Septic

Septic systems are required for any building/dwelling that generates black or gray water in Warren County.

A septic system consists of a septic tank and a secondary form of treatment. The secondary treatment is determined based on the type and drainage rate of the soil at the site of installation. The most common secondary treatment types in Warren County are soil absorption systems (laterals) and sand filter systems.

This photo shows the general layout for a soil absorption system.

Septic System Permitting

Warren County Environmental Health is the main contact regarding septic permitting and inspection. We require permits any time a new system is being installed, or an older system is being repaired.

If you do not have an address:

  • Contact the Warren County Zoning office to start an address routing slip. They will ask you to come into the office to start the address routing slip as you will be asked to visit other county offices after you are done with Zoning. Zoning also determines if the lot is buildable and discusses FEMA Floodplain issues if there are any.
  • Visit the Warren County Engineer’s office to apply for an entrance for the property.
  • Visit the Warren County Assessor’s office to discuss what type of structure you will be building.
  • Visit Environmental Health to discuss information regarding your septic.
  • Warren County E911 will address your property once the Engineer’s office has approved your driveway. This may take several weeks as the Engineer’s office needs to make a site visit to approve the driveway, then the application is sent to E911 for an address.

If you are in the process of getting an address for your property or you already have an address, you can start the septic system permitting process by ordering a soil analysis or perc test.

  • Environmental Health does not conduct the soil analysis or perc test. A list of individuals who conduct soil analysis or perc tests can be found here.
  • Warren County requires the individual that conducts a soil analysis or perc test be a Professional Engineer or a Soil Scientist.
  • The soil analysis or perc test will determine what kind of septic system is required.
  • Systems are sized by number of bedrooms. Please inform your soil engineer/soil scientist about the plans for your house or any outbuildings needing septic.
  • Our office needs to receive a copy of the soil analysis or perc test. Once we receive the report, an Environmental Health staff member will conduct a site visit to ensure the system will meet the proper setbacks.
  • Soil analysis or perc tests are valid for 1 year from the date the test was conducted. If your soil analysis or perc test is going to expire, you can apply to extend the expiration date. You need to apply for an extension BEFORE your soil report or perc test expires.

Once you have a soil analysis or perc test done, our office has completed a site visit, and you have an address you can pay for your permit.

  • Warren County requires the septic contractor to hold the Certified Installer of Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (CIOWTS) credential or to be a Warren County Board of Health approved septic contractor. A list of certfied contractors can be found here.
  • You can pay in the office by cash, check or credit/debit card or pay over the phone using your credit/debit card. A service fee will be charged if you pay using a credit/debit card.
  • The permit fee for a certified septic contractor is $200.00.
  • A property owner can install their own septic system. The permit fee for a property owner to install their own system is $400.00.
  • If the property owner installs their own system, they are not allowed to hire/pay anyone to help them with the work. The property owner must be the one to run the equipment, lay and connect material, backfill etc.
  • If your septic system requires a maintenance agreement, we will not issue the permit until we have a valid maintenance agreement on file. A list of maintenance providers can be found here.
  • Warren County has adopted IAC 567- Chapter 69 – Private Sewage Disposal Systems in its entirety. Warren County also follows Warren County Ordinance – Chapter 31- Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Systems. These will be the regulations we use to inspect the septic system at your property.
  • If you have questions regarding our process for inspecting a septic system once it is permitted, please talk with an Environmental Health staff as each type of system has certain specifications that we follow.

If you need to make a repair or alter your existing septic system, you will need to work with our office to determine what components of the system need to be repaired or altered.

  • A repair permit is $100.00
  • A credentialed/certified septic contractor can complete the work, or the homeowner can complete the work.
  • Repair or alteration permits are issued for the follow reasons:
    • Replacing the distribution box
    • Replacing only the primary for of treatment (septic tank)
    • Replacing only the secondary form of treatment (lateral field/sand filter/peat or coco, etc.)
    • Hooking the existing septic system into a new building
    • Replacing a significant amount of piping
  • If you are only replacing one component such as the primary or secondary form of treatment, you need to talk with an Environmental Health Staff to determine if any other component needs to be altered or repaired.
  • Environmental Health uses the Warren County Assessor’s Beacon information regarding number of bedrooms to determine how to size your septic system. If you have a discrepancy regarding the number of bedrooms in the house, you will need to talk with the Assessor’s Office.

Certified Septic Pumpers

To maintain your septic system, it important to pump your septic tank regularly. It is recommended that your septic tank be pumped every 3-5 years, depending on usage. Below are the certified septic pumpers who serve Warren County:

CountrySide Septic Norwalk, IA 515-202-4895
Dave’s Pumping Service Prole, IA 515-462-1903
Forest Septic Tank Service Norwalk, IA 515-282-0777
Killen Construction Carlisle, IA 515-480-6082
Wiegert Disposal Inc. Martensdale, IA 641-764-2389
RM Plumbing & Construction LLC Lucas, IA 515321-6623

If you would like for detailed information about septic systems in Iowa, the DNR publication Treatment Overview is a great resource.

Any questions regarding septic systems can be directed to Warren County Environmental Health Staff by calling 515-961-1074 or emailing envhealth@warrencountyia.org.

Professional Engineers/Soil Scientists for Percolation test or Soil Analysis

Name City Number
Abaci Consulting, Inc. Clive 515-986-5048
Campbell, Brian Ankeny 515-963-4385
CMT, Doug Clement Des Moines 515-263-0794
Carroll P.E., James Clive 515-250-2103
Choquette P.E., Ken Des Moines 515-306-0019
May, Jeff Knoxville 641-891-2308
Oelmann, Douglas Altoona 515-419-2926

Certified Installers of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (CIOWTS)

Name City Number
A-1 Complete Septic Service Pleasant Hill 515-265-3986
Bassett Excavating Incorporated Knoxville 641-943-3049
Becker Construction Urbandale 515-249-8233
Bedwell Builders St. Charles 641-396-2462
Bedwell Mechanical & Excavating Indianola 515-681-5885
Behanish Enterprises, Inc. Des Moines 515-979-1738
Beyer Backhoe Otley 515-627-5205
515-780-2525
Bright Excavating & Septic Peru 641-295-7033
Carey Drilling Company Winterset 515-468-3122
Davidson Trenching & Backhoe St. Charles 641-297-2103
Dirt Tek LLC Granger 515-777-6997
Gary Wiedmann Backhoe Service Norwalk 515-981-4744,
515-360-3517
H & H Plumbing, Inc. Granger 515-277-5755
Harkin Construction Cumming 515-981-9465
Haworth Land Construction Indianola 515-249-4747
Huff Well Mackburg 515-462-3569
Kephart Construction St. Charles 641-396-2239
Killen Construction Carlisle 515-480-6082
Mease Construction Truro 641-765-4765
Moffitt Trenching Indianola 515-480-7139
Murphy’s Outdoors- Brian Murphy Clio 515-689-1987
Pipe Monkey Plumbing Pleasant Hill 515-266-1221
Rex Amstutz Construction Norwalk 515-350-8116
Rogers Septic Des Moines 515-745-8352
Rose Construction Chariton 641-203-2108
Rozendaal Tiling & Septic Monroe 641-780-6109
Septic & More, Inc. Monroe 641-891-6064
Shilling Excavating Inc. Knoxville 641-842-7191
Smith Landworx New Virginia 515-240-4006
Southern Iowa Grading LLC Moravia 641-724-3006
Thomas Bros. Septic Service Pleasant Hill 515-265-5077
Trunnel Digging & Plumbing Prairie City 515-994-3367
Underground Solutions Norwalk 515-664-7862
Vanderpool Construction Indianola 515-961-4682
Varied Construction Service Des Moines 515-240-7340