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Should Our County Start an On-site Management Program

An on-site management program is a system of servicing septic systems or other systems at the individual house or unit as opposed to a connected sewer system. This program can ensure that a smaller community's wastewater is being effectively treated. The district services septic systems of all residents. The district replaces, repairs, or services a tank or leach field on a regular basis. A properly serviced on-site system will last for many more years than a system that is not serviced properly. The management program will ensure that all systems are managed properly, ensuring health benefits such as ground and drinking water free from sewage pollution for the entire community. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has additional information available for on-site management programs.

Establishing an On-Site Management Program

Indiana statues include two provisions for setting up these types of districts. First, a regional sewer district can be formed under Indiana Code 13-26. The district can collect fees to service the on-site systems. This is the most common approach. In order to set-up a program, a steering committee should meet and discuss all available treatment system options. The second provision is contained in IC-13-18-12-9. This provision allows for the on-site discharge of treated wastewater. This alternative provision, as of July 2006, applies to counties with populations between 300,000 and 400,000 citizens.

Where Can I Go to Obtain Additional Information?

The Environmental Protection Agency has published a free guide with information concerning planning, ordinances, cases of management programs, financing, and many other important pieces of information. The guide is entitled Handbook for Management of Onsite and Clustered (Decentralized) Wastewater Treatments Systems [Draft Edition]. EPA Document number: 832-D-03-001. Copies are available at no cost from:

U.S. EPA Publications Clearinghouse
P.O. Box 42419
Cincinnati, OH 45242
Phone: (800) 490-9198
Fax: (513) 489-8695

Your local health department may be able to help you in planning. In addition the Indiana State Department of Health, Residential Sewage Disposal Section offers training to local health departments. Their information is in the association list [XLS].

To obtain additional information about on-site systems, visit:

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