Environmental Health

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Environmental Health

Director: Jennifer Johnson
Skagit County Health Department
On Site Sewage Program Information

Over 20,000 septic systems in Skagit County are cleaning and recycling sewage contaminated water into clean groundwater every day in Skagit County. On-site sewage treatment can work as well or better than large wastewater treatment plants with proper design, installation, and maintenance. Poor design, installation, or lack of care and maintenance results in POLLUTION to rivers, lakes, and groundwater!

Septic systems are designed to treat sewage on the property where it is generated. The solids in the sewage are retained and treated in the septic tank. The waste water from sewage is filtered and treated by the natural soil layer beneath the drainfield.
Out of sight out of mind does not work for septic systems. Just like your home or car, your septic system needs regular maintenance to function. When your septic system does not function it not only can cause illness, it can pollute clean water.

In years past, greywater from sinks, washing machines or showers were often kept separate from on-site sewage (septic) systems.  Greywater sent to a separate tank or to a nearby ditch through a straight pipe were not uncommon practices before septic systems were regulated.

Greywater can carry bacteria, viruses, pathogenic organisms and even chemicals depending on what’s connected to the greywater pipe.  Current septic system regulations require greywater to be treated just like it was sewage, even when it comes from a trailer or camper. Greywater re-use for irrigation is allowed in very specific circumstances, but never as a substitute for a septic system.

You can learn how your septic system works to clean your waste water and how to help your system function well without polluting.
Washington State code and Skagit County Code require that all septic systems go through site evaluation, design review and, approval, and permitting prior to installation. After the system is installed, a final inspection is done by County staff. These requirements assure that systems are designed and installed appropriately at each location to prevent pollution.
Marine Recovery Area is defined in law as an area where additional requirements for existing on-site sewage disposal systems may be necessary to reduce potential failing systems or minimize negative impacts on water quality. Environmental Public Health is focusing on all Marine Recovery Areas (MRA) to make sure on site sewage systems are not contributing to pollution in Puget Sound.
Information for on-site professionals
Information for real estate transfers and real estate professionals
Skagit County has requirements for inspection of septic systems at the time of real estate transfer. For more information see Information for real estate professionals: Facts and FAQs

Providers please submit reports electronically through On Line RME

Learn How Your Septic System Works and How To Take Care of it with