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Indiana State Department of Health

Environmental Public Health Home > Onsite Sewage Systems Program > Holding Tank Requirements Holding Tank Requirements

By rule, only temporary sewage holding tanks for commercial facilities can be approved, and only then for a maximum of two years operation. In accordance with 410 IAC 7-24-375(b), a new retail food establishment, such as a restaurant, grocery, or convenience store, cannot be permitted to utilize a temporary sewage holding tank. For facilities other than new retail food establishments, in order to obtain such an approval, one of the following must be demonstrated:

  1. A municipal sanitary sewer is currently under construction to serve the proposed facility;
  2. Contracts have been executed, or will be executed, for construction of a municipal sanitary sewer to serve the proposed facility;
  3. There is sufficient land at the site with soils suitable for construction of an on-site sewage disposal system to serve the proposed facility. To make this demonstration, a soil survey report must be prepared by a registered soil science consultant and submitted to this office for review, along with an estimate of the maximum daily sewage flow. That will allow us to determine the type of on-site sewage disposal system that will have to be installed, and whether or not there is sufficient land for its construction. If the soils are such as to require installation of a perimeter drain, it must also be demonstrated that there is a free flowing outlet legally available to the property owner (including easements, if necessary) for the perimeter drain to flow to by gravity. Finally, there must be a valid reason for delaying construction of the on-site sewage disposal system, and a written commitment to have designed and constructed said on-site sewage disposal system such that it can be in operation within two years.

If none of the above situations hold, approval cannot be issued for installation of a temporary sewage holding tank. If one of the above situations does hold, then the following details must be addressed either on the plans for the temporary sewage holding tank, or in supporting documentation. Plans for the site and holding tank must be prepared and certified by a registered architect or engineer and submitted for review and approval. An application form, and a $200 plan review fee, must accompany the plans. Show or specify the following information on the plans, or submit copies of other documentation as outlined below:

  • Indicate the type of activity at the site and its number of occupants (the number of employees; style of seating; whether or not showers are provided; hours of operation; shifts; etc.)
  • Show the locations of the property lines, buildings, streets and drives on the site plan.
  • Show the location, size and interior dimensions of the holding tank.
  • Show the depth from the inside bottom of the tank to the liquid level. The minimum size of the holding tank must provide 3 days capacity at the 95 percent level. Specify an audio-visual alarm that registers at this 95 level.
  • Show the location, size, material and invert elevations of the sanitary sewer at the building and inlet of the holding tank. The sewer must be installed with minimum approved slopes.
  • Submit a copy of a contract with a licensed wastewater management business. The sewage treatment plant that will receive the hauled wastewater must be identified.
  • Submit written documentation from the proper local officials that construction of the municipal or public sewers has started, or else that financing is in place for construction of the necessary sewers within two years.
  • If applicable, show the location and all construction details of the well on the plans. The well must be located at least 100 feet from the property line and 100 feet from the septic tank, dosing tank, absorption fields and mound systems or any other sources of contamination. No sewers under or outside the building can be located within 50 feet of a well. Sewers at distances of from 50 to 100 feet of the well must be constructed of special materials. The 100 foot clearance between the well and property line may include the right-of way width of a road or street adjacent to the property if the required clearance is not otherwise available. Additional separation distance may also be obtained by protective easement or covenant from the adjacent property owner. This easement or covenant must be signed, notarized, recorded and a copy submitted for review.
  • If applicable, show that the water line from the well or public water supply main to the building will not cross the area set aside for a future on-site sewage disposal system.

It is recommended that you notify your local health department of this project prior to obtaining approval from this office to avoid delays in acquiring the local permit. Some local health department requirements may be more, but not less, stringent than those of the State.

Again, plans and specifications embodying the above requirements, an application form, and a $200 plan review fee, must first be submitted for review and approval by the Indiana State Department of Health's Sanitary Engineering Section prior to any construction. The required application can be found here. The plans, documentation and fee should be sent to the address indicated on the application.