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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Art Starry, Environmental Health Division Director, 360-786-5456
Linda Hofstad, Environmental Health Specialist, 360-754-4111

Public Encouraged to Attend Septic System Practices Open House

OLYMPIA – A proposed septic system Operations and Maintenance plan will be the focus of a special open house to be held the evening of November 18th.  The plan, which would affect the Henderson Inlet watershed, is part of a larger effort to recover water quality in the inlet and reopen 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 non-point 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 (Oand M) for septic systems in 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 O and M program would be divided into "low" and "high" risk systems, depending on various factors.  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.

Environmental Health Specialist Linda Hofstad says it's important for county residents to speak out on this proposal and about the overall Henderson Inlet water quality program.  "We are especially interested in hearing from those who live in the 45.7 square mile watershed area.  They would be directly affected by the proposal so it's important that they attend the open house if they can, or otherwise give us their opinion."

Those who cannot attend the open house can find out more about the septic plan by visiting the Thurston County Web Site at http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/shellfish/ where they can also leave an e-mail message if they desire.  They can also call 360-754-4111 for additional information.  Residents of the watershed were also recently mailed an informational brochure on the subject.

The Henderson Inlet Septic Proposal Open House will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 the evening of Thursday, November 18th.  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