Health and Community Services documents related to OSS and Drinking Water in Whatcom County can now be found online.
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Whenever the water table is high or your sewage system is threatened by flooding, there is a risk that sewage will back up into your home. The only way to prevent this backup is to relieve pressure on the system by using it less.
Once floodwaters have receded, there are several things homeowners should remember:
You need an OSS permit (septic system permit) any time you construct, repair, replace, modify, connect to, or expand your septic system. You do not need an OSS permit when you:
Your OSS permit does not mean that you have met any other legal requirements like building codes or zoning ordinances. You must also comply with relevant permit requirements from other agencies before you begin work on your system. For example, you may need to get a land disturbance permit from Whatcom County Planning and Development Services.
State and county sewage control regulations require that either a licensed OSS designer or Registered Professional Engineer design your OSS. The state issues Licenses for Designers and Engineers.
Whatcom County code requires that all OSS be installed by a licensed OSS installer; however, if you are the property owner and you will live in the home the OSS will serve, you can request an exemption from certification requirements. The request will be reviewed and if approved, you can install the OSS. We recommend that you hire a Licensed OSS Installer for complex systems, e.g. pressure systems or alternative systems.
Developers must hire a Licensed OSS Installer or obtain an OSS Installer's License through Whatcom County Health and Community Services to install OSS on properties they plan to develop and then sell.
Please see the following guidelines from the Washington State Department of Health in regards to sewage cleanup.
Some warning signs of a failure are odors, surfacing sewage, soggy spots with lush green grass growth in the drain field or septic tank area, plumbing or septic tank backups, slow draining fixtures, or gurgling sounds in the plumbing system. If you suspect that your OSS is failing, contact us for assistance.