Iowa's Time of Transfer Inspection Program

Time of Transfer Inspection Law:

Iowa's Time of Transfer (ToT) 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 (ToT) inspector, you must:

  1. Register and complete the eligibility exam application process in the Iowa DNR Operator Certification Database, and
  2. Complete the Time of Transfer Inspector Training offered by the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Onsite Wastewater Training Center of Iowa.

Exam Eligibility Process:

To complete the eligibility exam application process, proceed to the Iowa DNR Operator Certification Database.

    • If you are a registered user, select "Exam Eligibility Application” to complete the process.
    • If you are not a registered user, you may create an account and proceed by using the "Create New Account" button on the main page of the database.

Once your ToT inspector exam application is approved and you have received an approval notification, you must sign up for and complete the ToT Inspector Training and pass the test given at the end of the training.

ToT Inspector Training:

After you have received your exam approval from the Iowa DNR, you can complete the the ToT Inspector Training.

To qualify for the ToT inspector training, you must have one of the following:

    • 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
    • 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.

You may sign up for the ToT Inspector Training class at the DMACC 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. The cost for the Time of Transfer Inspector class is $300, payable to DMACC.

Once you have completed the inspector training and the test, you will be notified of the test results. If you pass, you will be prompted to pay the certification fee ($300), payable to the Iowa DNR.

Questions on ToT Inspections:

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: