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Onsite Sewage Systems Program

Program Overview

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 the 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.

To check the status of soil reports and plan reviews, see the following Plan Review Project Status Link.

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 a licensed engineer or architect. Agricultural labor camp 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 to all types of camps.

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

The 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 Commercial Plan Review Process and requirements is available here.

A summary of the Change of Use Request Process and requirements is available here.

Announcements / Current News


How COVID-19 could affect those working in the water and wastewater industry

Can I get COVID-19 from Wastewater or Sewage?


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


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

Laws and Regulations

410 IAC 6-8.3 Residential Onsite Sewage Systems
410 IAC 6-10.1 Commercial Onsite Wastewater Disposal
410 IAC 6-12 Plan Review, Construction Permits, and Fees for Services

Historic Bulletins and Rules


Septic Smart
EPA’s SepticSmart initiative is a nationwide 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.

Septic System Maintenance Quick Tip Videos and Information

Program Information and Policies

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

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

Bulletin S.E. 11- The Sanitary Vault Privy - New 2021 Version

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.

Constructed Wetlands Standards

These standards apply to the design and construction of subsurface constructed wetland treatment technology for on-site sewage systems with a design daily flow of 750 gallons per day or less.

Designer Workshop Presentations

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

Elevated Sand Mound Design Manual
This manual supplements the provisions of IDOH Rule 410 IAC 6-8.3, Residential On-Site Sewage Systems, and IDOH 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 Interpretation of 410 IAC 6-8.3: Tanks Fitted with Aeration Units for Aerobic Digestion
410 IAC 6-8.3, Residential Onsite Sewage Disposal Systems, allows for the use of tanks fitted with aeration units for aerobic digestion of sewage in residential on-site systems; these units are commonly referred to as aerobic treatment units (ATU). The use of this technology is addressed in Section 60(h). Section 52(h) of that rule and allows the Indiana Department of Health (department) to permit the use of new or more efficient sewage treatment processes; the use of aerobic treatment units under that section is addressed in the Indiana Standards for Aerobic Treatment Units (ATU).

Indiana Registry of Soil Scientists -- State Chemist web page hosted by Purdue University
This website from the Indiana State Chemist Office explains the credentials needed to become a Registered Soil Scientist, how to obtain the services of an 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 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 Aerobic Treatment Units
These standards apply to aerobic treatment units (ATU) under the provisions of 410 IAC 6-8.3-52(h) [list of Indiana approved ATU].

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.

Indiana Standards for Type II Elevated Sand Mound Systems
The Indiana Department of Health (department) Rules 410 IAC 6-8.3 and 6-10.1 outline the site suitability and design requirements for elevated sand mound systems for the state of Indiana. All elevated sand mound systems must meet the site suitability, design and construction requirements of the rule.

IOWPA Residential OSS Installer Training Presentations

Meat processing facilities
IDOH only handles wastewater generated from ordinary human living processes (restroom use, handwashing, and showering), any wastewater from the processing and clean up of animal processing cannot go to any septic system and must be captured in a holding tank and handled by a waste hauler licensed in the State of Indiana or handled in another State approved method.

Protocol for Delegation to Local Health Departments of the Review and Permit Issuance for Individual Residential On-Site Sewage Systems using TNI Technology
The Indiana Department of Health may approve the use of on-site sewage system technologies or components that are not covered in the state onsite sewage system rules. These systems are categorized as “Technologies New to Indiana.” Local health departments may not issue approvals for TNI systems or TNI components to be used in on-site sewage systems without the written approval of the Indiana Department of Health. The department has provided general delegation for plan review and permit issuance for some [Chamber Trench Systems; Gravelless Trench Systems; Sand Lined Systems] but not all TNI systems. However, there are other TNI systems and components for which the department has not provided general approval. Those systems will be delegated under the provisions of this standard. This standard is for delegation for TNI for residential applications only and does not include commercial systems.

Sanitary Sewer/Lift Station Specifications and Clearances

Septic Tank Outlet Filters
Making your Onsite Sewage System Last.

Septic Tank and Dosing Tank Pipe Connectors:  Indiana Application of 410 IAC 6-8.3-61(q) and 62(g); and 410 IAC 6-10.1-69(q) and 70(g)
Indiana Department of Health rules 410 IAC 6-8.3, Residential On-site Sewage Systems, and 410 IAC 6-10.1, Commercial On-site Sewage Systems, both require that precast concrete septic and dosing tanks include cast-in-place flexible, watertight pipe connectors.

Sewage Holding Tanks

Soil Survey and Plan Review Submittal Status
This page indicates the current status of soil survey submittals and plans for 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.

Technical Review Panel -  Electronic Communications Meeting Policy

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.

Water Softener Backwash and On-site Sewage Systems; Indiana Application of 410 IAC 6-8.3-60(i) and 410 IAC 6-10.1-68(i).
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.