Getting Ready for Your New Septic System

Getting ready for your new septic system

Please Note:  This page is currently being edited.  Site evaluations are now required to be completed by an approved soils evaluator. Contact our office for a list of approved soils professionals.

All homes in Story County that are not connected to an approved municipal, community or group sewer systems are required to have a private onsite wastewater treatment systems.

This page is intended to give you a brief overview of the installation process from applying for the permit and starting construction to finishing the project and learning how to take care of your septic system.

To start the installation process of a new wastewater treatment system, the owner or the contractor should submit the Application for Septic Permit to the Story County Environmental Health Department along with the current permit fee.

Once the Environmental Health Department receives the application and applicable fees, a permit number is assigned to the Application for Septic Permit. The Sanitarian then contacts the person designated on the application to arrange a septic site evaluation. During this evaluation, proper setbacks will be marked and your building site/property are examined to determine any limitations to the site. The Sanitarian will core the soil to determine the soil texture, structure and depth of any restrictive or limiting conditions. Soil coring and profile description is conducted in lieu of the perc test.  

It is important to note that the area where the septic system will be located should remain undisturbed until system installation. The designated wastewater treatment system area should be fenced off or otherwise protected to prevent soil from being added/removed or allowing vehicles to drive across or park in this area. The soil is easily damaged by such activity and failure to protect these areas can cost time and materials during installation or worse yet, give you a septic system that fails prematurely leaving you with costly repairs that could have been avoided.

Using the information from the site evaluation, the Sanitarian will issue the septic permit with the location, type & size of the system defined.  In addition, site-specific requirements such as setbacks, easements and variances may be included.  The Sanitarian will email/mail the permit to the applicant, and to the certified contractor shown on the application. After this information has been relayed to the contractor, the parts needed to complete the system can be ordered and an installation date can be set with the property owner.

Any alteration to the system plans will need to be approved by the Environmental Health Department to ensure that the system will be configured within the framework of the IAC - 567-69 regulations.

It is important to remember that the contractor MUST call the Environmental Health Department (515-382-7240) for a final inspection eight hours in advance.

After the Environmental Health Department has inspected the new installation and documented the locations for all of the major system components, the contractor will be allowed to cover the installation and finish grade the disturbed area.  A certificate of completion will be sent to the property owner.


  1. Do not allow construction equipment to access the septic system area (before or after installation).
  2. Do not allow irrigation lines to be installed in the septic system area.
  3. Do not discharge foundation water to the septic tank.
  4. Divert downspout drainage around the septic system.
  5. Do not plant trees and bushes in the septic system area.
  6. Establish a vegetative cover or mulch the septic system area as soon as possible to avoid erosion.
  7. Keep in mind septic pumper’s access to tanks.  Do not build over top of any part of the system.
  8. For new construction, do not allow any drywall or paint to be poured down the drains or septic system.  If this happens, the tank will need to be pumped immediately.