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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Public Invited to Comment on a Proposed Septic System Program for Henderson Watershed Protection Area

​OLYMPIA – The Thurston County Board of Health will hear public comment about a proposed septic system Operations and Maintenance program at a special meeting the evening of September 27th.  The program, which would affect a portion the Henderson Inlet watershed, is part of a larger effort to recover water quality in the inlet for protection of the public health and welfare.  An addition goal is the reopening of some shellfish harvesting areas that have been closed due to pollution. 

Thurston County Environmental Health Division Director Art Starry says the proposal is aimed at eliminating one source of pollution in the inlet.  "Studies have shown that some of the pollution comes from what we call nonpoint sources; that is unknown points of origin.  But the work has also demonstrated that a significant source is human waste from failing septic systems.  As part of rectifying that known pollution problem, the citizens advisory committee working on this issue is recommending an operations and maintenance program (O and M) for septic systems in this part of the Henderson watershed."  The purpose of the program is to ensure that systems are being properly maintained to prevent premature failures, and to regularly evaluate those systems at highest risk of contaminating surface water so that problems can be promptly identified and corrected.

The proposed O and M program would require all septic systems within the program area to have renewable operational certificates; these certificates would need to be kept current; and renewal of certificates would include routine system evaluations.  The program would divide septic systems into "low" and "high" risk categories, depending on various factors such as soil type and proximity to surface water.

 Both low-risk and high-risk systems within the watershed would be required to have current operational certificates, but the frequency and type of inspections would differ.                        

More than 400 citizens attended the two open houses held November 18th 2004 and July 7th 2005 to learn about the program, ask questions, and suggest changes. The Advisory Committee, which drafted the proposal, responded to public comment by revising the initial proposal.  The program area now excludes the Henderson Watershed area south of the Long Lake outlet.

Those who cannot attend the special meeting can send written comment to the Thurston County Board of Health. To find out more about the septic plan, visit the Thurston County Web Site at http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/shellfish/ where an e-mail message can be sent if desired. They can also call 360-754-411 for additional information.               

 A Thurston County Board of Health Special Meeting to hear public comment on the proposed Septic System Operation & Maintenance Program for Henderson Watershed Protection Area will be held from 6:30 to 9:00 the evening of Tuesday, September 27th.  It will take place in the Expo Center at the Thurston County Fairgrounds, 3054 Carpenter Road SE , Lacey.

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3