– Editor’s note:
Last Friday, Thurston County’s Commissioners in their Board of Health role, voted 2-1 to adopt a new annual flat-rate fee of $10 for property owners with septic systems. Many property owners anticipate, and indeed expect when all three “Independent” commissioners are seated in January, to reverse this vote. Yelm Community Blog readers have asked for my views on the County’s proposed septic fees, which dovetail exactly with The Olympian Editorial Board.
– “SEPTIC FEES AND FEARS”
“Many homeowners who use private wells or live along Thurston County’s waterways already know how important it is to have a well-functioning septic system. Seepage into the ground can taint a well. As a result, many home owners do not object to paying for a county permit every few years to operate these on-site systems.
But now a proposal to expand the county’s permit system to include all of Thurston County’s 53,000 septic systems [2nd highest county in the state] is running into resistance from some homeowners who don’t see a need for a change.
The permit system requires that the system be inspected periodically by a third party to ensure it is not damaged, and it ensures that tanks are pumped on a regular basis.
Indeed some who testified last week at a public hearing argued there is no evidence of failing systems. There is a logic to that, if systems are indeed not failing.
It’s fair, we think, to see their resistance as symptomatic of a deeper resentment toward government and environmental regulations that helped elect two more right-of-center candidates to the commission starting in 2017.
The fee proposal is backed by the two retiring Democratic commissioners, Sandra Romero and Cathy Wolfe, whose terms expire this year. The fees would be $19, $38 and $57 starting in 2018, if adopted.
This is a good idea for the safety of private well owners and their neighbors who derive water from the same aquifer, to insure that the county’s water resources remain pristine with an ever burgeoning population.