Environmental Health

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Contact Information

Environmental Health Specialist- Ben Huntley
2105 Main Street
PO Box 271
Emmetsburg, IA 50536

Office Phone:  712-852-3058
Fax:  712-852-4307

email: bhuntley@emmetcounty.iowa.gov

Septic System Information

Prior to a septic system installation, the Environmental Health Specialist will conduct a site evaluation and determine design standards based on the soil type and the number of bedrooms in the home.  The purpose of this program is to protect surface and groundwater from contamination of human sewage. Human sewage carries many harmful pathogens that may cause people to become ill or even die.

Time of Transfer 

Effective July 1, 2009, Iowa law requires that every home/building served by a septic system have that septic system inspected prior to the sale or deed transfer for the home/building. The purpose of the law is to eliminate sub-standard or polluting septic systems.

Onsite Wastewater Assistance Program (OSWAP)

The Onsite Wastewater Assistance Program offers low-interest loans through participating lenders to rural homeowners for the replacement of inadequate or failing septic systems.  Loan terms start at $2,000 up to 10 years with a 3% fixed interest rate.


  • Obtain a septic construction permit from the county environmental health department.
  • Complete an OSWAP approval form which is completed through the county environmental health department.
  • Apply for a loan through a participating lender. Please note, lenders may become a participating lender by following the simple steps provided here.
  • Hire a septic contractor to complete the approved project.

Available Septic Training Workshops

Soil Absorption System
Soil Absorption System


Private Well Information

Grants to Counties Program

The Grants to Counties (GTC) Program was established in 1987 when legislation passed the Iowa Groundwater Protection Act to help prevent further contamination of one of Iowa's most precious resources; our groundwater.

Grants are made available for plugging abandoned wells & cisterns, water testing, and well rehabilitation.

Plugging Wells

Private Well Water FAQ

Well Permit
Well construction permits are required for all water supply wells installed in Iowa.All well services in Iowa - including well construction and renovation or rehabilitation, pump installation and pump repairs, pressure switch and pressure tank replacement, and geothermal borehole construction requires an Iowa DNR Certified Well Contractor be present on the job site and in direct charge at the time well services.