answers to basic program questions ...click
The purpose of the program is to assure that on-site
sewage systems are properly operated and maintained to
protect the health of county residents and to preserve the
water quality of Nisqually Reach.
This program is modeled after the successful program that
was started in Henderson Inlet in 2007. The program includes
septic system inspection and monitoring requirements,
incentives, funding mechanisms and enforcement elements. The
program was developed by a
group and was adopted by the Thurston County Board of Health
and Board of County Commissioners in 2012.
Information on the
public process that led to the program
information on the Nisqually Reach Shellfish Protection
Homeowner Septic Inspection Certification
Septic owners of Gravity, Mound, Pressure Distribution,
and Glendon systems can become certified to inspect their own systems. For
dates, times, or to sign up,
see Septic System Inspection Certification.
Request Correction of Rates and
A property owner can request a review if they believe
their property is not in the Nisqually Reach Watershed
Proection Area, or that the fees or requirements have been
applied to their property in error. The following
elements can be considered in the Request for Review.
- the property is served by a septic system
- the property drains toward Nisqually Reach
- the location of any portion of your plumbing and/or
septic system is within the Nisqually Reach Watershed
- the septic system is a high-risk or low-risk system
Applications for review must be submitted to
Environmental Health on a
Request for Correction of Rates &
Charges form [PDF]
When will I receive my inspection
There are nearly 4,000 septic systems in the Nisqually
Reach Watershed Protection Area, and the new program will be
phased in over three years. Homeowners will receive a notice
that includes the requirements for their operational
certificate approximately 8 weeks before the inspection
Septic System Financial Assistance
Low-interest loans and grants are available to help homeowners
maintain existing systems and repair failing ones.
Dye Test Evaluations for "High-Risk"
A dye test is used to help determine if a septic system
is failing. Dye tests are especially useful for locating
seepage failures on properties located on or near the
shoreline. This method involves flushing a non-toxic tracer
dye down a toilet and placing charcoal packets downhill of
the septic system to collect any dye that may be leaking
(with the sewage) from the system.
Frequently Asked Questions
During the 2011 public workshops, held to help develop
the new program, the following questions were received and answers
Please feel free to
e-mail with questions or requests for additional