Septic Systems

A man removing a manhole cover

The On-Site Sewage Treatment Systems Program protects the health and environment of Johnson County citizens by ensuring that on-site septic systems are properly designed and operated.

The program inspects new residential and commercial on-site septic systems, existing commercial systems, and existing residential systems subject to property transactions. The program also investigates complaints about malfunctioning on-site septic systems.

Johnson County Environmental Sanitary Code 


The 2004 Johnson County Environmental Sanitary Code establishes that Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) has the authority to assess various user fees to cover program administration and enforcement costs. Current fees can be found on the Forms and Fees page.

Designers, Installers, and Pumpers

JCDHE licenses the individuals who design and install private on-site sewage treatment systems in the areas of Johnson County served by the Johnson County Environmental Sanitary Code. JCDHE also licenses the disposal contractors, also known as pumpers, who pump and clean septic tanks and transport sewage to disposal sites. The licenses are renewed annually. These individuals are listed on this site for the convenience of system owners. JCDHE does not endorse any particular individual or company.

Residential Systems

Approximately 23% of all homes in the United States are served by private sewage treatment systems. There are approximately 9,000 private sewage treatment systems in Johnson County. The Residential On-Site Program issues permits for private sewage treatment systems where property owners are not served by a public wastewater collection system.

Resale Inspections

Another benefit of our program is the resale inspection. This is an inspection of the existing private sewage treatment system serving a residential property, which is required to be completed prior to a property being bought or sold. The buyer or seller may request the inspections.

Commercial/Industrial Systems

The Commercial/Industrial On-Site Program issues permits to install and operate non-residential septic systems where property owners are not served by a public wastewater collection system. There are about 400 entities subject to regulations under this program including businesses, government agencies, institutions and others.

Maintaining Your System

Care of the septic system

  • Have your tank pumped, by a licensed pumper, based on the size of the tank and the number of people in your home
  • After your initial pumping, work with the pumper to determine how often your tank should be pumped (usually every 3 to 5 years)
  • NEVER enter the septic tank as there could be dangerous gases
  • Inspect your lateral field and septic system area regularly
  • If repairs are needed, contact a licensed installer. A permit from JCDHE will be required in most cases
  • Contact JCDHE prior to any building additions, fencing, decking, exterior buildings or alterations to your property

Conserve water

  • Use your garbage disposal sparingly
  • Spread out water usage during the day
  • Spread out laundry usage during the week
  • Repair leaky faucets and valves
  • Use water conservation fixtures

Do not put these items down the drain or toilet

  • Wet wipes- even flushable 
  • Bones
  • Motor oil
  • Pesticides
  • Poisons
  • Solvents
  • Tampons
  • Condoms
  • Degreasers
  • Chemicals
  • Paint
  • Sand
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Kitty litter
  • Egg shells
  • Fats, oils or grease
  • Coffee grounds


  • Do not park equipment or vehicles such as cars or motorhomes on the lateral field
  • Do not allow livestock onto the lateral field
  • Do not plant trees or vegetables on the lateral field
  • Direct downspouts and rainwater away from the lateral field