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Population: 6,080,485

Information on the state of Indiana is available for the following topics. To review this information, click on the links below.

Contacts| Regulations, Statutes & State Codes | Quick Facts | Septic Stats

Onsite Demonstration Programs | Onsite Management Communities



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Alan Dunn, or
Tim Decker
Indiana State Department of Health
Division of Sanitary Engineering
2 North Meridian, Section 5-E
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
(317) 233-7179 or (317) 233-7188 (respectively)
(317) 233-7047 (fax)




Regulations, Statutes & State Codes:
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Indiana State Regulations

Indiana Constitutions, Statutes and Codes

Residential Sewage Disposal Systems
Rule 410 IAC 6-8.1
December 1990

Onsite regulations for Indiana were last updated in December 1990. Regulations are currently not under revision, but the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) plans to start the revision process the first quarter of 2002. However, revisions will not be effective until early 2003. All portions of the Onsite Sewage System Code will be revised, with the greatest changes in protocols for experimental systems, addition of performance standards for secondary treatment, operation and maintenance, requirements for systems with secondary treatment, and new groundwater protection standards.

Technologies approved for use in Indiana for onsite wastewater treatment and disposal include:
· Conventional-Subsurface aggregate trench systems using gravity flow; alternating fields, flood dose, and pressure distribution; elevated sand mound systems; and aerobic treatment units discharging to an approved absorption field.
· Experimental-Subsurface trench systems using chambers and corrugated tubing with a fabric sock, Type 2 modified elevated sand mounds, at-grade systems, subsurface drip irrigation, and packed bed filters using sand and gravel media, textile media, foam cube media, and peat.

Other technologies may be considered under certain circumstances. First, the technology must utilize soil absorption, treatment, and dispersal of the final effluent rather than surface discharge. Second, the manufacturer must submit design standards, operation and maintenance requirements, and data on system performance for review and approval. Surface discharge is not an option for onsite wastewater treatment systems in Indiana.

State Code allows for drainfield area/size reduction:
· For subsurface systems using chambers with a set-aside area and a five-year warranty against failure, a 40% reduction can be allowed.
· For effluent quality less than or equal to 30 mg/l BOD5 and TSS, a 50% reduction in soils can be allowed; with a soil loading rate of 0.50 gpd/sq. ft. or greater; a one-third reduction in soils with a soil loading rate of less than 0.50 gpd/sq. ft. or greater can be allowed.

Those technologies considered for drainfield area/size reductions include subsurface trench systems using chambers instead of aggregate, and technologies using approved secondary treatment methods which achieve BOD5 and TSS of equal to or less than 30 mg/l.

No funding program or mechanism exists to assist homeowners replacing failing systems or installing new systems, and there are currently no plans to develop such a mechanism. Questions regarding funding programs may be directed to:

Bruno Pigott, Section Chief
State Revolving Fund (SRF)
Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management
Indiana Government Center North, Room 1255
100 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 232-8655
(317) 233-8406 (fax)

No onsite wastewater demonstration, research, or testing projects are ongoing in the State.

Indiana Code does not recognize or require management programs or contracts or management districts to monitor and maintain onsite systems or individual liquid waste systems. There are no plans to develop such programs. Local agencies' adoption of such programs is considered on a case-by-case basis. If instituted, the ISDH would serve in an advisory capacity.

The State does not track of the number of permits issued each year for new construction or for system repair or replacement; such records are maintained at the local level. Although the State does not track permit issuance, surveys of local health departments indicate that approximately 15,000 permits are issued annually for new systems, and approximately 5,000 permits annually for system repair/replacement.

Indiana State Code defines system failure as:
1. The system refuses to accept sewage at the rate of design application thereby interfering with the normal use of plumbing fixtures.
2. Effluent discharge exceeds the absorptive capacity of the soil, resulting in ponding, seepage, or other discharge of the effluent to the ground surface or to surface waters.
3. Effluent is discharged from the system causing contamination of a potable water supply, groundwater, or surface waters.

The most common reasons for system failure in the State include lack of recognition of soil/site characteristics, inappropriate system selection and design based on soil characteristics, installation mistakes, and lack of maintenance.

The State has a licensing/certification program for site evaluators. There is no State licensing/certification program for onsite wastewater system installers, designers, or inspectors, but approximately one-third of county health departments have certification of installers at the county level. In Indiana, certified soil scientists are licensed or certified to perform site evaluations/inspections.

For information on municipal wastewater regulations, contact Catherine Hess, Section Chief, NPDES Municipal Section, Indiana Department of Environmental management, at (317) 232-8704, or email chess@dem.state.in.us

Quick Facts:
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Total number of onsite systems: 800,000 estimated; 1990 U.S. census reports 700,000.

Number of new systems installed each year: 15,000, estimated.

Failure definition: From a practical standpoint, surfacing effluent or backed-up plumbing; the
code definition includes contamination of surface or groundwater, as well as the absence of a
system (many houses have straight pipes to ditches or field tiles).

Number or proportion of systems presently failing: NA

Number or proportion repaired annually: NA

Number or proportion replaced annually: NA

Number or proportion of repairs or replacements that require alternative technology (e.g.,
sand filters, pressure dosing):
Hard numbers are not available; mounds and pressure dosing are
routinely permitted; other technologies are permitted experimentally on a very limited basis.

Number or proportion of repairs or replacements that require advanced technology (e.g.,
disinfection, nutrient removal): Essentially, none; all residential systems must drain to an
absorption field, and there are no requirements for nutrient reduction.

Cost of a conventional septic system installation: $3500-$4000; range, $1200-$20,000.

Cost of a centralized sewer tie-in (including fees and cost of the sewer lateral): NA


Septic Stats:
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Onsite Demonstration Programs:
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Purdue University has short-term funding to assess experimental technologies and coordinate
the installation and monitoring of several of them; Indiana DOH would be responsible for
their long term monitoring. The Purdue group has also been building a database on onsite
permitting data in Indiana.


Dr. Don Jones
Dept of Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47907;
Telephone: 765-494-1178,
Fax: 765-496-1356



Onsite Management Communities:
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No information available on Onsite Management Communities in Indiana.