Frequently Asked Questions
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Is a building permit required in Marion County?
A building permit is required for any permanent structure built in Marion County. There is no charge for agriculture
What permits and inspections are required by Marion County when building?
A septic permit and inspection will be done by the Marion County Environmental Health Department. Building
permits are issued by the Zoning department. Marion County does not do building inspections. At the time a building
permit is submitted the zoning staff will cover the setback and zoning regulations required by Marion County. In
most cases when a principle building is built, Marion County may observe the setback stakes before construction
begins to make sure the setbacks have been applied for the correct zoning. The State of Iowa requires electrical
permits and will do electrical inspections.
Is Marion County a zoned county?
Yes, Marion County has been a zoned county since 1971. Before you change the use of your building or land it is
advised to contact the zoning office and make sure it conforms to the Marion County Zoning Ordinance.
Zoning classification and tax classification are two separate classifications. These two classification systems have
different definitions, operate under different rules, and are administered by different offices. Before making a change
in use of your land or building it is advisable to also contact the Assessor’s office.
I want to divide my land, what do I need to do?
Contact the Marion County Zoning office to see what will be required in your area. Marion County does have a
subdivision ordinance. All land divisions must be approved by Marion County. Depending on the location of
the property City land division regulations may apply.
How do I get a septic permit?
Contact the Environmental Health office to set up a meeting at your site. It is recommended that you also select a
septic contractor and have them out at the site as well. Next, EH staff will determine what type of system needs to be
installed and if a percolation/soil test is required. Finally, the property owner will pull a septic permit from the EH
office and septic installation may begin.
I have a mechanical septic system; do I have to have a certified contractor maintenance agreement?
Yes, a maintenance contract is required for the life of the system. All monitoring and servicing shall be
performed by a manufacturer’s certified technician. Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that an adequate
number of certified technicians are available to service all aerobic treatment units at the specified intervals.
Aerobic treatment units shall be inspected for proper operation at least twice a year at six-month intervals by the
I am selling my home, what do I need to do with my septic system?
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 new law requires that every home/building served by a septic system have that septic
system inspected prior to the sale or deed transfer for the home/building. The purpose of the law is to eliminate sub-
standard or polluting septic systems. All inspections must be conducted by an inspector that has been certified by the
department. It is better to have the time of transfer inspection completed sooner, rather than later, lessening the risk of holding up the sale closing.