WHY WAS THIS PROGRAM STARTED?
As of January 1, 2015, local health departments are required to develop a program for the management of the operation
and maintenance of Sewage Treatment Systems (STS), including Gray Water Recycling Systems. Operation Permits,
increased homeowner education, and routine STS maintenance are requirements of the program.
Owning a STS is a big financial investment in your property. Proper operation and maintenance of your system is very
important to make sure it operates effectively and efficiently for many years and does not create nuisance conditions or
pollute the environment.
WHO IS AFFECTED BY THIS PROGRAM?
All properties with a STS are now affected by this program. Our existing program will expand significantly as we develop
and implement a phased approach to include all STS in the health district.
WHAT IS THE COST TO HOMEOWNERS?
The fees and length of time the Operation Permit is good for varies among health departments. Our current fee is
$25.00 and the permit is issued annually from July 1st through June 30th. Permit applications are mailed in the month of
June and go directly to the property utilizing the STS, unless otherwise instructed by the property owner.
WHAT IS THE PERMIT MONEY USED FOR?
Our program aims to use a diverse watershed-based approach to identify and minimize sewage pollution. We conduct
water sampling of streams, ditches, storm sewers, and our beaches throughout the county. We also respond to
nuisance complaints regarding failing STS and other water quality concerns. This data is used to prioritize problem areas
so solutions can be planned for with our local officials.
Educational public seminars are conducted to provide STS maintenance information and to better educate homeowners
on how they are designed to operate. We also assist local officials at meetings to inform the public on sanitary sewer
installation and proper STS abandonment requirements. Educational DVDs are available upon request and additional
resources will be developed as we expand our education and outreach efforts.
The fees obtained from the Operation Permits are also used to administer this program. Program costs include
materials and supplies, postage for mailings, and staff time. A large amount of time is spent on the review of service and
maintenance reports, maintaining a program database, and the issuance of permits.
WHAT ARE THE MAINTENANCE REQUIREMENTS ON MY STS?
Proof of STS operation and maintenance is a new requirement and can be demonstrated through having a service
contract with a registered service provider. Service maintenance reports must be submitted to us by the provider. This
information is entered into a database for tracking purposes. As we develop our website, information will be available
for viewing on septic tank cleaning dates and other STS maintenance.