Community Meetings for Proposed Septic System Fees, Monitoring Draws Hundreds; Fall City location Changed

According to King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert, a series of community meetings to discuss a Septic System proposal from the Board of Health (BOH) that would require registration, an annual fee and regular inspection of septic tanks (to ensure they are not failing) have been so well-attended that the location of the Fall City meeting has been changed to a larger venue.

The Fall City meeting, scheduled on Tuesday, June 28th will now be held at Snoqualmie Valley Alliance Church,  36017 SE Fish Hatchery Road.  The meeting starts at 6:30PM.

The Maple Valley meeting on June 21st drew over 500 concerned residents and required the meeting be moved from a high school library to the gymnasium.

Lambert stated via community email that in addition to the meetings being well-attended, the septic system proposal is also drawing numerous emails from concerned residents.

Seattle and King County BOH is proposing that a system be set up to register each septic system, inspect it on a regular basis and add a yearly fee to tax bills of homes with septic systems. State law says septic systems must be inspected, but according to Lambert only 2% of septic owners in King County are in compliance.

The community septic system meeting is also a chance for residents to learn more about the state law that the is the driving force behind the need for the BOH septic proposal.

Lambert said the law, as well as the WAC (Washington Administrative Code), needs updating and re-evalution. Via email she stated, “We have the opportunity to change the tone to what should the law and Board code look like so that our water continues to always be  safe and deal with any specific problems.”

The Environmental Health Services Division (EHS) of Public Health said it currently doesn’t have the capacity to perform septic system inspections or proactively address problems before systems fail – and an unknown number of failing systems in King County contribute to surface and groundwater pollution of local waterways.

EHS said collaboration is needed to develop a “list of all systems, update Public Health’s King County Septic System Management Plan, and pursue sustainable funding for the implementation of the OSS (septic system) oversight plan.”

BOH would like the septic system proposal in place by July. Septic system inspections are required by state law, but currently the state lacks a sustainable funding source for the work. The proposed annual fee would be added to the property tax bill of property owners with septic systems.

Again, the Fall City Town Hall meeting happens Tuesday, June 28th at 6:30PM at Snoqualmie Valley Alliance Church in Fall City.



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  • There is already a septic tank inspection regulation in place today. Every time a septic tank is pumped (every 2 years or so) the septic tank is inspected and a report is sent to the county. We do not need more taxes and regulations.

    The pollution of Puget sound is driving this and the regulations are being made by individuals who are not on septic systems.

    The success of the new monitoring system will be be measured by how many systems they find that are not in compliance rather than looking at the current water quality numbers as a benchmark and looking yearly to see if the program is having a positive influence on the water quality.

    Currently the thinking is that those near waterways will be charged a greater fee than those farther away. This does not take into consideration the number of people the system is serving. A single person likely will not tax a septic system as much as home with eight individuals. I also am not sure a geologist would agree that proximity to a waterway is necessarily the only factor to the sewage pollution. There is a lot of development above aquifers that may discharge into larger watersheds just as readily.

    Something must be done to protect our Puget Sound but I am reluctant to endorse the government instituting a new division to monitor our wastewater. My reluctance stems from a concern that the inspection fees and number of enforcers will start small and quickly increase until having a septic system is an unbearable burden for the homeowner.

    If there has to be a fee structure, I would like to see it based on the number of individuals using the system rather than geographic location. Especially on systems that already meet the current code.

    Finally, this is just the beginning of addressing the Puget Sound Pollution problem, we will likely see the use of domestic fertilizers, pesticides, weed control, also farming and other occupations all come under the jurisdiction of King County board of Health as they seek ways to address the problem.

  • They dropped the current proposal. But they’ll be back seeking fees for something. This isn’t about health, it’s about money and building publicly funded empires filled with paper shuffling, box checking drones.

    1. If it’s like what is allowed in the Snoqualmie River – it has to be treated first to very strict specifications before it’s allowed into the river.

  • Living Snoqualmie