Septic Professionals Information & Guidance

Septic System Info

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 Hiring a Septic Professional

Tips for Having Your Septic Tank Pumped

  • Hire a Septic Company
    • Environmental Health maintains current lists of septic system professionals certified to perform services in Thurston County. Although we strive to keep these lists current, we recommend you check with your contractor to make sure they are still certified.

      • Pumpers -- Can inspect and pump septic tanks, make minor repairs (such as sealing cracks and replacing baffles), pump and dispose of septage.

        Pumper List

      • Designers -- Can evaluate soil suitability and subsequently design an appropriate septic system. NOTE: Designers are licensed by Washington State Department of Licensingnot by Thurston County.
        Designer List

      • Installers -- Can install new systems, make repairs, and modifications; also can replace pumps, septic tanks, pump chambers, and holding tanks.
        Installer List

      • Monitoring Specialists -- Can inspect simple and complex systems, community systems, monitor pre-treatment devices, monitor disinfection units, and perform system sampling.
        Monitoring Specialists List

  • Hire a Pumper
    • Sewage Pumpers can pump tanks and transport the sewage material to an approved treatment facility. Many can also inspect the tanks for cracks and leaks, as well as check the drainfield area and evaluate landscaping and proper drainage. Washington State regulation requires that Septic Pumpers are approved by the local health department. 

      Note: Having your tank(s) pumped is not a substitute for an inspection. In general, a Maintenance Service Provider (or owner, if allowed in your area) should inspect the system and determine if pumping is needed.

      If you are selling your home you will need to have your system inspected and tank(s) pumped by a certified professional see Property Sales web page.

      Tanks need to be pumped when the accumulated scum and sludge equals 1/3 of the tank depth. Most tanks will need to be pumped every 3-5 years but can vary depending on system usage.

      When your septic system is inspected, your septic professional will measure the scum and sludge levels to see if any tanks need to be pumped.

      If your system qualifies, you can take the self-inspector course so you can measure the scum and sludge yourself to see if your tank needs pumping!

      Questions to ask Sewage Pumpers:

      • What are the estimated costs? Does this include health department fees?
      • After pumping the tank(s), will the professional evaluate the integrity of the tank and check for cracks and holes on the inside?
      • Do you charge extra to dig up the lids to the system? What if I do the digging?
      • Do you inspect the whole system?
      • Can you make minor or small repairs if my system needs them? (replace baffle; patch crack in the tank, extract roots from the tank or d-box).

  • Hire a Monitoring Specialist
    • ​Maintenance Service Providers can inspect the whole system, including tanks, pumps, additional treatment devices (such as a sandfilter), and the drainfield. These professionals may be known as Operation and Maintenance (or O&M) Specialist, Inspectors, or Monitoring Specialists. Your local Health Department may or may not require your septic system to be inspected by a monitoring specialist.

      Questions to ask Maintenance Service Providers:

      • What are the estimated costs? Does this include health department fees?
      • What will the inspection include and not include? (Examples: checking tanks and drainfield, cleaning filters, checking for leaks)
      • Do you charge extra to dig up the lids to the system? What if I do the digging?
      • Do you know how to service my type of system? (Examples: pumps, pressure distribution, sand filter, specific proprietary components)

  • Hire a Designer or Engineer
    • Licensed Designers and Professional Engineers can design systems for new installations, alterations, and repairs. Many also evaluate system problems, and perform inspections and maintenance. Designers and Professional Engineers are licensed through the Washington State Department of Licensing.

      Questions to ask Designers and Engineers:

      • What are the estimated costs for your project?
      • What's included and not included? (Examples: site evaluation, design package, pressure test, as-built package, health department fees)
      • Do you charge extra for inspections, extra visits, or the homeowner’s manual?

  • Hire a Installer
    • ​Installers can install new systems, alter or expand existing systems, and repair failed systems. Some may also inspect and perform maintenance on systems. Washington State regulation requires that Installers are approved by the local health department.

      Questions to ask Installers:

      • What are the estimated costs?
      • What's included and not included? (Examples: full installation, backfill, electrical work, health department fees)
      • Do you contact the local health department or do I need to?
      • Do you warranty your work? For how long? Ask them to explain their warranty.
      • Do you charge extra for any services?        

  • File a Complaint

      Thurston County does not regulate the business practices of certified contractors.

      Get several estimates, check references, and be clear what services are being requested before hiring a contractor.

      Pumping and Inspection Guide

      Pumping Questions, Concerns, or Complaints
      email Vladimir Nekrutenko

      Installer Questions, Concerns, or Complaints
      email Brad Sangston

​Contact Us

Environmental Health
The Atrium
3000 Pacific Ave SE
Olympia WA 98501-8809

Open Monday through Friday
8:00 am - 4:00 pm

General Questions

Operation & Maintenance

Septic Help Line
(leave a message)

Failing System

Loan Program - Craft 3
(failing systems only)

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Social Media that has directed you to this web page, has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under  assistance agreement PC-01J18001 to the Washington State Department of Health. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Environmental Protection Agency, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.