OnSite Wastewater Treatment and Disposal
Permit Requirements and Rrocess
Wastewater includes all water-carried waste derived from ordinary living processes. This includes all bathroom and kitchen drains and water from laundry facilities. If a public sewer connection is not available, the property owner must install an on-site wastewater treatment and disposal unit (septic system) to properly treat the wastewater generated before disposal. A permit is required prior to installation. There are five basic steps to follow in this process.
The Clarke/Decatur/Ringgold County Sanitarians are available, without charge, to assist you with selecting the best possible site for the placement of your septic system. Your septic contractor may also assist you.
Soil Analysis or Percolation (Perc) Test
The subsurface absorption system (lateral field) is the preferred method of wastewater treatment for private sewers because it prevents contact with people and the environment even after processing. A percolation test or soil analysis is needed to determine the soil’s ability to absorb the water from a private sewer. Clarke/Decatur/Ringgold County’s policy is to accept only perc tests or soil analysis done by a soil scientist or registered professional engineer. If the soil will not absorb water fast enough or absorbs the water too quickly or the soils are deemed to be unsuitable for a subsurface absorption system, an alternate system will need to be installed. Perc tests and soil analyses are valid for one year from the date of the test.
Prior to beginning the installation of your private sewage disposal system, you must secure a permit from our office. This can be done once we have received and validated a soil report as stated above. Also, prior to obtaining the permit, you must have an E911 address in place for the property, which can be applied for in the Engineers Office.
The system is to be exposed so that the Sanitarian can do a thorough inspection. Our office should be advised at least 24 hours prior to installation so that we can schedule the inspection for final approval.
For facilities generating more than 1500 gallons per day of wastewater, the Iowa DNR does the permitting process.
Permit Records and System Diagrams
Clarke County began requiring septic permits in 1996. Ringgold County began requiring septic permits in 2000 (from this office). Decatur County began requiring septic permits in 2006 (from this office). If a system was installed under permit, our office should have a record of the permit and a diagram of the system itself. To request a copy of a permit, contact our office.
A Septic application may be obtained under our forms link on the Environmental Health Homepage. Before a septic permit can be issued you need to contact our office.