Thurston County regulations require an Operational Certificate, issued by Thurston County
Health Department, for certain types of septic (on-site sewage) systems. The goal of the Operational Certificate is
to assure that septic systems are properly operated and maintained. Properly monitored and maintained systems have
longer operating lives and less impact on our water resources. The Certificate lists the required conditions for
monitoring and maintaining your sewage system (check your Certificate for specific requirements that apply to your system).
What Do I Need to Renew the Certificate?
Prior to your renewal date, you will receive a Septic System Operational Certificate Renewal packet, which includes:
- Renewal inspection form
- Renewal fee invoice
- Coupon for pumping
- Consumer tips guide
Septic System Inspection
Your septic system must be inspected by a
certified septic system
professional. For additional information go
to Septic System
Professionals or contact our office at
(360) 867-2626 The inspection should include
- Inspect the septic tank and have it pumped or repaired, as necessary. If
the scum and/or sludge levels indicate, the tank should be pumped (see
Septic Inspection & Pumping Guide [PDF]).
NOTE: If you are unsure of where your septic tank or drainfield is located, see Locate Your Drainfield.
- Inspect the drainfield area. Look for signs of failure, note any wet spots, seeps (algae and drainage on banks or slopes), or areas where water is surfacing.
- Inspect other system components — such as pump, distribution box, and monitoring ports. Look for indications
that the pump system is malfunctioning, such as sewage backing up in the house, high liquid levels in the septic tank, or surfacing sewage over/near the pump chamber.
What does a septic system operational certificate look like?
Follow the links below to view sample operational certificates
for a gravity system, a mound system, an Glendon system, or a sand filter system. Most important are the maintenance requirements listed on page(s) 2 - 3. Page 1 includes the
legal site and owner information, a renewal and an
expiration date, as well as pertinent system information. On the last page of the certificates is a list of
Best Practices for septic system owners.
Property Owners who wish to inspect their own septic
system must apply and demonstrate qualifications to
inspect their system. Only gravity, pressure
distribution, mound and Glendon septic systems qualify
for owner-inspection certification. Septic systems
that have a sand filter, aerobic treatment unit or
require a contract with a Monitoring Specialist do
not qualify for
owner-inspection certification. Please read the following
documents thoroughly before applying.
- Policy for Owner
Certification to Self-Inspect On-site Sewage
for Septic System Owner-Inspector Certification. [PDF]
(This is a fill-in document
which can be saved with Adobe Reader 8 or newer
What If I Don't Renew My Certificate?
If you fail to renew your Certificate, your sewage system will be classified as non-conforming. This means other
permit approvals can be withheld until the Certificate is renewed.
The certification renewal process for non-conforming systems requires an inspection of the system by an employee
of Environmental Health after additional fees are paid.
Please complete the
Operational Certificate Field Inspection form
to initiate the inspection process.
By keeping your Certificate renewed on a timely basis, you can
avoid the additional renewal fees and untimely delays during future building projects or property sales.