Operation & Monitoring (O&M)

We all recognize the need to protect valuable surface waters, diminishing ground water supplies and share the desire to prevent costly premature failures of on-site sewage systems. Jefferson County has had a monitoring program since 1987.

Resources


History of Septic System Monitoring in Jefferson County


  • 1987 to 2000 only "alternative" systems (other than "conventional" gravity fed) required a monitoring agreement.
  • 1995 Washington State Code was revised to require monitoring of all on-site sewage systems.
  • 2000 Jefferson County adopted revisions to our local code to comply with the 1995 State requirement.
  • 2007 The State Board of Health adopted revisions to the on-site sewage code. This revision requires that an owner of a "conventional" gravity system without a pump must have it properly inspected at least once every three years. All systems that include a pump must be inspected every year.
  • 2012 Jefferson County Board of Health relaxed regulations to allow authorized homeowners to complete most required septic system monitoring inspections. A goal of the program is to provide information about septic system operations, maintenance and inspections as well as making it easier to complete the monitoring inspections at a more reasonable cost.

Monitoring & Maintenance


If a system is not monitored and maintained properly, the chances of pre-mature failure increases. The costs involved with repairing a modern day on-site sewage system can run into the thousands of dollars very quickly. System failure could be to a point beyond repair resulting in the need for a new on-site sewage system to be installed.

Requirements


Currently Jefferson County Code requires that periodic inspections be completed by a Certified Operations and Monitoring Specialist or a Licensed Designer.

See Jefferson County Code, 8.15.150 Operation, Maintenance and Monitoring (PDF).

2012 Septic System Monitoring Work Group


Jefferson County Public Health hosted a series of public work group meetings to develop recommended revisions to the existing septic system monitoring program. The recommendations include 2 major improvements to the existing program:
  • They provide septic system operation and maintenance education for any interested person at no additional cost.
  • They enable homeowners, who complete training courses and receive authorization to conduct some of the required monitoring inspections instead of requiring a Certified Operation and Monitoring Specialist or Licensed Designer for all inspections.
The work group meetings were open to the public and a comment period was available at each meeting.