What is an Operational Certificate?
All septic systems within the Henderson Watershed Protection Area (HWPA) must have renewable Operational Certificates. Most Operational Certificates are
renewable every three years, however, some complex systems have certificates that must be renewed annually.
A certificate is issued by the County to the owner after the required septic system inspection and needed maintenance is completed and reports are submitted to Environmental Health.
What is needed to renew the Certificate?
Septic System Inspection
An inspection includes checking all parts of the septic system:
- Scum and sludge build-up in the septic tank must be measured
- Baffles and water levels checked
- Effluent filters should be cleaned
- Pumps, pump tanks, floats, and alarms checked
- Drainfield area inspected
- Monitoring ports opened and inspected
The tank should be pumped when needed. (To find out the criteria for pumping, see Inspecting Your Septic Tank.) If the tank is pumped, a copy of the pumper
service report must be included with the inspection report. (See "Who can do the inspection?" below for more information.)
NOTE: If you have a High-Risk Certificate (noted at the top of the inspection report included with your Operational Certificate renewal notice), you will be
required to have a dye test every 6 years. Consent forms will be sent with the renewal notice when the dye test is due, please return the
form or call 360-867-2644 to schedule an appointment.
How do I know when it's time to renew my certificate?
The County will send a notice in the mail 60 days before the due date. Included with the notice is the inspection form.
Who can do the inspection?
The Operational Certificate renewal notice will include an Inspection Form. These forms have been color-coded to help you determine which industry
professionals can do the required inspection of your system. For example, if you receive an orange Inspection Form, only a Certified Monitoring Specialist or Professional Engineer can inspect your system.
The following industry professionals can do the required inspections:
||Inspection Form Color●
|Certified Monitoring Specialist
|Septic system Designer
|Septic system Installer
|Septic system Pumper
● Blue — gravity, pressure
distribution, mound, Glendon® Biofilter; Pink — sandfilter systems; Orange — systems requiring a Service Contract with a Certified Monitoring Specialist
# Only a pumper who has been certified by the Health Department can inspect sand filter systems.
For a list of Industry Professionals, see Industry Professionals or look in the Yellow Pages under "Septic".
NOTE: Thurston County does not regulate the business practices of certified contractors. Get several estimates, check references, and be clear what services are requested before hiring a contractor.
Owner certification to inspect is available through the County Health Department. Only Henderson Inlet WPA homeowners with a gravity, mound, pressure
distribution, or Glendon® Biofilter system are eligible. To sign up for a one-day workshop, see Septic System Inspection Certification or call 360-867-2644.
Is the O&M certificate renewed at the transfer of property?
The certificate is issued for the septic system, not the property owners. So renewal is not required at time of sale. However, the buyer or lender often wants an inspection at time of sale.
What happens if Certificate requirements are not completed?
If you do not complete the inspections and needed maintenance required in order for the Health Dept to issue an Operational Certificate, your sewage
system will be in violation of the County Sanitary Code and classified as "non-conforming". This means, at a minimum, that other permit approvals will be withheld until the Certificate is renewed.
To bring a non-conforming system into compliance requires an inspection of the system by County staff and payment of an inspection fee. By completing your
inspection when required, you will assure your septic system is working properly and avoid any untimely delays during future building projects or property sales.