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Iowa's Time of Transfer Inspection Program

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (Department) has implemented an enforcement and compliance protocol in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances facing the state from COVID-19. Consistent with Governor Reynold's public health proclamation dated March 17, 2020, the Department is attempting to provide some regulatory relief and mitigate the economic effects of business closings and social distancing standards necessary to protect the public's health. To that end, the Department is issuing this protocol in an attempt to balance the need to protect and maintain Iowa's natural resources against the need to protect people from infection.

As a direct result of this action, current Certified Time of Transfer Inspectors who do not meet the continuing education credit requirements by March 31 will be allowed to renew their inspector license. Any continuing education credits obtained after April 1, 2020 will go towards meeting the continuing education credit requirements for the upcoming 2020-2022 certification period. Your certification renewal information will be delivered to the address we currently have listed for you in our data system. We ask that you use the Operator Certification web site to review your certification mailing address and submit any updates as soon as possible to ensure you receive your renewal documents.

The Operator Certification Web Database is located at http://programs.iowadnr.gov/opcertweb/. Any additional questions can be directed to Cory Frank at 515-725-8404 or emailed to cory.frank@dnr.iowa.gov.

Time of Transfer Inspection Law:

Iowa's time of transfer septic system inspection law (SF261) was passed by the Iowa legislature in April of 2008 and took effect July 1, 2009. The law requires that every home/building served by a septic system have that septic system inspected prior to the sale or deed transfer of the home/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 515-256-4920.

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 in a downloadable flowchart.

If you have questions about time of transfer inspections or the requirements to become certified, please contact Cory Frank, Iowa DNR, at 515-725-8404, or e-mail at Cory.Frank@dnr.iowa.gov.

Forms and Information: