IOWPA News, Summer 2020

Page 1

I WPA News

Summer 2020 Quarterly publication of Indiana Onsite Wastewater Professionals Association

2020 IOWPA Field Days See page 6

Top Ten Reasons the Effluent Filter Is Plugged

Why ALL Businesses Need Job Descriptions

Work During COVID-19 • Health Departments Instrumental in COVID-19 Response • COVID-19 and IOWPA Businesses











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IOWPA News Summer 2020

IOWPA News is the official publication of the Indiana Onsite Wastewater Professionals Association, Inc. (IOWPA) and is published quarterly.

Indiana Onsite Wastewater Professionals Association 7915 S. Emerson Avenue, Suite 132 Indianapolis, IN 46237 Phone: 317-965-1859 • Fax: 317-204-8763

In this issue . . . 8 Top Ten Reasons the Effluent Filter Is Plugged plus Comments about Effluent Filters from IOWPA members 12 Why ALL Businesses Need Job Descriptions Back Cover Work During COVID-19:

• Health Departments Instrumental in COVID-19 Response • COVID-19 and IOWPA Businesses

PUBLISHER Joan Brown, Interim Executive Director 317-965-1859 EDITOR AND AD SALES Mary Breidenbach, Cumulus Design 317-757-8634 • Advertising Rates: Rate sheet available online at or by contacting Mary Breidenbach at 317-757-8634 • Reprint Permission: Please email IOWPA to request permission to reprint. Direct your email to and include the title of the article and publication date. Views expressed in articles or editorials do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the association or its directors, but are those of the writer. Trade names used in articles are for identification only. No discrimination is intended toward similar products and IOWPA does not endorse the use of the products mentioned. Subscriptions: Subscription is included with IOWPA membership. Nonmembers: $20.00 per year (4 issues per year). For questions regarding subscriptions, please call IOWPA at 317-965-1859.

p. 6 — 2020 IOWPA Field Days Locations and details to the upcoming field days!

Plus More! 2

President’s Message

IOWPA Interim Executive Director Named


Committee Updates • Planning Begins for 2021 Annual Conference

• Change Planned for Installer Testing at 2021 Conference

• IOWPA Offers Extension of Certifications


2020 IOWPA Field Days

On the cover:

Volunteers scout a site for the IOWPA Field Day at Camp Millhouse • Story on page 6. (left to right) Kevin Kinkle, Meade Septic Design Inc.; Brett Davis, Environmental Health Assistant Director, St. Joseph Co. Health Dept.; Manass Hochstetler, Advanced Home Inspections of Elkhart County, LLC; Cody Houseknecht, Sunset Septic & Excavating, Inc.; Stuart Meade, Meade Septic Design Inc.; Jon Houseknecht, Sunset Septic & Excavating, Inc.; Don Schnoebelen, Schnoebelen Soil Consulting; L.A. Brown, L.A. Brown Co.; Tim Monaghan, Soil Solutions, Inc.; Micah Gilly, L.A. Brown Co.; Dave Ortel, ISDH; Matt Johnson, Infiltrator Water Technologies; Doug Williamson, ISDH; Greg Inman, Infiltrator Water Technologies

p. 8


Dear IOWPA Members, 2020 has proven to be an unusual year, presenting unpredicted changes and challenges for all of us. It has also become a big year of change for IOWPA. The Certification Committee along with the board has been working hard to make sure members don’t suffer certification renewal issues from all the training and education opportunities that have been canceled for this year. The Conference Committee has been working hard to make sure we can have a conference in 2021 regardless of Karl M. Glaze whether or not we are able to gather as a group in January. The Field Day Committee is working hard on field days for this year. I want to thank Jane Breeding and her staff for the years of working with IOWPA. Her contract with IOWPA ended at the end of April. We brought on Joan Brown to help with updating the management structure of IOWPA along with our Bylaws to help us make it so the organization can continue to thrive long into the future. Joan Brown will be acting as the Executive Director until we hire someone for the position. If any of you are interested in being involved with a committee, feel free to contact the committee chair, Joan, or any of us on the Board. The members are what make IOWPA the strong organization it is, and are what will keep making it greater. I am honored to be your President and will continue to work hard with the Board and Committees to make this year a great one for IOWPA. Sincerely,

IOWPA Interim Executive Director Named

Stay connected to IOWPA between issues.

Executive Director Jane Breeding moved on from IOWPA at the end of April. We thank Jane for her service and wish her all the best!

Sign up for the IOWPA monthly eNewsletter at

This transition has not changed how to connect with IOWPA. You can use the same address (7915 S. Emerson Ave #132, Indianapolis, IN 46237), phone (317-965-1859), and email ( to reach out to Joan. She’d be happy to hear from you. 2 • Ph: 317-965-1859

President Karl M. Glaze (2023) Daviess County Health Department 812-254-8674

Treasurer Gary Steinhardt (2023) Purdue University, Dept. of Agronomy 765-494-8063 Vice President Jon Houseknecht (2022) Sunset Septic & Excavation, Inc 219-778-8100 Secretary Kyle Nix (2023) S&M Nix Enterprises, LLC 812-347-2920 Interim Executive Director Joan Brown 7915 S. Emerson Ave., Suite 132 Indianapolis, IN 46237 317-965-1859; Fax: 317-204-8763

Karl M. Glaze IOWPA 2020 President Daviess County Health Department

Joan Brown has joined us as IOWPA’s Interim Executive Director and will be helping us through some organizational transitions. Welcome, Joan!

2020 IOWPA Officers

You’ll receive... Certification exam notices, the digital version of the magazine, reminders for events, and much more.

Board of Directors Will Banks (2022) Ike’s Sewer Service 765-448-1443 Greg Inman (2022) Infiltrator Water Technologies 800-896-9565 Andrew McAfee (2022) L.A. Brown Company 260-824-5754 Randy Staley (2021) Staley’s Soil Service, Inc. 812-939-2752 Alice Quinn (2023) Indiana State Dept. of Health 317-233-7179


Committee Updates Conference Planning Committee

Planning Begins for 2021 Annual Conference Julia Hayes, Conference Planning Committee Chair The conference planning committee is off to a great start planning the 2021 Conference. Please mark you calendar and plan to join us January 19-20, 2021 at Primo Banquet Center. Similar to previous years, the education and tradeshow time frame begins the morning of Tuesday, January 19th and ends at noon on Wednesday, January 20th. In the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee decided to proceed with planning the conference on the presumption that large gatherings will be allowed at the time of the conference. However, in case that does not happen, we are investigating a couple contingency plans to ensure Certified Installers and Inspectors who rely on the conference to obtain the required CEUs will still be able to do so. The two options on the table are: 1) Record the conference sessions to allow people who may not feel comfortable attending the conference to listen to the recordings and still earn CEUs. 2) Hold a virtual conference if large gatherings are not allowed. Your Input Needed

To determine if either option is viable for us, we’d like to hear from you. A survey on these attendance options will be emailed to IOWPA members in the coming weeks. Please help us create a viable contingency plan by responding to the survey!

Certification Committee

Change Planned for Installer Testing at 2021 Conference Alice Quinn, Certification Committee Chair We have gotten many positive comments about the changes to the testing schedule at the 2020 Annual Conference. Splitting the training and testing up between the two days of the conference definitely provided relief to those sitting through these sessions. One negative we heard about the 2020 training and testing schedule was that the people participating in these sessions, including the trainers, missed many of the great speakers that we had at the conference. So, we are planning another change in 2021 to allow test takers to be able to attend more of the actual conference.

Take-away from 2020

The IOWPA Conference Committee has set the dates for the 2021 Annual IOWPA Conference for Tuesday and Wednesday, January 19-20, 2021. Next year we plan to offer training and • Perhaps you have an installation tip you’d like to share or perhaps you do something testing for test A on the afternoon of above the minimum requirements of the rule that you think other installers would Monday, January 18, 2021, which is the benefit from — we’d love to hear from you. Contact us with your ideas at the email day before the actual conference starts. addresses listed below and please include a photo. Training for tests B and C would be provided on the morning of Wednesday, • If you are willing to be a presenter during one of these discussion sessions, even better! January 20, 2021, and testing for A, Please indicate your interest in presenting when you submit your discussion idea and B, and C would be offered on the photo to the email addresses below. afternoon of Wednesday, January 20, • Additionally if you have a session topic idea and want to 2021. This would allow all members to be a presenter at the conference, please contact attend a full day of the conference on Joan or me so we can arrange a time for you January 19 and part of the day of to discuss your topic with the planning sessions on January 20. Test committee. takers do not have to attend the training sessions, but Please email your ideas and photos to Because COVID-19 has prevented our usual schedule it is recommended. either myself ( of training, testing, and CEU options, no installer or or Joan Brown, interim executive Stay tuned for further inspector certifications will expire during the remainder of director, (indianaonsitewastewater@ details! 2020. This is a change from the previous extension to July 1, 2020. Watch the website and emails for details as well as upcoming dates and locations for training opportunities. We wish everyone the best in these ever-changing times and look Please make certain your 2020 IOWPA membership forward to seeing everyone at the 2021 dues are paid to take advantage of this extension. Conference! Let us know if we can help you. We learned from the comments received after the 2020 conference that attendees enjoyed presentations that elicited discussion from the audience. We heard what you said and are trying to plan more sessions in this discussion-based format. Right now we are soliciting ideas for these types of sessions.

IOWPA Offers Extension of Certifications

Field Day Committee Update on page 6.

4 • Ph: 317-965-1859


Field Day Committee

2020 IOWPA Field Days Greg Inman, Filed Day Committee Chair The Field Day Committee has plans for two Field Day locations this year. Installation dates are still to be determined but progress is being made with both locations. 1. Pam’s Promise Transitional Housing Corporation is a non-profit transitional housing program offering a variety of support services for Montgomery County homeless men, women, and their children with a goal of helping clients become self-sufficient within three to six months. Most clients are referred to them from other community agencies. Their clients have different needs, so they tailor services to help each client be successful once out on their own again. Services offered may include job placement assistance, acquiring permanent housing, locating childcare services, and life skills education (budgeting, nutrition, parenting, etc.). To learn more about Pam’s Promise, go to their website The on-site sewage system we are designing for Pam’s Promise is a 2,345 square feet Advance Treatment Leachfield (ATL) bed with a daily design flow of 1,050 gallons per day and a soil loading rate of 0.30 gpd/sf. This system will be gravity fed with septic capacity of a minimum of 1,840 gallons.

2. Camp Millhouse located in Saint Joseph County, is a residential Project Site for the Field Day at Camp Millhouse in Saint Joseph County. camp for children and adults with varying abilities that offers spring and fall camp weekends and weeklong sessions during the summer. Campers enjoy building independence, making new friends, and trying new activities while being supported by compassionate staff. For more information, check out Project Site Prep was finished in early March at Camp Millhouse. The on-site sewage system we are designing for Camp Millhouse is a 3,216 square feet Advance Enviro-Septic (AES) bed with a daily design flow of 2,400 gallons per day and a soil-loading rate of 0.50 gpd/sf. This system will be pumped to gravity with a minimum septic tank capacity of 4,800 gallons.

IOWPA Field Day Committee would like to thank everyone that has already spent time at the sites to help get them started.


If you would like to make a product donation (see list to the right) or willing to donate money to go toward lunch, please call Greg Inman at 317-458-5718 or email Not able to travel to these Field Days? If you’d like to support this important community work, you can donate to IOWPA specifically for Field Day operations by sending your check, made out to IOWPA, to 7915 S. Emerson Ave, Suite 132, Indianapolis, IN 46237. Just put “Field Day” in the memo line of your check and which project you would like to support (optional). We’ll send a receipt — IOWPA is a 501(c)3 organization and your contribution is tax deductible. Your generosity will help us serve these worthy organizations. Volunteer

We will need several volunteers for both Field Day locations. Please contact Greg Inman if you are interested in volunteering. Field Day volunteers will be able to receive a minimum of 5 CEUs to a maximum of 10 CEUs per year.

6 • Ph: 317-965-1859

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Top 10 Reasons the Effluent Filter Is Plugged By Sara Heger, Ph.D., University of Minnesota


Comments about Effluent Filters from IOWPA Members (on page10)

This article first appeared online at on April 16, 2020, published by COLE Publishing, Three Lakes, Wisconsin. It is reprinted by permission.

If an effluent screen seems to need excessive cleaning, it may be that the homeowner has too many solids or chemicals or too much water going down the drains. Here are common causes of premature clogging to warn homeowners against. 1. Large volumes of wastewater generated in a short period of time can result in turbulence in the septic tank and reduced retention time, which can lead to solids plugging the effluent screen. Leaks and large parties are examples of such uses. 2. Large laundry days. Tell homeowners to not do all the laundry in one day. Spread wash loads throughout the week and wash at times when there is not a lot of water being used in the home. Do not run multiple water-using devices at the same time, such as showering or running the dishwasher while doing the laundry. 3. Reroute water treatment devices such as iron filters and water softeners from the septic system. The discharge water from these devices may add extra solids in the case of iron filters and affect settling in the case of softeners. 4. Garbage disposals and dishwashers with food grinders are notorious for adding solids to a septic tank. Minimize the use of the garbage disposal or eliminate its use altogether by placing food scraps into a compost bin or trash can. Some new dishwashers are even equipped with food grinders that act as garbage disposals. To keep solids out of your system, scrape all dishes well before placing them in the dishwasher. 5. Do not dump fats, oils, and grease down the drain; instead, put them in the garbage. 6. Washing machines can add a significant amount of lint to the septic tank, which can clog effluent filters. Avoid this by placing a simple lint filter on the end of the outlet hose. 7. Do not use the toilet as a trash can. Nothing other than human waste and toilet paper should be flushed. Do not flush tissues, hygiene products, cigarette butts, etc. 8. Reduce the amount of strong cleaning chemicals and antibacterial soaps used in the home. Bleach and other antibacterial products can kill the beneficial bacteria in the septic tank, reducing the rate of solids decomposition and resulting in more solids for the filter to catch. 9. Do not flush unused or expired medications. These products can kill the beneficial bacteria in the septic tank. 10. Do not use products advertised as septic additives or septic cleaners. These products are not necessary and may kill the beneficial bacteria in your septic tank. If none of these is the determined cause, it is a good idea to encourage customers to start eliminating various products around the house and replacing them with more natural solutions to see how the effluent filter responds. About the Author: Sara Heger, Ph.D., is an engineer, researcher, and instructor in the Onsite Sewage Treatment Program in the Water Resources Center at the University of Minnesota. She presents at many local and national training events regarding the design, installation, and management of septic systems and related research. Heger is education chair of the Minnesota Onsite Wastewater Association and the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association, and she serves on the NSF International Committee on Wastewater Treatment Systems. Ask Heger questions about septic system maintenance and operation by sending an email to

8 • Ph: 317-965-1859

Photos courtesy Watermark Engineered Product Sales, Inc.

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Comments about Effluent Filters from IOWPA members Dick Blazer, Blazer Farms I have been installing filters for years — even before they were required in the rule. I think they’re the best thing that’s happened since peanut butter and chocolate got together. They are the best new technology that can be used on a septic system. But making good choices about filters can be hard to do. Even when I’ve made a good choice, things can get difficult if the filter needs to be replaced and the manufacturer has stopped making that particular filter. It can be nearly impossible to retrofit a different filter to the housing that was originally installed and it’s also very difficult to replace the housing once the system is installed. I have told our suppliers that we need to have consistency in those housings — a universal housing — so that as filters come and go, we can still service these systems successfully. Filters have literally saved new systems from homeowners’ misuse and misunderstanding. If the filter is prematurely plugging, there is always something coming out of the house that is affecting the septic tank function. It is not always a pleasant conversation with the homeowner because we have to explain that what is put down the drain inside the home can cause problems with the filter and with the system. We’re helping homeowners understand that the filter isn’t faulty, but that practices in the home are causing the difficulties. We’re not always able to pinpoint the exact problem but it is always something coming from inside the house and into the system. In 80% of residential systems, there are no problems and the system works successfully. But in the 20% of cases where there is a problem, finding and correcting would be a nightmare without a filter and in fact, probably wouldn’t be discovered until the soil absorption field failed. So we can have both feelings about filters — love them or hate them — but it’s clear that they are part of giving homeowners the best system for the long term.

Joel Worden, Watermark Engineered Product Sales, Inc. I believe effluent filters are great things which only offer benefits when properly maintained. Preventing solids from reaching the septic field will only lead to a longer-lasting and more efficient septic system. Sure, cleaning and maintaining a septic filter is not a fun job, but in the long run it can certainly help with homeowner misuse or abuse, prevent costly repairs, and eliminate unwanted debris from reaching the septic field. All of which promote a healthy, long-lasting septic system. With today’s technology it is also easy to add a filter alarm to any new or existing filter. When the filter plugs, an alarm will notify homeowner or service provider that it’s time to clean the filter. 10 • Ph: 317-965-1859


Why ALL Businesses Need Job Descriptions


Renee Wiatt, Purdue Institute for Family Business Whether you have a small business, family business, mid-sized business, or a large corporation, they all need plans. Job descriptions are a crucial asset to creating functional businesses. Job descriptions can help businesses be more productive, make businesses more marketable, and also help that business become an employer of choice. Job descriptions are essential in the hiring process, evaluation process, and the (potential) firing process. Not only do job descriptions make promotion and evaluations easier, they also set expectations for both the owner/manager and the employees of the business. Job descriptions do not have to be complicated and can help to professionalize your business. There are seven main components of a job description: title, job summary, job tasks/ responsibilities/authorities, job qualifications, supervision, working conditions, and salary/ benefits. • Job Title: Short, to-the-point explanation of the position. • Job Summary: A few sentences that explain tasks, skills and licenses, physical nature of the business, and equipment requirements. • Job Tasks/Responsibilities/Authorities: List tasks and sub-tasks that are required by the position. Including percentages of work dedicated to each task/sub-task can help to paint an accurate representation of the position. Begin each task/sub-task with an action verb; group tasks/sub-tasks together. Also note any authorities that this position may have. • Job Qualifications: Qualifications can include technical skills, knowledge on certain topics, abilities, and other traits. Level of skills and ability can also be noted in this section. Physical and technical skills and abilities should all be included (such as weight that person can lift, highest degree, and licensure attained). • Supervision: To whom this individual will report. • Working Conditions: Number of hours expected per week, amount of work inside and outside, machinery/equipment to be used, level of professionalism expected, team or individual work, day or night shift, and if holiday work is required. • Salary/Benefits: For new positions, a range of salary rate or hourly rate may want to be advertised. Employers may want to state “salary or hourly rate negotiable” or “salary or hourly rate can be adjusted per applicant’s qualifications”. For current positions, salary or hourly rate should be included in employee file. Other benefits to be noted in this section include: retirement packages, sick leave, vacation leave, health insurance packages, and other benefits that the employer may choose to include. Do not be intimidated by the thought of drawing up job descriptions for all employees; this may seem like an overwhelming task. Set small goals to have job descriptions along with policies for updating the job descriptions within a given timeframe. Also, do not keep job descriptions stagnant; make a note to update job descriptions annually. It would be logical to have job description updates coincide with annual evaluations. As mentioned before, job descriptions can help clarify roles and expectations between owner/managers and employees. The clarification can help reduce conflict and can improve business functioning. Reference: Dobbins, C., C. Ehmke, and R. Wiatt. 2020. Developing effective job descriptions for small businesses and farms. Purdue Extension Publication EC-728. (updated version pending publication).

12 • Ph: 317-965-1859

The Purdue Institute for Family Business (PIFB) website hosts an entire page of resources and publications dedicated strictly to business planning. Another PIFB page houses resources related to strategic business planning, which includes the following topics: goals and objectives, industry and competition, legal matters, and marketing. If you are interested in building job descriptions for employees and managers of your business, visit the Human Resources section of the PIFB website.

