Iowa's Time of Transfer Inspection Program

Time of Transfer Inspection Law:

Iowa's time of transfer septic system inspection law requires that every home or building served by a septic system have that septic system inspected prior to the sale or deed transfer of the home or building. All inspections must be conducted by an inspector that has been certified by the Iowa DNR. The purpose of the law is to eliminate sub-standard or polluting septic systems. A sub-standard septic system is one that has no treatment (secondary treatment) following the septic tank or has a secondary treatment system that has failed. These sub-standard septic systems pose an environmental and public health hazard and require repair. If you have a septic system with a septic tank AND a secondary treatment system such as a seepage (leach) field, sand filter or other approved device, and it is not creating a public health or environmental hazard, it does not have to meet current code.

Certified Time of Transfer Inspectors:

To become a certified time of transfer inspector, you must fill out the Certified Time of Transfer Inspector Application Form 542-0192 (see below) and submit it to the Iowa DNR, and you must complete the inspector training. To qualify for the time of transfer inspector training, you must have one of the following:

  1. Two (2) years of experience in the operation, installation, inspection, design or maintenance of private sewage disposal systems (onsite wastewater treatment or septic systems), or
  2. Completed the "Basics of Onsite 101" class offered by the Onsite Wastewater Training Center of Iowa or an equivalent class approved by the Iowa DNR.
Submit your application to:  Time of Transfer Inspector Certification
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
502 E. 9th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0034

Once your application is approved, you must sign up for and complete the Time of Transfer Inspector Training offered by the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Onsite Wastewater Training Center of Iowa and pass the test given at the end of the training. The cost for the Time of Transfer Inspector class is $300, payable to DMACC. Sign up for the Inspector Training class at the Onsite Wastewater Training Center of Iowa website or by calling DMACC at 515-964-6800. The main phone number for the Training Center is 515-964-6818.

Once you have completed the training and the test, you will be notified of the test results and billed for the test fee ($50) and the certification fee ($300), payable to the Iowa DNR, if you pass. Pay the invoice and you will receive your certification. An outline of the certification process is available as a flowchart.

If you have questions about time of transfer inspections or the requirements to become certified, please contact Cory Frank, Iowa DNR, at 515-689-7941, or e-mail at

Forms and Information: