Onsite Sewage Systems

Updated Through April 29, 2019


The State Board of Health is in the process of considering changes to the State Onsite Sewage Systems Regulations, WAC 246-272A. This process provides the opportunity for public participation as either direct participants or interested individuals. CR-101 filing . The following overview was provided July 3, 2018, by the State Department of Health (DOH) — In January 2018, the State Board of Health directed the department to begin the process of revising the On-site Sewage System Rule, Chapter 246-272A WAC. The department has convened a diverse stakeholder workgroup to develop recommendations for revisions. The workgroup met on June 25, 2018, in Kent for the process kickoff meeting. At the meeting, the workgroup approved a charter to guide and govern their work and reviewed issues to consider for revision. The department provided presentations reviewing the history of on-site sewage system regulations in Washington, the charter and process timeline, and the division of work among subcommittees.  The DOH’s January 24, 2019, overview provided this further information: Following the initial meeting, the subcommittees and the full workgroup have met multiple times and developed recommendations on several issues. These issues have included Horizontal Separations, Waivers, Service Provider Licensing, Inspections, the Technical Advisory Group, the Policy Advisory Group, and the definitions of On-site Sewage System, Repair, Expansion, Adjacent To Marine Installations, Residential Sewage, Black Water, Floodway, Floodplain, Daily Use, Grease Trap, Low Flow Waste, Surface Water, Drainage Areas, Prohibited Waste Types, and Failure. The full workgroup met most recently on December 13th and January 10th to review the work and recommendations of the subcommittees, and to develop recommendations to the department regarding Local Management Plans. Materials related to these, or any of the other, workgroup meetings, including the agendas, meeting notes, and issue papers related to the issues considered for revision, as well as materials related to the overall process, can be accessed on the department’s On-site Rule Revision webpage. The materials from the meetings are available on the department’s on-site rule revision webpage, which may be accessed here:  State DOH Onsite Rule Revision .  The DOH will solicit input and comments from interested parties and stakeholders beyond the workgroup members, and provide routine updates, via this email list and the department’s on-site rule revision webpage.  For more information regarding this rule revision contact Mike Dexel, Rule Project Manager, or Jeremy Simmons, Wastewater Program Manager.

The Seattle-King County Public Health Department oversees and regulates onsite sewage systems (OSS) in King County up to 3,500 gpd (approx 10 homes), including the City of Seattle and other municipalities. SKCPH OSS Program Website . In 2016 the Seattle-King County Public Health Department’s Environmental Health Services Division commenced a review of its 2007 Onsite Sewage System Management Plan with an eye to developing sustainable financial measures for its program, together with updating and improving the overall management plan affecting roughly 85,000 OSS in King County.  A workgroup was established to review and provide input to the Plan update. The details regarding and results of this review and update of the OSS Management Plan may be viewed here, including downloading a copy of the Revised Draft OSS Management Plan (September 2016): 2016 OSS Plan Update Website .

The 2019 Legislature Passed SB 5503 that prioritizes failed system repair over replacement.  Governor Inslee signed this Bill on April 17, 2019, but with a partial veto —> vetoed Section 3 re access easements; Chapter 50, Laws of 2019 becomes effective July 28, 2019.  CAPR (Citizens’ Alliance For Property Rights) has produced and published on YouTube ™ a video presentation of onsite sewage systems, how they function, and their environmental impact (or lack thereof).  With the express written permission of CAPR (by and through its Secretary, Jeff Wright) given to the GMVUAC on January 16, 2018, you may view CAPR’s production at the following website: The Truth About Septic Systems .  Please visit our Citizen Surveys webpage to view the results of our 2017 Survey, and especially the responses to our questions regarding sewage systems.  See Questions 29 – 33.


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