• September 20th - 24th is National SepticSmart Week

    September 22, 2021
    September 20-24, 2021 is SepticSmart Week—a week during which Skagit County Public Health joins the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Governor Jay Inslee in reminding homeowners and communities about the importance of caring for, and maintaining, their septic systems.
    Properly designed, installed, and maintained septic systems can operate for a long time as a mini wastewater treatment plant on your own property. However, poor maintenance and other issues can lead to septic failures, contamination of surface and groundwater, algal blooms in lakes, shellfish closures in marine waters, and other issues.
    Failure to maintain a septic system can lead to backups and overflows, which can result in costly repairs. Here are some tips to consider:  
    • Protect It and Inspect It: Homeowners should have their system inspected. In Skagit County, gravity systems must be inspected every three years; all other systems inspected annually. Pumping is not the same as an inspection. Tanks should be pumped when necessary, typically when 1/3 full of solid material.
    • Think at the Sink: Avoid pouring fats, grease, and solids down the drain. These substances can clog a system’s pipes and drainfield. Utilize MedProject locally to safely dispose of medications by finding a local drop box or requesting a prepaid envelope directly to your door.
    • Don't Overload the Commode: Only put things in the drain or toilet that belong there. Items like coffee grounds, dental floss, disposable diapers and wipes, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts, and cat litter can all clog and potentially damage septic systems.
    • Don't Strain Your Drain: Be water efficient and spread out water use. Fix plumbing leaks and install faucet aerators and water-efficient products. Spread out laundry and dishwasher loads throughout the day Too much water use at once can overload a system.
    • Shield Your Field: Divert downspouts away from your septic tank and drainfield to avoid extra water. Remind guests not to park or drive on a system’s drainfield, where the vehicle’s weight could damage buried pipes or disrupt underground flow.

    Homeowner Septic Education Classes

    Skagit County Environmental Health offers Septics 101 and Septics 201 (Do-It-Yourself Septic Inspection) classes for free to all Skagit County residents. Classes are available online and can be accessed at any time. To access these classes, go to: https://www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/HealthEnvironmental/septic101.htm.

    Financial Assistance

    You may qualify for financial assistance. If you need a septic system repair or replacement, Skagit County works with nonprofit lender Craft3 to offer affordable financing with the Clean Water Loan. Learn more and apply at www.Craft3.org/CleanWater
    If you need assistance with the cost of routine inspections:
    • You may qualify to complete your own inspections through our Homeowner Education Program (Septics 101/Septics 201).
    • You may qualify for our low-income assistance program. Please contact our department for information at (360) 416-1500.
    • Submit a rebate application to receive up to $200 back on services.
    For more information on septic systems and being SepticSmart, visit www.skagitcounty.net/septicwww.epa.gov/septicsmart, or contact Skagit County Environmental Health at (360) 416-1500.
    SKAGIT COUNTY, WASHINGTON
    County Commissioners: Lisa Janicki, Peter Browning, Ron Wesen
    1800 Continental Place, Suite 100
    Mount Vernon, WA 98273

    commissioners@co.skagit.wa.us
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