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IOWA
Population: 2,926,324

Information on the state of Iowa 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

 

 

Contacts:
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Brent Parker, Environmental Engineer, Senior Onsite Wastewater Program Coordinator
or
Stephen Hopkins, Onsite Wastewater Specialist
401 SW 7th St., Suite M
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
(515) 725-0037 or (515) 725-0346 (respectively)
(515) 725-0348 (fax)

brent.parker@dnr.state.ia.us

stephen.hopkins@dnr.state.ia.us

http://www.state.ia.us/government/dnr/index.html

 

Regulations, Statutes & State Codes:
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Iowa State Regulations

Iowa Constitutions, Statutes and Codes

On-Site Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Systems
Chapter 69
May 1998

Onsite regulations for Iowa were last updated May 1998. There are no plans to revise the existing Code prior to July 31, 2002.

Technologies approved for use in Iowa include trench (gravel, gravelless pipe, chamber, shallow, and at-grade), Wisconsin mound, drip dispersal, sand filter (buried and free access), mechanical/aerobic units, constructed wetland, and waste stabilization pond. Some peat filter systems and Aero-cell or Waterloo Biofilters are also used under local approval. Iowa Code allows for alternative or innovative systems to be used under county approval.

Surface discharge is an option for onsite septic disposal systems in Iowa, under NPDES General Permit #4, with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) the permitting agency. Sand filters, constructed wetlands, and peat filters are allowed to surface discharge and, conditionally, mechanical/aerobic units and lagoons.

In Iowa mechanical/aerobic, sand filter, and constructed wetlands are considered for drainfield area/size reductions. Some reductions for chamber systems and reduction of 50% are allowed for pre-treatment systems achieving secondary treatment levels.

Funding programs or mechanisms exist to assist homeowners replacing failing systems or installing new systems. For information, Hopkins (above) may be contacted.

At this time, no onsite wastewater demonstration, research, or testing projects are ongoing in the state.

Iowa does not recognize or require management programs/contracts or management districts to monitor and maintain onsite systems or individual liquid waste systems; these programs are under development. For further information, contact Parker (above).

The number of permits issued per year is tracked for new construction and system replacement, but not for system repair. These records are maintained at the local level, but Iowa has a pilot program to start a statewide tracking system.

In Iowa, a failed system is defined as one for which there is untreated wastewater outletting to the surface of the ground or surface waters. Poor site evaluation, design, and/or installation are cited as the most common reasons for system failure.

Iowa does not have a licensing/certification program for onsite wastewater professionals, such as installers, designers, inspectors, and site evaluators. Additionally, site evaluators/inspectors are not licensed or certified.

Pertinent to municipal wastewater regulations, Terry Kirschenman, Environmental Engineer, Senior, may be contacted at the DNR, EPD, Wastewater Section, by phone at (515) 281-8885, or email to terry.kirschenman@dnr.state.ia.us.

 

Quick Facts:
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Total number of onsite systems: Estimated as 100,000 permitted and 100,000 that predate
permitting; U.S. census reports 265,000.

Number of new systems installed each year: 5000 estimated.

Failure definition: For conventional systems, surfacing of effluent; for alternative systems,
failure is based on effluent testing for CBOD.

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):
The overall proportion of alternative systems is estimated at
about 10%; this proportion could be higher for replacements, and is definitely higher for new
systems.

Number or proportion of repairs or replacements that require advanced technology (e.g.,
disinfection, nutrient removal):
Very few.

Cost of a conventional septic system installation: $3500-$4000; range, $1000-$12,000.

Cost of a centralized sewer tie-in (including fees and cost of the sewer lateral): $8000 to
$15,000; this figure is based on the per unit cost of a new system, not on the tie-in cost to an
existing system.

 

