Deadline nears on septics - Clallam groups will discuss state rules
By Jim Casey
Peninsula Daily News
March 5, 2007
Port Angeles---Citizens and scientists will meet March 12 to continue grappling with new state septic system regulations for which they as yet have no funds.
The On Site Septic---or OSS---Work Group has until July 1 to draft a plan by which Clallam County will identify unknown septic systems, meet new inspection rules for existing systems, and designate shoreline areas that are threatened by septic systems.
It would cost about $200,000 a year to meet the “easy” parts of the requirements, according to Susan Gulick of Sound Resolutions, the Seattle-based consultant who is helping to produce the plan.
However, “it would be nearly impossible,” she said, for the county to find all unknown septic systems in marine areas by the state’s deadline of 2012 without much more money.
The March 12 meeting will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the commissioners’ hearing room (160) of the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles.
Residents and business owners who rely on septic systems are encouraged to attend.
The state says it will provide funds to implement the plan---but hasn’t said how much it will pay, when the funds will start to flow or how long they will last.
If the county is left to its own resources to meet the new requirements, it could add a surcharge to property taxes on parcels that have septic systems, charge permit fees, according to Gulick.
Those options though, wouldn’t cover costs for people who can’t afford to pay them.
Clallam County has records on about 13,000 on-site septic systems that it has recorded since 1988, but it estimates that about 7,000 systems are unrecorded.
For now the work group is recommending that owners who have graduated from county-approved classes should inspect their systems every three years if they have gravity systems.
Professionals must check the systems every six years.
Owners of systems that use pumps should have professional inspections every other year, alternating with inspections the owners conduct themselves.
Meanwhile, Clallam County continues a program under a Targeted Watershed Initiative Grant, or TWIG, in the Sequim-Dungeness area.
Septic: Concern for some
The program finds, “septics of concern” that may be unrecorded, are more than 10 years old or have a history of problems or repairs that have no follow-up inspections.
As of January, county Environmental Health Division personnel have inspected 149 sites and found eight that were discharging sewage into a ditch or creek that drains into Dungeness Bay.
In addition, 38 failing systems have been repaired under the TWIG project.
The county also has educated more than 1,500 homeowners in its free, “Septic 101” classes it has held throughout the county.
More information about the OSS group can be found by visiting www.clallam.net/html.septic.htm or calling Clallam County Environmental Health Services at 360-417-2543.
from KONP News
County hopes for state help on new septic rules
March 6th, 2007 - 7:25am
(Port Angeles) -- Clallam County, and its residents withof the septic systems, may have to pony up money to inspect all septic systems in the area. Its part of new state rules that would require annual inspections of septic systems. The county would also have to find all systems and document them. Clallam County Commissioner Mike Chapman said he hopes the state will come up with money to help the county pay for the new regulations. There is a deadline of July First for the county to draft a plan which will identify unknown septic systems, meet new inspection rules for exixting systems, and designate shoreline areas that are threatened by such systems. Right now, local septic designers and installers are working with county staff to develop those local rules. Chapman says the basic cost for a septic system inspection can run up to $300-dollars, but for most systems, it might be closer to a hundred dollars, as a professional can usually tell easily if that system is working properly.