Join Thurston County Public Health at one of our upcoming Septic Plan Open Houses to learn about and give input on proposed changes to the septic management plan. Meetings are: Saturday, December 5 from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. at Thurston County’s Public Health Building, 412 Lilly Rd., NE in Olympia or on Wednesday December 9 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at Rainier Sportsman’s Club, 404 Alaska St. in Rainier.
The plan recommendations were developed unanimously by an advisory committee who met for eight months to learn about local septic management issues and make recommendations that protect Thurston County’s public health and our drinking water, now and for the future. The committee felt that their recommendations satisfy requirements of state law, meet the needs of Thurston County citizens, make sense, are reasonable, and meet public health goals.
- Septic system maintenance and operation is the responsibility of the owner.
- Problems with septic maintenance and operation, especially failing systems, affect people and resources beyond the owner and their property.
- Therefore, the county health department has responsibility to be sure there is a system to find and repair failing septic systems and ensure all septic systems are routinely inspected, function properly and are repaired as needed.
- The updated plan addresses concerns the committee had about the current system:
- Current system tends to punish the responsible and lets the irresponsible or uninformed slide.
- Current system has unequal and unreliable access to education and other services.
The committee recommended that Thurston County Environmental Health create a funding strategy that is stable, self-sustaining, and adequate to fund a septic operation and maintenance program. It should be equitable and have ways to help low-income owners. Currently the septic operation and maintenance program relies on charges to shellfish protection district properties and fees for operational permits, time of transfer reports, and pump and inspection reports. The committee recommends a single charge to all septic system owners to replace those existing fees and charges. The proposed charge would be reduced 50 percent for those in the senior/disabled tax exemption program and be collected via the property tax statement. There are two proposals for how to structure the charges. One is a flat fee of $45 to all septic system owners. The other is a tiered fee ranging from $22-$66, depending on the location of the septic system and documented water quality problems in the area.
For more information about the septic management proposal and funding strategies, read the plan at: http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/ehomp
If you are have general septic questions, please call the Septic Help Line at (360 )867-2669. For questions or comments about the proposed septic management plan updates, call (360) 867-2643 or e-mail email@example.com.