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Porter County requires septic installer certification as of Jan. 1

Updated: August 20, 2013 4:26PM



VALPARAISO — Firms that install residential septic systems can expect new regulations from Porter County in the coming months.

The Porter County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday agreed to put in place a new ordinance that would take effect Jan. 1, 2013, requiring firms that install septic systems be certified through the Indiana Onsite Wastewater Professionals Association and registered with the county.

A growing number of firms have been installing septic systems poorly, and often without permits from the county, said Keith Letta, administrator of the Porter County Health Department, and department attorney David Hollenbeck.

Owners of new homes find their septic systems break down after several months because they were installed improperly. The problem is compounded by the fact that with a large house on a 1-acre lot, there may not be room to install a new system somewhere else, Letta said.

“I think we’re doing a disservice to homeowners” by not requiring the firms to be certified and registered, Letta said.

The majority of Indiana’s counties require registration and/or certification, Hollenbeck said, citing information from the Indiana Department of Health. He will work with Elizabeth Knight, the county attorney, on drafting an ordinance for Porter County.

In other business, commissioners approved a five-year lease with the federal General Services Administration for the National Park Service to continue sharing space with Indiana Dunes Tourism at the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center on Indiana 49 in Porter.

The commissioners own the 12,300-square-foot building and lease space to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The two groups split the building about equally, said Lorelei Weimer, executive director of the tourism agency.

The lease is $56,000 for rent and operating expenses for the first year and goes up to $63,000, said Hollenbeck, serving as attorney for the tourism agency.

The new lease is retroactive to Dec. 1, 2011; the county will get back pay on the unpaid rent, Weimer said, adding a shared visitors center — rather than one for the national park and one for visitors to the county — has been beneficial for visitors.

Additionally, commissioners awarded a contract for $203,613 to Maris and Son Roofing of Hobart for a new roof for the Porter County Courthouse. The work is expected to be done this fall.



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