Septic Stats:
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SQ MILES TOTAL PERSONS INSIDE URBAN AREA OUTSIDE URBAN AREA RURAL FARM RURAL NON-FARM TOTAL HOUSING UNITS OCCUPIED VACANT INSIDE URBAN OUTSIDE URBAN RURAL FARM RURAL NON-FARM PUBLIC SYSTEM DRILLED WELL DUG WELL OTHER PUBLIC SEWER SEPTIC TANK OTHER MEANS
IOWA 55,965 2,776,755 942,394 740,466 256,562 837,333 1,143,669 1,064,325 79,344 386,019 308,612 90,520 358,518 927,716 174,323 35,661 5,969 869,056 264,889 9,724
COUNTIES
ADAIR 569 8,409 0 0 2,344 6,065 3,714 3,419 295 0 0 857 2,857 2,395 645 637 37 2,078 1,578 58
ADAMS 423 4,866 0 0 1,424 3,442 2,234 2,005 229 0 0 574 1,660 1,222 565 412 35 1,121 1,082 31
ALLAMAKEE 639 13,855 0 4,019 2,635 7,201 6,603 5,268 1,335 0 1,758 907 3,938 3,398 2,912 212 81 3,739 2,753 111
APPANOOSE 496 13,743 0 5,936 1,454 6,353 6,402 5,609 793 0 2,821 561 3,020 5,828 195 287 92 3,947 2,197 258
AUDUBON 443 7,334 0 2,538 2,047 2,749 3,247 2,936 311 0 1,176 728 1,343 2,041 685 512 9 1,850 1,327 70
BENTON 716 22,429 0 7,937 3,430 11,062 9,125 8,518 607 0 3,378 1,228 4,519 6,048 2,745 311 21 5,983 3,066 76
BLACK HAWK 567 123,798 108,308 0 2,834 12,656 49,688 46,932 2,756 43,889 0 1,004 4,795 44,331 4,733 490 134 44,369 5,154 165
BOONE 571 25,186 0 12,392 2,589 10,205 10,371 9,827 544 0 5,332 987 4,052 8,372 1,609 330 60 7,323 2,931 117
BREMER 438 22,813 0 8,539 2,788 11,486 8,847 8,394 453 0 3,160 937 4,750 5,627 3,001 195 24 5,827 2,982 38
BUCHANAN 571 20,844 0 5,972 3,643 11,229 8,272 7,506 766 0 2,480 1,100 4,692 4,685 3,266 263 58 5,115 2,931 226
BUENA VISTA 575 19,965 0 8,769 2,624 8,572 8,140 7,515 625 0 3,557 951 3,632 6,315 1,193 607 25 6,055 2,053 32
BUTLER 580 15,731 0 0 3,077 12,654 6,483 6,036 447 0 0 1,108 5,375 4,047 2,217 185 34 3,900 2,486 97
CALHOUN 570 11,508 0 0 2,439 9,069 5,362 4,684 678 0 0 885 4,477 4,034 963 357 8 3,669 1,667 26
CARROLL 569 21,423 0 9,579 3,486 8,358 8,356 7,964 392 0 3,779 987 3,590 7,011 901 435 9 6,357 1,973 26
CASS 564 15,128 0 7,432 2,628 5,068 6,788 6,177 611 0 3,356 929 2,503 5,173 1,134 444 37 4,831 1,882 75
CEDAR 579 17,381 0 2,998 3,239 11,144 7,146 6,684 462 0 1,313 1,172 4,661 4,371 2,618 112 45 4,319 2,739 88
CERRO GORDO 568 46,733 0 37,181 2,114 7,438 20,954 19,061 1,893 0 16,609 797 3,548 17,709 3,032 193 20 18,060 2,810 84
CHEROKEE 577 14,098 0 6,026 2,330 5,742 5,973 5,514 459 0 2,663 831 2,479 5,078 472 405 18 4,150 1,756 67
CHICKSAW 505 13,295 0 3,660 2,647 6,988 5,486 5,040 446 0 1,550 933 3,003 3,181 2,119 156 30 3,180 2,202 104
CLARKE 431 8,287 0 4,164 1,311 2,812 3,599 3,343 256 0 1,945 453 1,201 2,491 509 563 36 2,130 1,383 86
CLAY 569 17,585 0 11,066 2,167 4,352 7,659 7,074 585 0 4,824 767 2,068 6,886 487 242 44 5,733 1,896 30
CLAYTON 779 19,054 0 0 4,756 14,298 8,344 7,218 1,126 0 0 1,519 6,825 4,487 3,382 344 131 4,367 3,813 164
CLINTON 695 51,040 0 37,576 3,866 9,598 21,296 19,757 1,539 0 15,999 1,337 3,960 17,028 3,950 230 88 17,151 4,037 108
CRAWFORD 714 16,775 0 6,604 3,322 6,849 6,920 6,397 523 0 2,725 1,131 3,064 5,085 832 978 25 4,626 2,169 125
DALLAS 586 29,755 0 12,468 2,779 14,508 11,812 11,204 608 0 5,153 991 5,668 9,091 1,963 685 73 7,818 3,908 86
DAVIS 503 8,312 0 2,580 2,251 3,481 3,365 3,093 272 0 1,174 733 1,458 2,794 146 289 136 1,239 1,981 145
DECATUR 532 8,338 0 0 1,272 7,066 3,692 3,207 485 0 0 486 3,206 2,681 476 403 132 2,348 1,176 168
DELAWARE 578 18,035 0 5,190 3,900 8,945 7,408 6,389 1,019 0 2,127 1,278 4,003 3,587 3,602 154 65 3,748 3,600 60
DES MOINES 416 42,614 0 30,291 1,571 10,752 18,248 16,874 1,374 0 13,220 637 4,391 14,680 2,953 266 349 14,276 3,675 297
DICKINSON 381 14,909 0 3,871 1,325 9,713 9,723 6,160 3,563 0 1,730 492 7,501 7,823 1,265 490 145 8,188 1,487 48
DUBUQUE 608 86,403 61,031 3,666 5,161 16,545 32,053 30,799 1,254 23,535 1,438 1,384 5,696 25,970 5,669 311 103 25,911 6,013 129
EMMENT 396 11,569 0 6,720 1,378 3,471 4,914 4,461 453 0 2,907 485 1,522 3,867 939 94 14 3,662 1,226 26
FAYETTE 731 21,843 0 6,493 4,701 10,649 9,262 8,490 772 0 2,918 1,665 4,679 6,184 2,862 130 86 5,920 3,271 71
FLOYD 501 17,058 0 7,878 2,405 6,775 7,233 6,721 512 0 3,505 910 2,818 5,039 2,109 82 3 5,102 2,090 41
FRANKLIN 582 11,364 0 4,133 2,822 4,409 5,018 4,579 439 0 1,916 1,014 2,088 3,021 1,848 125 24 2,939 2,041 38
FREMONT 511 8,226 0 0 1,660 6,566 3,607 3,217 390 0 0 612 2,995 2,322 792 433 60 1,770 1,760 77
GREENE 568 10,045 0 4,292 2,041 3,712 4,707 4,195 512 0 2,029 831 1,847 3,307 1,143 252 5 3,091 1,552 64
GRUNDY 502 12,029 0 0 2,229 9,800 5,158 4,776 382 0 0 799 4,359 3,299 1,705 130 24 3,202 1,913 43
GUTHRIE 591 10,935 0 0 2,053 8,882 5,179 4,407 772 0 0 844 4,335 3,459 1,168 469 83 2,725 2,360 94
HAMILTON 577 16,071 0 7,894 2,311 5,866 6,879 6,358 521 0 3,435 888 2,556 5,110 1,662 98 9 4,965 1,872 42
HANCOCK 571 12,638 0 3,271 2,709 6,658 5,236 4,867 369 0 1,349 881 3,006 3,476 1,616 138 6 3,216 1,969 51
HARDIN 569 19,094 0 8,462 2,577 8,055 8,419 7,611 808 0 3,693 933 3,793 6,133 2,196 87 3 5,980 2,347 92
HARRISON 697 14,730 0 2,888 2,268 9,574 6,175 5,656 519 0 1,232 852 4,091 3,964 1,878 322 11 3,418 2,700 57
HENRY 434 19,226 0 8,027 2,152 9,047 7,507 7,089 418 0 3,031 819 3,657 5,379 1,595 446 87 4,942 2,467 98
HOWARD 473 9,809 0 3,669 2,327 3,813 4,155 3,856 299 0 1,651 818 1,686 2,532 1,542 71 10 2,524 1,570 61
HUMBOLDT 434 10,756 0 4,438 1,823 4,495 4,670 4,339 331 0 1,993 637 2,040 3,348 1,149 162 11 3,227 1,414 29
IDA 432 8,365 0 0 2,256 6,109 3,473 3,222 251 0 0 718 2,755 2,399 633 441 0 2,370 1,059 44
IOWA 586 14,630 0 0 2,774 11,856 6,003 5,713 290 0 0 900 5,103 3,947 1,741 245 70 3,511 2,385 107
JACKSON 636 19,950 0 6,111 3,409 10,430 8,426 7,527 899 0 2,724 1,169 4,533 5,127 3,102 83 114 5,214 2,953 259
JASPER 730 34,795 0 14,781 3,949 16,065 14,338 13,632 706 0 6,473 1,452 6,413 12,717 1,121 416 84 10,149 4,073 116
JEFFERSON 435 16,310 0 9,768 1,895 4,647 6,739 6,309 430 0 4,087 660 1,992 5,371 838 473 57 4,669 1,978 92
JOHNSON 614 96,119 71,407 2,898 4,049 17,765 37,210 36,067 1,143 27,881 1,179 1,378 6,772 30,691 6,129 286 104 30,903 6,149 158
JONES 575 19,444 0 8,622 3,659 7,163 7,366 6,917 449 0 3,139 1,183 3,044 4,419 2,779 126 42 4,278 2,997 91
KEOKUK 579 11,624 0 0 2,489 9,135 5,024 4,573 451 0 0 976 4,048 3,044 1,250 709 21 2,509 2,422 93
KOSSUTH 973 18,591 0 6,015 4,241 8,335 7,765 7,194 571 0 2,572 1,477 3,716 5,077 2,501 182 5 4,460 3,228 77
LEE 517 38,687 0 24,069 2,513 12,105 16,443 14,936 1,507 0 10,791 816 4,836 12,882 2,668 590 303 11,755 4,440 248
LINN 717 168,767 136,019 3,657 3,511 25,580 68,357 65,501 2,856 56,359 1,033 1,263 9,702 59,871 7,870 424 192 59,967 8,072 318
LOUISA 402 11,592 0 0 1,815 9,777 5,044 4,296 748 0 0 668 4,376 2,465 1,980 467 132 2,306 2,596 142
LUCAS 431 9,070 0 4,616 1,368 3,086 4,179 3,766 413 0 2,199 551 1,429 3,699 181 241 58 2,470 1,469 240
LYON 587 11,952 0 2,601 3,291 6,060 4,561 4,289 272 0 1,157 1,022 2,382 3,684 453 397 27 2,816 1,697 48
MADISON 561 12,483 0 4,196 2,055 6,232 4,995 4,715 280 0 1,806 823 2,366 2,788 1,283 816 108 2,747 2,160 88
MAHASKA 571 21,522 0 10,632 3,351 7,539 8,977 8,306 671 0 4,638 1,160 3,179 7,790 752 400 35 6,007 2,894 76
MARION 554 30,001 0 17,502 2,533 9,966 11,420 10,815 605 0 6,599 888 3,933 10,274 597 493 56 7,654 3,659 107
MARSHALL 572 38,276 0 25,178 2,459 10,639 15,862 14,890 972 0 10,630 1,015 4,217 14,271 1,311 238 42 12,302 3,544 16
MILLS 436 13,202 0 4,571 1,355 7,276 5,004 4,665 339 0 1,792 541 2,671 3,238 1,261 463 42 2,824 2,097 83
MITCHELL 469 10,928 0 3,439 2,598 4,891 4,514 4,253 261 0 1,594 856 2,064 2,545 1,782 187 0 2,483 1,925 106
MONONA 693 10,034 0 2,936 1,883 5,215 4,555 4,098 457 0 1,354 734 2,467 2,928 1,394 219 14 2,822 1,659 74
MONROE 433 8,114 0 3,870 1,429 2,815 3,740 3,196 544 0 1,772 485 1,483 3,454 49 193 44 2,048 1,615 77
MONTGOMERY 424 12,076 0 6,264 1,568 4,244 5,363 4,955 408 0 2,911 592 1,860 4,121 746 476 20 3,975 1,351 37
MUSCATINE 439 39,907 0 28,434 2,369 9,104 16,044 14,806 1,238 0 11,497 906 3,641 11,952 3,657 311 124 11,860 4,046 138
O'BRIEN 573 15,444 0 4,866 3,000 7,578 6,476 5,980 496 0 1,980 960 3,536 5,644 330 460 42 4,740 1,710 26
OSCEOLA 399 7,267 0 2,815 1,847 2,605 2,998 2,817 181 0 1,184 658 1,156 2,134 247 556 61 1,784 1,188 26
PAGE 535 16,870 0 10,677 2,095 4,098 7,339 6,687 652 0 4,742 794 1,803 6,437 597 252 53 5,396 1,849 94
PALO ALTO 564 10,669 0 3,940 2,234 4,495 4,826 4,183 643 0 1,740 780 2,306 3,351 1,226 232 17 3,344 1,434 48
PLYMOUTH 863 23,388 0 8,454 4,714 10,220 8,806 8,417 389 0 3,280 1,516 4,010 6,227 1,769 737 73 5,715 2,970 121
POCAHONTAS 578 9,525 0 0 2,418 7,107 4,193 3,820 373 0 0 832 3,361 2,866 1,040 256 31 2,532 1,616 45
POLK 569 327,140 286,353 21,212 2,088 17,487 135,979 129,237 6,742 121,098 7,991 800 6,090 132,792 2,668 454 65 124,778 10,991 210
POTTAWATTAMIE 954 82,628 59,873 0 3,510 19,245 32,831 31,262 1,569 24,223 0 1,334 7,274 27,142 4,795 847 47 26,198 6,533 100
POWESHIEK 585 19,033 0 8,902 2,557 7,574 8,199 7,158 1,041 0 3,407 990 3,802 7,238 703 239 19 4,997 3,138 64
RINGGOLD 538 5,420 0 0 1,540 3,880 2,713 2,218 495 0 0 573 2,140 1,785 443 404 81 1,358 1,249 106
SAC 576 12,324 0 0 2,683 9,641 5,648 4,914 734 0 0 959 4,689 3,970 968 689 21 3,748 1,828 72
SCOTT 458 150,979 129,033 3,279 1,943 16,724 61,379 57,438 3,941 53,576 1,138 701 5,964 56,460 4,449 343 127 55,421 5,863 95
SHELBY 591 13,230 0 5,148 3,156 4,926 5,430 5,024 406 0 2,253 1,079 2,098 3,899 886 639 6 3,298 2,061 71
SIOUX 768 29,903 0 12,583 5,522 11,798 10,333 9,925 408 0 4,247 1,649 4,437 9,177 642 468 46 7,312 2,927 94
STORY 573 74,252 0 56,161 2,333 15,758 26,847 25,941 906 0 19,849 892 6,106 24,079 2,553 190 25 23,449 3,318 80
TAMA 721 17,419 0 2,697 3,392 11,330 7,417 6,768 649 0 1,159 1,211 5,047 5,088 1,906 400 23 4,507 2,775 135
TAYLOR 534 7,114 0 0 1,807 5,307 3,307 2,859 448 0 0 645 2,662 2,170 643 472 22 1,615 1,634 58
UNION 424 12,750 0 7,911 1,524 3,315 5,622 5,173 449 0 3,618 553 1,451 4,689 469 377 87 4,098 1,487 37
VAN BUREN 485 7,676 0 0 1,694 5,982 3,529 3,056 473 0 0 607 2,922 2,877 260 268 124 1,814 1,497 218
WAPELLO 432 35,687 0 24,488 1,860 9,339 15,640 14,555 1,085 0 10,912 728 4,000 13,996 836 392 416 11,947 3,531 162
WARREN 572 36,033 7,093 14,576 2,823 11,541 13,157 12,659 498 2,359 5,533 1,054 4,211 10,016 1,858 1,209 74 9,105 3,900 152
WASHINGTON 569 19,612 0 7,074 2,897 9,641 7,866 7,454 412 0 3,014 958 3,894 5,370 2,093 385 18 5,032 2,750 84
WAYNE 526 7,067 0 0 1,560 5,507 3,334 2,953 381 0 0 599 2,735 2,857 212 197 68 1,870 1,330 134
WEBSTER 715 40,342 0 25,894 2,307 12,141 17,063 15,963 1,100 0 11,212 987 4,864 14,182 2,161 684 36 13,613 3,361 89
WINNEBAGO 400 12,122 0 4,073 1,702 6,347 5,030 4,704 326 0 1,568 649 2,813 3,507 1,408 107 8 3,416 1,596 18
WINNESHIEK 690 20,847 0 8,063 4,674 8,110 7,726 7,256 470 0 2,836 1,482 3,408 4,403 3,121 136 66 4,114 3,492 120
WOODBURY 873 98,276 83,277 0 2,930 12,069 39,071 36,899 2,172 33,099 0 1,106 4,866 35,722 2,654 651 44 34,961 3,902 208
WORTH 400 7,991 0 0 1,897 6,094 3,443 3,239 204 0 0 712 2,731 1,941 1,410 90 2 1,751 1,657 35
WRIGHT 581 14,269 0 8,874 2,127 3,268 6,636 5,899 737 0 4,076 807 1,753 5,034 1,455 114 33 4,953 1,575 108

 

Onsite Demonstration Programs:
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In past years, there have been demonstration programs for sand filters, mounds, and constructed wetlands.

Onsite Management Communities:
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Lake Panorama - Guthrie County