Environmental Health Services
The Environmental Health Services Section provides a number of services to the public and business community relating to those affecting the health and safety of the environment in which we live.
The Environmental Health Services Section is responsible for the following activities (Scroll down to find more details)
- Private On-Site Wastewater Systems (Septic Systems) Permits and Inspections
- Maintenance Agreements and Effluent Sampling
- Time of Transfer Report Inspection Review for Private On-site Water Systems
- Mosquito Control
- Private Water Well Permits and Inspections
- Drinking Water Well Testing
- Radon Test Kits
Private On-Site Wastewater Systems regulations fall under Iowa Administrative code: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/ACO/chapter/567.69.pdf and Polk County Code of Ordinances Chapter III Health Regulations.
The Environmental Health Services section issues permits and inspects for the installation of new systems, the abandonment of existing systems, and repairs/replacement to systems. Polk County has jurisdiction over all areas except for the City of Des Moines.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has informative information on their website: https://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Water-Quality/Private-Septic-Systems
Polk County only allows licensed contractors who hold an annual professional license with the Environmental Health Services Section to perform work on systems. Click here for a listing of current license holders.
If you are wanting to become a professionally licensed installer or renew your current license with Polk County the information can be found here: Contractor's License Application. The license is valid on a calendar year basis and all expire December 31st of the current year.
Permits for the installation of new systems/altering systems, repairs and abandoning systems can be found here: Septic Permit Application. Once your permit is applied for, you will be provided the inspector contact information for any follow up and/or the scheduling of the inspections.
A license is not required to abandon an existing system. A Septic Permit Application is required before the abandonment process can start. After the permit is issued, the applicant will be informed of who the assigned inspector will be. The applicant is required to contact the inspector as the inspector will need to be onsite for the pumping of the tank and the deconstruction.
If you have any questions about Private On-Site Wastewater Systems, please email: PublicWorks@polkcountyiowa.gov or call 515-286-3705.
Time of Transfer Report Inspection Review for Private On-site Water Systems.
Polk County requires that inspectors sending in reports to be reviewed complete a Time of Transfer Cover Sheet and attach to the report.
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.
More detailed information about the law can be found at: https://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Water-Quality/Private-Septic-Systems/Time-of-Transfer
Polk County reviews these reports and issues a letter to the current owner, potential Buyer and both representatives for the Seller and Buyer as to the condition of the system and if the system is considered satisfactory or repairs/replacement is recommended.
All reports should be emailed to: email@example.com
Should you have any question about the Time of Transfer inspection review process, please call Mike Heller at 515-286-3705. For questions about properties within the City of Des Moines please call Jordan Hutchens 515-283-4097.
Polk County utilizes an integrated management system within the unincorporated areas within Polk County to assist in controlling the mosquito population.
It is a four (4) step process. A summary of the process is listed below. These steps are designed to help control the population. As all of us would like, it does not eliminate the population.
- Information/Education: The Environmental Health Services Section issues information that is provided to the public on measures that everyone can do to assist in controlling the population.
- Larvicide: In the spring, Polk County take a proactive preventative approach and contracts with a globally recognized company that applies an environmentally friendly product to pockets of standing where mosquitos lay their eggs. This product suffocates the larvae before it has a chance to hatch.
- Survelliance: Polk County operates trapping sites at five (5) locations in the unincorporated part of the County. There are two (2) types of traps that are utilized.
- Light Trap: This trap is designed to assist in taking a count of adult mosquitos for population numbers and the type of mosquito.
- Gravid Trap: This type of trap attracts mosquitos into small tub of stagnant water and traps the mosquito. Samples from this trap are reviewed to see if the sample contains any virus.
Polk County works with the Entomology Department at Iowa State University to count these samples, identifying the type of mosquito, and conducts the virus testing.
If a disease or virus is detected within a sample, the Polk County Health Department is notified and coordinates notification to the public.
- Adulticide: When the population count reaches an established threshold, Polk County deploys its vehicles equipped with sprayers in the late evening to help control the population in targeted areas. If you have bees or sensitive crops, you are required to enter your property information on this link: https://fieldwatch.com/ Staff review this site weekly and will add your address to the do not spray list.
Resource Links on how you can help control the mosquito population:
Should you have any questions, please feel free to email: PublicWorks@polkcountyiowa.gov or by calling 515-286-3705.
Drinking Water Well Testing
As a service to private well users within Polk County, the Environmental Health Services Section offers free drinking well testing. This service is provided in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Natural resources. https://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Water-Quality/Private-Well-Program/Private-Well-Testing
If you would like to your well tested, please email: PublicWorks@polkcountyiowa.gov or by calling 515-286-3705.