Indiana Code Title 36. Local Government § 36-9-23-30.1

Sec. 30.1 . (a) As used in this section, “constructed wetland septic system” means a residential sewage disposal system that includes:

(1) a septic tank or other type of primary wastewater treatment system;  and

(2) a constructed wetland cell in which:

(A) effluent flows on top of soil or through a porous medium such as pea gravel;

(B) wetland plants are growing, and their roots and stems form a dense mat;

(C) suspended solids and trace metals in the effluent settle and are filtered;  and

(D) organisms living in the water, on the soil or gravel, and on the stems and roots of the wetland plants feed on the organic materials and nutrients in the effluent.

(b) For purposes of this section, a sewage disposal system is “failing” if one (1) or more of the following apply:

(1) The system refuses to accept sewage at the rate of design application and interferes with the normal use of plumbing fixtures.

(2) Effluent discharge exceeds the absorptive capacity of the soil into which the system discharges, resulting in ponding, seepage, or other discharge of the effluent to the ground surface or to surface waters.

(3) Effluent discharged from the system contaminates a potable water supply, ground water, or surface waters.

(c) As used in this section, “qualified inspector” means any of the following:

(1) An employee of a local health department who is designated by the local health department as having knowledge of onsite sewage systems sufficient to determine whether an onsite sewage system is failing.

(2) An individual who is certified by the Indiana Onsite Wastewater Professionals Association as an onsite sewage system installer or inspector.

(3) An individual listed by:

(A) the state department of health;  or

(B) the local health department with jurisdiction over the service area of the property inspected;

as having sufficient knowledge of onsite sewage systems to determine whether an onsite sewage system is failing.

(d) Subject to subsections (e) through (k), a property owner is exempt from the requirement to connect to a municipality's sewer system and to discontinue use of the property owner's sewage disposal system if all of the following conditions are met:

(1) The property of the property owner is located outside the boundaries of the municipality.

(2) The property owner's sewage disposal system on the property is a septic tank soil absorption system or constructed wetland septic system that:

(A) was new at the time of installation;  and

(B) was approved in writing by the local health department.

(3) Within sixty (60) days after the property owner is notified under section 30 of this chapter that the municipality is requiring connection to its sewer system and discontinuance of use of the property owner's sewage disposal system, the property owner notifies the municipality in writing that the property owner is claiming the exemption provided by this section.

(4) The property owner, at the property owner's expense, obtains a written determination from:

(A) the local health department;

(B) the local health department's designee;

(C) if subsection (f) applies, a qualified inspector;  or

(D) if subsection (g) applies, the board of the local health department;

that the septic tank soil absorption system or constructed wetland septic system is not failing.

(5) The property owner provides to the municipality a copy of the written determination described in subdivision (4) within one hundred twenty (120) days after the property owner is notified under section 30 of this chapter that the municipality is requiring connection to its sewer system and discontinuance of use of the property owner's sewage disposal system.

(e) If a property owner, within the time allowed under subsection (d)(3), notifies the municipality in writing that the property owner is claiming the exemption provided by this section, the municipality shall suspend the requirement that the property owner discontinue use of the property owner's sewage disposal system and connect to the municipality's sewer system until the property owner's eligibility for the exemption under this section is determined.

(f) The local health department or the designee of the local health department shall provide the property owner with a written determination under subsection (d)(4) within sixty (60) days after receiving the property owner's request for the determination.  If the local health department or its designee fails to provide a written determination in response to a property owner's request under subsection (d)(4) within sixty (60) days after receiving the request, the property owner, at the property owner's expense, may obtain a written determination from a qualified inspector.

(g) If the local health department or the department's designee, in response to a property owner's request under subsection (d)(4), determines that a septic tank soil absorption system or constructed wetland septic system is failing, the property owner may appeal the determination to the board of the local health department.  The decision of the board as to whether the septic tank soil absorption system or constructed wetland septic system is failing is final and binding for purposes of this section.

(h) If a property qualifies under subsections (d) through (g) for the exemption provided by this section:

(1) the property owner is exempt from the requirement to connect to the municipality's sewer system for a period of ten (10) years beginning on the date on which the property owner's septic tank soil absorption system or constructed wetland septic system described in subsection (d)(2) was installed;  and

(2) the property owner may renew the initial ten (10) year exemption described in subdivision (1) by seeking to obtain not more than two (2) additional five (5) year exemptions after the initial exemption expires by meeting the conditions set forth in subsection (i) for each five (5) year exemption.  Each additional exemption under this subdivision begins on the date the previous exemption would otherwise expire.

The total period during which a property owner may be exempt from the requirement to connect to a municipality's sewer system under this subsection may not exceed twenty (20) years.

(i) A property owner qualifies for an exemption renewal as described in subsection (h)(2) if all of the following conditions are met:

(1) The property continues to meet the conditions set forth in subsection (d)(1) through (d)(2).

(2) Not less than one hundred twenty (120) days before the expiration of:

(A) the property owner's initial exemption described in subsection (h)(1);  or

(B) the property owner's previous renewal of an exemption described in subsection (h)(2);

the property owner notifies the municipality in writing that the property owner is seeking the renewal of an exemption under this section.

(3) The property owner, at the property owner's expense, obtains another written determination from:

(A) the local health department;

(B) the local health department's designee;

(C) a qualified inspector;  or

(D) the board of the local health department;

as applicable, that the septic tank soil absorption system or constructed wetland septic system is not failing.

(4) The property owner provides to the municipality a copy of the written determination described in subdivision (3) not less than thirty (30) days before the expiration of the property owner's:

(A) initial exemption described in subsection (h)(1);  or

(B) previous exemption renewal period described in subsection (h)(2).

The local health department or the designee of the local health department shall provide the property owner with a written determination under subdivision (3)(A) or (3)(B) within sixty (60) days after receiving the property owner's request for the determination.  If the local health department or its designee fails to provide a written determination under subdivision (3)(A) or (3)(B) within sixty (60) days after receiving a property owner's request, the property owner, at the property owner's expense, may obtain a written determination from a qualified inspector under subdivision (3)(C).  If the local health department or the department's designee determines that a septic tank soil absorption system or constructed wetland septic system is failing, the property owner may appeal the determination to the board of the local health department under subdivision (3)(D), but the decision of the board as to whether the septic tank soil absorption system or constructed wetland septic system is failing is final and binding for purposes of this section.

(j) If a property qualifies for the exemption provided by this section and ownership of the property is transferred during a valid exemption period, including an exemption renewal period described in subsection (h)(2):

(1) the exemption continues to apply to the property for the remainder of the exemption period during which the transfer occurs;  and

(2) the transferee may apply for any exemption renewals under subsection (h)(2) that the previous property owner would have been entitled to apply for under this section.

(k) If a property owner whose property qualifies for an exemption under this section, including a transferee described in subsection (j), discontinues use of the property owner's septic tank soil absorption system or constructed wetland septic system and consents to the connection of the property to the municipality's sewer system, the property owner may not be required to pay more than the following to connect to the municipality's sewer system:

(1) The connection fee the property owner would have paid if the property owner had connected to the municipality's sewer system on the first date on which the property owner could have connected to the sewer system.

(2) Any additional costs:

(A) considered necessary by;  and

(B) supported by documentary evidence provided by;  the municipality.


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