water and Sewer Piping - or - PDF
Pre-approved Manufactured Septic Tanks -- or -- PDF
Pre-approved Septic Tank Outlet Filters
Pre-approved barrier materials used in onsite sewage systems

Forms

Application for Permit for Construction or Alteration of a Commercial Onsite Sewage Disposal Systems.
Soil Evaluation for Onsite Sewage Systems -- or --  Word 97 Document

Laws and Regulations

410 IAC 6-8.3 Residential Onsite Sewage Systems (Effective November 19, 2012)
410 IAC 6-10.1 Commercial Onsite Wastewater Disposal (Effective November 19, 2012)
410 IAC 6-12 Plan Review, Construction Permits, and Fees for Services 

Links

Ten States Standards: Recommended Standards for Wastewater Facilities - 2004 Edition

  EPA’s SepticSmart initiative is a nation-wide public education effort that aims to inform homeowners living on properties serviced by septic systems on the importance of properly maintaining their septic system and provide valuable resources to help homeowners make important decisions regarding their wastewater management needs.   

Program Information and Policies

Abandonment or Removal of an Onsite Sewage System -- or -- PDF

Bulletin S.E. 11- The Sanitary Vault Privy -- or - PDF
A planning guide including minimum requirements for the construction of vault privies.

Composting and Incinerating Toilets Guideline
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance for the use of composting and incinerating toilets in single family dwellings.

Diseases Caused by Sewage or Sewage Contaminated Water -- or -- PDF 

Elevated Sand Mound Design Manual
This manual supplements the provisions of ISDH Rule 410 IAC 6-8.3, Residential On-Site Sewage Systems, and ISDH Rule 410 IAC 10.1, Commercial On-Site Sewage Systems. It provides additional information on the procedures for the design of elevated sand mound systems for one and two family dwellings.

Indiana Application of 410 IAC 6-8.2 Water Softener Backwash and Onsite Sewage Systems
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to local health departments, onsite sewage system designers, and installers concerning the discharge of water softener backwash in a residence that is using an onsite sewage system.

Indiana Application of 410 IAC 6-8.2-60(c):Septic Tank Pipe Connectors
The Indiana State Department of Health 410 IAC 6-8.2, Residential Onsite Sewage Systems, effective on January 1, 2011, requires that precast concrete tanks include cast-in-place flexible, watertight pipe connectors that conform to ASTM C 1644-06, Standard Specification for Resilient Connectors Between Reinforced Concrete On-Site Wastewater Tanks and Pipes.

Indiana Interpretation of 410 IAC 6-8.2: Tanks Fitted with Aeration Units for Aerobic Digestion
Residential Sewage Disposal Systems, 410 IAC 6-8.2, allows for the use of tanks fitted with aeration units for aerobic digestion of sewage in a residential onsite system. The use of this technology is addressed in Sections 58(e) and 50(g). These units are commonly referred to as aerobic treatment units (ATU). Plan submittals that include the use of this technology must meet all of the requirements 410 IAC 6-8.2, including those listed in this document.

Indiana Registry of Soil Scientists -- State Chemist web page hosted by Purdue University
This web site from the Indiana State Chemist Office explains the credentials needed to become a Registered Soil Scientist, how to obtain the services of a Indiana Registered Soil Scientist (IRRS), and how a soil scientist can become registered, and includes a roster of registered soil scientists along with a map showing those counties they are willing to serve. It also has links to related programs and organizations.

Indiana Standards for Chamber Trench Soil Absorption Field Technology
These standards apply to chamber trench soil absorption field (SAF) technology for manufacturers that have demonstrated products that meet or exceed Indiana performance criteria. Manufacturers of chamber trench SAFs not approved under these standards may submit a proposal for review by the Indiana State Department of Health. There is a list of Indiana approved manufacturers and chamber trench SAF products at the end of this document.

Indiana Standards for Drainage Systems
Soils with shallow seasonal high water tables can often be drained to allow placement of the infiltrative surface of the soil absorption field in unsaturated soils, at an appropriate invert elevation above saturated soil conditions. Subsurface drainage systems, often in conjunction with surface diversions, are used to accomplish the necessary drainage to render the site suitable for an onsite sewage system.

Indiana Standards for Secondary Treatment Systems
These standards apply to secondary treatment systems (STS) [list of Indiana approved STS]. System integrators (SI) of STS not recognized under these standards may submit an STS for review by the department.

Indiana Standards for Subsurface Drip Systems
These standards apply to subsurface drip integrated systems (IS) [list of Indiana approved IS]. Systems integrators (SI) of subsurface drip systems not recognized under these standards may submit an IS for review by the department.

Installation of Trench-type Onsite Sewage Disposal Systems 
Onsite systems require care in site selection, design, and construction. This document provides construction guidelines that explain the basic procedure for installation of an onsite system. Proper installation should help ensure years of trouble-free operation.

Sanitary Sewer/Lift Station Specifications and Clearances

Septic Tank Outlet Filters
Making your Onsite Sewage System Last.

Sewage Holding Tanks - or - PDF [33 KB]
In essence, only temporary holding tanks can be approved, and only for a maximum of two years operation.

Soil Effervescence to Determine Site Suitability for an Onsite Sewage System
This document provides guidance on soil profile interpretations for onsite system selection. It is not intended to dictate how to describe the soil profile. It is to point out the effects of the characteristics of a BC or CB horizon on the performance of an onsite system.

Soil Survey and Plan Review Submittal Status
This page indicates the current status of soil survey submittals and plans for a commercial sewage disposal projects that have been submitted for review. Click on the county link to see the status of any project ongoing in that particular county.

Technology New to Indiana
This web page provides general information on the department's review and approval process, and includes links to web pages containing information on new technologies that have been approved.

Tire Chips and Onsite Sewage Systems
This document provides guidance to local health departments and others on the use of tire chips in onsite sewage systems.

Xerolet Toilet Guidelines
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance for the use of the Xerolet Eco-System in one and two family dwellings.