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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Art Starry, Environmental Health Division Director, (360) 867-2587 or starrya@co.thurston.wa.us

Board of Health Sets Public Hearing on Ordinance Repealing Septic Fee
Board of Health to hear public comment on repealing Ordinance No H-3-2016

OLYMPIA - The Thurston County Board of Health has scheduled a public hearing to consider an ordinance to repeal Ordinance No. H-3-2016, which imposes a fee for on-site sewage systems. The hearing is scheduled for April 11, 2017 at 5:30 at the Thurston County Courthouse, Building 1, room 280. The Board will consider an ordinance to repeal Ordinance No H-3-2016, which imposes a fee for on-site sewage systems.

What: Public Hearing on repeal of Ordinance No H-3-2016 (Septic Fees)
When: Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Where: Thurston County Courthouse, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia WA, Building 1, room 280

State law requires Thurston County to implement a plan for the development and management of on-site sewage systems in Thurston County. In fall of 2016, the Thurston County Board of Health approved a resolution adopting the plan, called the Thurston County On-Site Sewage System Management Plan Update. The Board of Health is also authorized to impose and collect reasonable rates and charges to implement the plan. An ordinance adopted in December 2016, established an annual base charge of $10 for each septic system to be paid through property taxes. It also determined that residents in the Henderson Inlet and Nisqually Reach areas who are already paying shellfish district fees should be exempt. Other fees that are part of the Sanitary Code were left alone.
"Well-maintained septic systems are important for public health," said Art Starry, Director of Thurston County Environmental Health. "If they aren't maintained, they can impact the owners, but also the larger community. We want to make sure Thurston County's wells and groundwater stay healthy, and that our shorelines are safe for recreation, and for our Northwest shellfish businesses, but there are differing views on the best ways to accomplish those goals. The charge was originally adopted as one resource to help us do that."

Thurston County offers guidance on how to maintain septic systems, as well access to financial assistance.

On April 11, the Thurston County Board of Health will consider an ordinance to repeal the $10 annual charge and the associated changes to the Thurston County Sanitary Code.

Public testimony will be accepted at the April 11, hearing. The public may submit written comments in lieu of testimony at the hearing. Written comments can be emailed to Art Starry, Environmental Health Division Director, starrya@co.thurston.wa.us, hand delivered, or mailed to:
Thurston Board of Health Attn: Art Starry 412 Lilly Road Olympia, WA 98506

The deadline for written comments is 5:00 p.m. Monday, April 10, 2017. The Board of Health may choose to approve the draft ordinance at the end of the April 11, public hearing, or they may request that staff make changes to the proposal following the public hearing.


County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3