County Proposing New System, Fees to Monitor Homes with Septic Systems; Fall City Meeting is Chance to Learn More

If your home has a septic system, there are some important informational meetings coming up over the next week to address a new proposal from the King County Board of Health that would require registration, an annual fee and regular inspection of septic tanks to make sure they are not leaking. The inspections that are required by state law, but currently the state lacks a sustainable funding source for the work.

As the BOH proposal is considered, a series of public meetings will be held to get feedback from local residents. King County Council Member Kathy Lambert will be attending the Woodinville and Fall City meetings and State Representative Chad Magendanz be attending the Maple Valley meeting.

The meetings are a great chance to learn more about the proposals and offer public comment. (Dates and times below)

According to an email from Lambert, Seattle and King County 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 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.”

The upcoming meeting dates and locations are:




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  • This pisses me off. Just another way for the county to bend us over and have us pay more $$$$$.

    1. I’m with you. Exactly what they want to do. Going to meeting in Fall City. Hope they are ready for my rath.

  • More regulation is always the answer. They’ll be regulating your private wells next too. Gotta think of the children and general public safety, give them all of your money and they’ll keep you safe from yourself.

    1. Erik, they are already talking about putting meters on private wells to charge for the water you use.

      1. Of course they are, we’re chattel, more tightly owned and controlled than serfs at Europe’s worst.

    2. Regarding the well water – at this point, if you don’t have a septic & well in place and you want to develop a property in King County – if the well comes up with more than 10 ppb arsenic, a pretty low level, the County says you can’t build with that water source. We have technology and techniques to filter the water, but the County won’t allow it. So, the only option is to drill a deeper well or build a rain water collection system.
      According to the sanitarians at the Health District, their problem is they have only 3 people to review all new septic systems, new well sites, and any complaints regarding water/waste water, and the County Council will not allow them more money for new hires.

  • Agenda 21, they don’t want you living out beyond the boundaries of their control. Government wants everyone in a pack-em and stack-em unit in the city, where it’s easier to monitor your every move. They’ll make it miserable for those who resist.

  • This is infuriating! We already pay exorbitant property taxes. King county will come up with anything to squeeze more money out of us. We can no longer afford to live here. Pretty soon they will put meters on your toilets and you will get charged for everytime you flush!

  • So totally agree with all above comments!! King County is taxing citizens out of their homes as it is!!! This is totally ridiculous!!!! How much of a say do we as citizens have anymore????6 nz????

  • I see the word “leaking” used a lot. Last time I checked that was how septic systems worked. “Surfacing” is an indication of a failing system, but effluent entering waterways via underground infiltration is a result of overpopulation and the siting of homes in sensitive areas. Even Hillbilly 101 classes teach that you don’t put your outhouse uphill from your well, but obviously the county has allowed that in the past rather than deny permitting and foregoing the tax revenue. So what exactly are they up to now? ? Is it really all about taxation and regulation, or more about the correction of past permitting mistakes that will ultimately result in the condemnation of properties that can’t possibly comply because of their location?

  • I suggest that we all bring our outrage and our well-thought out, rational, points to the June 28th meeting in Fall City. If we don’t speak up in these public meetings, these things get pushed through the process and we end up with more fees. I for one plan on attending, I hope to see you all there as well.

  • I’ll be there. Not that it will do any good. My experience is that they’ve already decided what they’re going to do, this is just one of the boxes they have to check.

  • GO TO THESE MEETINGS PEOPLE! There was an angry mob of over 500 people in Maple Valley tonight. They had to move the crowd from the tiny school library to the gym. Public Health sent one of their rudest lackeys to the meeting and she was boo’d out of the place.

  • There are numerous motives for this; and not just the most obvious taxation one. If you are in the Woodinville/ Duvall/ Redmond/ Fall City areas and are on septic ; think back about 10 years ago when the County was supposedly researching where to place the Brightwater Treatment Facility. Now where is it? What funds it? In other words; don’t become too emotionally attached to your septic system as you will be required to hook up to sewer when it hits your street/area.

    1. so sad i live in in unincorporated king county and can’t even vote on council members in issaquah..but i bear all of their bad judgements..aka issaquah hobart many people have to die..dont even talk to me about my septic..wherre were they when i had to pay to have it installed..pumped etc etc

  • So, at an annual fee of $23 to the approximate 85,000 septic systems in King County…not including higher fees for waterfront homesites and businesses — or the inevitable fines for the slippery-slope of whatever is deemed “non-compliant”…that will bring about $1,955,000 into the coffers of the never-ending, revenue-based bureaucracy we have ELECTED to represent us.

    We each need to do some serious research on exactly what “priorities” these folks spend YOUR money to finance. Take a good look at how they use our property taxes…and more importantly what they DON’T do with that money. Has anyone else ever wondered why we have so many bond proposals for things other places seem to finance through regular tax budgets? Or how those services are mysteriously funded after a bond election fails? Hmmmm….

    Stop being pissed-off…but continuing to vote for the same ridiculous, liberal, regulatory nonsense. Please look at the proposed rules on this matter: minutes from the BOH briefing (number 16-B12) at (dated June 16). The regulations have great potential to be arbitrarily enforced and the fees are outrageous.

    Libertarians are looking better and better to me every day!!

  • It’s a user fee, people, to pay for inspections instead of taking it out of property taxes. The reasoning is that if you don’t have septic, you don’t pay for those who do. Let’s be real, if you were on a sewer with all those costs and they bumped up your property taxes to pay for septic inspections, you’d be seriously pissed off about that. If you don’t think the county should be inspecting septic systems, what do you think should be done? Do you really trust people to willingly spend their own money to make sure their sh** isn’t spreading out directly from their tank? It’s called Public Health for a reason, and nothing is free.

    1. However, I’m sure the property taxes paid by those of us who are on septic systems fund building, inspection and upkeep of sewage systems. If sewage was available to me, I would be more than happy to connect and not have the financial responsibility of keeping my system working properly.

      My concern is not $23 per year…but my WORRY is the very real possibility of arbitrary enforcement of these proposed regulations. It’s very difficult (and economically questionable) to trust the intentions of revenue-based policies controlled by politically-appointed bureaucrats.

    2. What exactly is it I’m using I need to pay a user fee for? I paid inspection fees when the property was built and everyone pays for septic tank inspection when the property is sold. Have you ever had a septic tank? Have you ever had one that backed up into the house or overflowed into the yard? If it happened to you you would know you would not only spend your own money you would borrow money to get it fixed. The question then is not how much does it cost but how fast can you get here? Yes, I know people will pay to get it fixed. Since you seem to like inspections what other inspections would you like to see done by the city/county/ state/federal beauracrcy? Toilet bowl leakage, lights left on in the house, heater set to high, feeding your kids too much sugar? The county’s real purpose in this is additional funds, they want your money and that’s the whole thing. There really is no end to the things they could inspect and charge a fee for. It’s not what needs to be done, its how much do they need. Untill people get fed up with it, they should just expect to pay more and more. In answer to your question I trust people infinitely more to wipe thier ass than calling a county health department, sitting on hold, hearing the high call volume announcement and thier sincere apology for the delay.

  • If anybody comes onto MY property that I paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for (and continue to pay thousands per year in property taxes), that is posted “No Trespassing” I don’t care who they are, I hope they have a longing for rock salt embedded in their butt.

  • You people in the King county area voted these tax leaches in office. Get ready to pay more with the Socialist in office to take your property from you.

    Good luck to all

  • Good God, it’s only $300 a year. If it truly protects waterways and drinking water, go for it. It’s certainly not worth all the anger and vitriol, even threatening to shoot county employees (lol), that is expressed here.

    1. It’s not that simple…read the proposal.

      Like any measure of this nature, it’s the regulatory control which can be placed upon home owners…and of course, the very real probability of mishandling that control. Anyone who has ever dealt with the permitting nightmare of King county will likely attest to how they already mishandle the regulations which are supposed to be “for your own good”.

      This is far less about protecting water/land and much more about collecting money. It just seems we might be better-off to stop drinking the Kool-Aid and understand that these financially structured regulations are not designed to help us…regardless of how they are presented. Follow the money and see who will actually benefit from this or any other fee-based regulation…

      Chances are there will be lots of hands in the till.

  • The people doing the inspections are rumored to not have a clue about what they are looking at or doing. It is said they look at the ground and pretty much walk away and you write the checks. And that came from someone in the business.

  • This frustrates me as I continue to see our municipalities completely focused on revenue generation in exchange for no added value. More regulation will have little to no effect on the impact of failing septic systems. Basically, we would be paying some guy to stand there and say “Hey, your septic tank is broke!” Really? And how much would this incredibly valuable service cost us home owners? I view this as another way for the county to generate revenue and employ people without providing value. This is just stupid!

    1. I’m not sure how they’d charge for the inspection to tell you your system is broken, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be out of the goodness of their hearts! However, according to the proposal, it would cost you nearly $700 for the PERMIT to get it repaired.

      So, would anyone be surprised if they’d take that to the illogical interpretation of adding that permit fee to all septic repairs? It certainly would not encourage home owners to maintain their systems, but would be a good way to squeeze more cash out of us.

  • This does seem rather contrived and a bit of a witch hunt as well. The money is not the issue, it is the government’s continuing to creep into the lives of law abiding citizens. This may be the land of the free but it is also the home of the increasingly taxed and the overly regulated.

  • I understand the Fall City meeting has been changed to the following location but still at the same time tomorrow:
    6:30 PM – June 28th 2016
    Snoqualmie Valley Alliance Church
    36017 SE Fish Hatchery Rd.
    Fall City 98024
    Please come and represent your interest in resisting this useless legislation.

  • Living Snoqualmie