Residential Onsite Sewage Systems

All Residential Onsite Sewage Systems installed in Huntington County require a process in which the homeowner, installer and the Department of Health must be active partners.  Systems installed in Huntington County must meet requirements identified in County Ordinance and Indiana Rule 410 IAC 6-8.2.  Information packets to assist homeowners are available through the local office. 
  • Residential Onsite Sewage System Permit Application
  • Commercial Onsite Sewage System Permit Application (ISDH Controlled)
Is your septic system failing? Septic system owners should be alert to the following warning signs that could indicate a possible failing septic system:
  • Slowly draining sinks and toilets.
  • Gurgling sounds in the plumbing.
  • Plumbing backups.
  • Sewage odors in the house or yard.
  • Ground wet or mushy underfoot.
  • Tests showing the presence of bacteria in the well water.
None of these warning signs can be considered a sure indication that a system has failed, but the appearance of one or more of them should prompt homeowners to have their systems inspected. Septic system failures also can occur without any of these warning signals. For this reason, yearly inspection of your septic system is recommended.

If it is time to make a repair or replace your existing septic system with a new system, the Installers List has a list of septic system installers that work in our county frequently. Keep in mind, a septic system permit will need to be issued from the Health Department before construction can begin on any septic system. An Application for Residential Onsite Sewage System is available in Microsoft Word Format that will help get you started. If you have questions regarding a failing septic system or a repair, contact our office.

What you need to know about buying a house with a septic system

Septic systems work great when they are properly sized, constructed, and maintained. The problem arises when any one of these items doesn't occur. If you are interested in purchasing a home with a septic system, make the effort to be a smart consumer so that you don't purchase a home with a failing septic system. Buyers can help protect themselves by having the septic system inspected by a qualified home inspector. Also keep these items in mind when looking at purchasing a home:

  • Obtain available records from the county health department of an inspection of the septic system
  • Talk with neighbors and/or a county health inspector to learn whether habitual problems with their septic systems have occurred in the area
  • Check for visible signs of discharge from the system (including running wastewater, blackened soil or unusually green grass) or any sign of a sewer smell in the area of the system
  • Ask the seller about the regular maintenance that was done on the septic system. When was the septic tank last cleaned and inspected? The septic tank should be cleaned every 3 to 5 years. If the system has not been maintained, it might not be a bad idea to hire a reputable pumper to clean and inspect the septic tank before closing on a house.
  • Educate yourself on how to use and maintain a septic system. This is the number one way to prevent a costly repair or replacement of the septic system. See the Septic System Owner's Guide for more detailed information.
  • View the Indiana State Department of Health Residential Sewage Disposal Rule 410-IAC-6-8.3  at
Septic System Maintenance

If you own a septic system, it is important that it be properly maintained. How often you need to pump the solids out of your septic tank depends on three major factors:

  • The number of people in your household.
  • The amount of wastewater generated (based on the number of people in the household and the amount of water used). 
  • The volume of solids in the wastewater (e.g., using a garbage disposal will increase the amount of solids).

Although your septic tank absorption field generally does not require maintenance, you should adhere to the following rules to protect and prolong its functional life:

  • Do not drive over the absorption field with cars, trucks, or heavy equipment.
  • Do not plant trees or shrubbery in the absorption field area, because the roots can get into the lines and plug them.
  • Do not cover the absorption field with hard surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt. Grass the best cover, because it will help prevent erosion and help remove excess water.
  • Do divert surface runoff water from roofs, patios, driveways, and other areas away from the absorption field.

Homeowners wanting to take good care of their septic systems should make note of the following items that should never be flushed down the drain or toilet. These items can overtax or destroy the biological digestion taking place within the system or clog pumps and pipes.

Take care not to flush the following:

  • Hair combings
  • Coffee grounds
  • Dental floss
  • Disposable diapers
  • Kitty litter
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Tampons
  • Cigarette butts
  • Condoms
  • Gauze bandages
  • Fat, grease, or oil
  • Paper towels

NEVER flush chemicals that could contaminate surface and groundwater, such as:

  • Paints
  • Varnishes
  • Thinners
  • Waste oils
  • Photographic solutions
  • Pesticides