About the Author: Renee Wiatt is Family Business Management Specialist in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Purdue Institute for Family Business (PIFB) at Purdue University. PIFB’s website is full of resources for small and familyowned businesses. We publish a quarterly newsletter focused on topics crucial to succession, leadership, communication, strategic business planning, and estate planning in small and family-owned businesses. PIFB also hosts a question of the month and results are shared with subscribers. In order to subscribe, find resources, and learn more, visit the PIFB website —

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Health Departments Instrumental in COVID-19 Response Alice Quinn, Indiana State Department of Health Both ISDH and local health department on-site staff have been heavily involved in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The public health emergency has changed operations at most businesses, and local and state government are not exempt from those changes. Many health department staff have been working remotely due to the requirements for social distancing and due to buildings being closed to the public. However, just because we have been working remotely, does not mean that we have not been busy. Many local health departments are involved in coordinating distribution of personal protective equipment, coordinating and helping at testing clinics, contact tracing, educating the public, and answering many phone calls. ISDH on-site staff have been helping extensively with COVID-19 drive thru clinics, the ISDH COVID-19 Call Center, and providing transportation for samples collected at long term care facilities by ISDH Strike Teams. ISDH field staff have been trying to keep up with our regular duties but have only been providing assistance to local health departments via phone or email and in person for system failures and imminent public health hazards. However, with the start of build season, we are now able to spend some limited time with local health departments training staff and providing technical assistance. We have gradually been meeting at more sites, while still practicing social distancing. While providing training and technical assistance to our local health departments has been difficult during this pandemic, we are glad that we have been able to contribute to the good of our state and communities. As things progress, we hope to be able to see many of you out in the field and get back to more of our typical activities. Remember, washing your hands frequently is a good thing! Stay safe, be well, and stay home when you are sick.

COVID-19 and IOWPA Businesses Since onsite wastewater services are an essential business IOWPA News wanted to check in on member businesses to see how they are faring. The four companies that responded to our small survey included one manufactures representative and three northern Indiana companies whose services include onsite inspections, installations, maintenance services, excavating, and/ or pumping. How has COVID-19 affected you or your family? Most reported that the coronavirus affected them minimally with the effects being cooking more, having more quality time with family, and missing out on child’s high school graduation. One company reported hearing a customer had a mild case of the coronavirus and recovered. However, one member felt the effect of the pandemic on a much more personal level as they lost their cousin to the virus. The loss brought home the importance of the general public wearing masks and focusing on what they personally could do to keep themselves, their employees, and their customers safe. How has COVID-19 affected your business? All businesses in our survey have found they are busier than usual during the state’s shutdown. While the spring is typically busy due to the wet weather, speculations offered for the uptick include: greater use of septic systems during the stay-at-home order; people may be able to notice a problem more readily while home; or perhaps they are creating more septic system problems with greater use.

Other business affects reported: • One company began offering their clients the ability to pay by phone and emailing the receipt to reduce in-person interactions and discovered the new payment option is very popular. • In addition to their regular use of PPEs, one septic inspection and maintenance company instituted a new procedure to reduce possibly spreading the virus. They now require all work clothes and shoes removed at the shop before returning home. • Another company reported some equipment service being slower due to the increase number of people off work, as well as, having to call in material orders because they couldn’t go into the stores.

Will the slow economy affect your business? If so, how will you cope? Most companies responded they were hopeful and did not expect a slowdown in their businesses. All three septic service providers mentioned that they had weathered ups and downs in the economy before and are prepared to do so again if necessary. Other comments include: • “Our business is diversified so if one segment slows down hopefully other areas remain strong.” • “If the economy does slow down then maybe we will get caught up. It will be good for customers because we can get to their projects faster.” • “If needed, we can cut back on new equipment purchases and look for other ways to reduce costs.”

We sincerely thank the participating companies for taking time to answer our survey. We wish all members good health and safety. Have a great summer!

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