Frequently Asked Questions
How do I test for asbestos?
If possible, sampling should be conducted by a qualified professional as the process of sampling can result in an increased health risk if asbestos fibers are released. To find a contractor licensed in Iowa, visit the Iowa Division of Labor Services website and click on the link for licensees. If you choose to collect the sample yourself, please visit the State Hygienic Laboratory website for sample collection information.
PRIVATE SEWAGE TREATMENT SYSTEMS
Where do I obtain a Private Sewage Treatment System Permit and how much does it cost?
You can apply for private sewage treatment system permit by visiting the office which is located in the lower level of the Buchanan County Courthouse 210 5th Ave NE * Suite I Independence, Iowa 50644 or by visiting the forms section of the Environmental Health webpage to view and print an application. The current fee is $175 for a new private sewage treatment system permit and $100 for a repair permit. Any further questions, call (319) 334-2873.
Do I have to get my private sewage treatment system inspected prior to selling my house?
After the State of Iowa adopted the TIME OF TRANSFER law in 2009, any real estate property that is served by a private sewage treatment system must be inspected prior to the sale. Our department suggests discussing with your real estate agent, attorney, or county sanitarian to confirm if one (1) of the twelve (12) TIME OF TRANSFER exemptions or future binding agreements may apply to you before proceeding. The Buchanan County Sanitarian can be reached at (319) 334-2873.
When does my private sewage treatment system permit expire?
Private sewage treatment system permits expire one (1) year from the date it was issued.
Is it the seller's responsibility to pay for the private sewage treatment system upgrades?
The county or state does not regulate who pays for system upgrade if needed. Negotiations can be made during the offer and acceptance process to assure who is responsible for payment. Future inspections or future installation agreements can be engaged with the buyer as well but, our department suggestion communicating with the County Sanitarian prior to the sale being recorded. Call our office at (319) 334-2873.
Who should I call to have my septic tank pumped?
You can search the white and yellow pages or call the Buchanan County Sanitarian office at (319) 334-2873 for references. The sanitation office has a list of certified inspectors, bonded installers, and pumpers who work in the Buchanan County Area. This list is also available on our website:
Do I need to do a Time of Transfer Inspection when I buy or sell a property with a PRIVATE SEWAGE DISPOSAL SYSTEM or SEPTIC SYSTEM?
Before recording your real estate transaction without a TIME OF TRANSFER INSPECTION, confirm that the following twelve (12) EXEMPTIONS apply to your property.
Iowa Code 455B.172(11) (amended by HF2437, 2010)
For purposes of this subsection, “transfer” means the transfer or conveyance by sale, exchange, real estate contract, or any other method by which real estate and improvements are purchased, if the property includes at least one but not more than four dwelling units. However, “transfer” does not include any of the following:
1) A transfer made pursuant to a court order, including but not limited to a transfer under chapter 633 or 633A, the execution of a judgment, the foreclosure of a real estate mortgage pursuant to chapter 654, the forfeiture of a real estate contract under chapter 656, a transfer by a trustee in bankruptcy, a transfer by eminent domain, or a transfer resulting from a decree for specific performance.
(2) A transfer to a mortgagee by a mortgagor or successor in interest who is in default, or a transfer by a mortgagee who has acquired real property at a sale conducted pursuant to chapter 654, a transfer back to a mortgagor exercising a right of first refusal pursuant to section 654.16A, a nonjudicial voluntary foreclosure procedure under section
654.18 or chapter 655A, or a deed in lieu of foreclosure under section 654.19.
(3) A transfer by a fiduciary in the course of the administration of a decedent’s estate, guardianship, conservator-ship, or trust.
(4) A transfer between joint tenants or tenants in common.
(5) A transfer made to a spouse, or to a person in the lineal line of consanguinity of a person making the transfer.
(6) A transfer between spouses resulting from a decree of dissolution of marriage, a decree of legal separation, or a property settlement agreement which is incidental to the decree, including a decree ordered pursuant to chapter 598.
(7) A transfer for which consideration is five hundred dollars or less.
(8) A deed between a family corporation, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited liability company as defined in section 428A.2, subsection 15, and its stockholders partners, or members for the purpose of transferring real property in an incorporation or corporate dissolution or in the organization or dissolution of a partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited liability company under the laws of this state, where the deed is given for no actual consideration other than for shares or for debt securities of the family corporation, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited liability company.
(9) A transfer in which the transferee intends to demolish or raze the building.
A legally binding document verifying that the building will be demolished shall be attached to the form.
(10) A transfer of property with a system that was installed not more than two years prior to the date of the transfer.
(11) A deed arising from a partition proceeding.
(12) A tax sale deed issued by the county treasurer
For more information: http://www.iowadnr.gov/InsideDNR/RegulatoryWater/PrivateSepticSystems/TimeofTransfer.aspx
PRIVATE WATER WELLS
Where do I get a private water well permit and how much does it cost?
You can apply for a private water well permit by visiting the office which is located in the lower level of the Buchanan County Courthouse 210 5th Ave NE * Suite I Independence, Iowa 50644 or by visiting the forms section of the Environmental Health webpage to view and print an application. The current fee is $175 for a private water well permit. Any further questions please feel free to call (319) 334-2873.
Should I plug my private water well if I no longer use it?
Yes, if you are no longer using the water supply, plug the well. The proper plugging or closing of wells not in use is a great way to preserve Iowa's groundwater source. The plugging of wells can help stop potential contamination from entering the aquifer in which your well is penetrating. For more information, call the Buchanan County Environmental Health Department at (319) 334-2873. **Be sure to ask if GRANT TO COUNTY FUNDS are available to assist with the cost of your project. **
Who do I call to have my private water well sampled?
Call the Buchanan County Environmental Health Department at (319) 334-2873 to schedule your private water well test. Water samples are commonly completed on Wednesdays between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM with results available in two (2) to three (3) business days.
Should I raise my private water well casing if it is in a concrete vault?
Yes, if your well is not at least 1' above grade, elevating your well casing is a great way to deter potential contaminants from entering your water supply.. The proper rehabilitation of wells in use is a great way to preserve Iowa's groundwater source. This process can help stop potential contamination from entering the aquifer in which your well in penetrating. For more information call the Buchanan County Sanitation Department at (319) 334-2873. **Be sure to ask if GRANT TO COUNTY FUNDS are available to assist with the cost of your project. **
What does it cost to have my water sampled?
The cost to have well-water tested is $50.00 for Coliform bacteria, E. Coli, and Nitrates with quantification and $20.00 per arsenic test completed after Grant to County funds are depleted.
When Grant to County funds are available from the State of Iowa the cost to Buchanan County residents will be $0.00; as the grant will reimburse the county for the services provided to perform well tests for the presence of Coliform Bacteria, E. Coli, and Nitrates. The grant period is July to June, and may not be available every year, or for the entire year. Please call the office to see if grant funds are available: 319-334-2873.
Do I have rural water near my house?
Buchanan County Environmental health does not regulate rural water supplies. To view a map of the areas served by the Iowa Regional Utilities Association, please visit the service territory map on their website. To sign-up for rural water, contact the Iowa Regional Utilities Association at 1 (800) 400-6066.