Septic systems, also known as on-site sewage systems (OSS), treat sewage so it doesn’t contaminate local rivers, lakes, and groundwater. Just like your home or car, your septic system needs to be monitored and maintained regularly. This can reduce the chance that you’ll need to do major, costly repairs to your system because you’ll catch small problems before they become big ones.
What is a septic system evaluation?
A septic evaluation is an inspection of all the components of your septic system: septic tank, pump tank (if you have one) and drainfield.
Some of the things checked during an evaluation are:
You can hire a professional to perform a septic evaluation. Depending on the type of system you have and the purpose of the evaluation, you can also do it yourself. To learn if and how you can complete your own evaluation, see “Who can perform a septic evaluation?”.
When do you need a septic evaluation?
Some types of septic systems need to be checked more often than others.
When a property is offered for sale, a current inspection report, called a “Report of System Status” (ROSS), must be on file with the health department.
For information about your septic system's records, contact us at (360)778-6000. You can also look up information about your permit here.
A septic evaluation can be done by a licensed professional, also called an O&M Specialist. These professionals work for private businesses and have been licensed by the health department.
Homeowners can also become certified to complete their own septic evaluation by taking a free training offered by the health department.
Homeowners CANNOT complete their own evaluations if any of the following apply:
Please contact us at (360)778-6000 if you are unsure your septic system uses proprietary technology or was “non-conforming”.
How much does a septic evaluation cost?
Septic evaluation costs vary depending on your specific system. For more information on costs, you may contact any of the licensed professionals on this list to get a quote.
Financial help is available for failing septic systems or repairs in some cases.
The educational materials for the “EVALUATE before it’s too late” campaign have been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement PC-01J18001 through the Washington State Department of Health. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Environmental Protection Agency or the Washington State Department of Health, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.