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Locating Existing Septic Systems

Porter County Health Department is in the process of digitizing septic system records and we hope to have online access to them by 2018. 

Determine the Year Your Septic Was Installed

  • Prior to 1974
    • Porter County Health Department does not have septic permit records prior to 1974.  Therefore, homes built prior to 1974 will not have any records on file.
  • 1974-2001
    • To locate a drawing of the septic system for your property Porter County Health Department will need to know:
      • Property address
      • Subdivision name and lot number, if applicable
      • Property owner’s name at the time the septic system was installed or the permit applicant’s name.
  • 2001-Present
    • To locate a drawing of the septic system for your property PCHD will need to know:
      • Property address

Locating Your Septic System Without a Drawing
Locate where the main sewer line comes out of the house; this will give an approximate location of where the tank might be located.  Tanks are normally 10 feet from the house and are 5 feet wide by 8 feet long. The lateral lines are usually down slope of the septic tank unless the laterals are installed very deep or there is dosing chamber to pump the effluent upslope. The lateral lines are normally 3 feet wide and will be 4-5 feet apart from one edge of the trench to the next. Try probing in the area where you think your lateral lines are located.  A probe can be purchased at your local hardware store or any long solid rod can be used as a probe. You will know you’ve located the lateral lines when the probe hits the stone that covers the pipe in the lateral lines. It is recommended that once a septic tank is located a riser should be installed over the access ports of the tank for easy access for pumping the septic tank in the future.

How Close Can My Septic System Be to a Pool, Pole Barn, Garage, Etc.?
The septic system must be at least 10 feet from any structure, including pools, patios, and fences. Decks must be 10 feet from the lateral lines and cannot be installed over a septic tank.

How Do I Get a Septic Location Report for a Building Permit?
Provide a drawing to the Porter County Health Department showing the location of your house, septic system and what you are proposing to build on the property. The drawing must either be to scale or show the separation distance between what you are proposing to build on your property and the septic system. If Porter County Health Department has a drawing of your septic system, they will provide you a copy free of charge. If the Porter County Health Department does not have a drawing, you must locate the septic system yourself or hire someone to locate it for you.

How Can I Find out Who Originally Owned My Property?
You can find out who originally owned your property by contacting the Assessor’s Office or by going to http://search.portercountyassessor.com/.

How Often Should I Get My Septic Tank Pumped?
On average a septic tank should be pumped every 3 to 5 years. The more people you have living in your house the more often the septic tank should be pumped. Pumping your septic tank on a regular basis keeps solids from building up in your septic tank, which in turn will clog your lateral lines and cause a system failure. The Porter County Health Department recommends that a riser be installed over the access ports of the tank for easy access for pumping the septic tank in the future. A list of septic tank pumpers can be found here.