Share |

Marine Recovery Area Septic System Compliance on Vashon Island Approaching

July 2012 Deadline

Failing septic systems that potentially pollute Vashon Island marine waters as well as other parts of Puget Sound are required to be fixed by July 1st, 2012 under Marine Recovery Area law enacted by the State Legislature in 2006. The law, described in RCW Chapter 70.118A, requires inspection of on-site sewage disposal systems and repairs to failing systems in Marine Recovery Areas in order to restore and preserve the health and safety of Puget Sound waters, our ecosystem, and our marine life.

To meet the 2012 deadline, Public Health - Seattle & King County is increasing notices and technical assistance for homeowners. Letters will be sent to homeowners, and new community meetings and technical assistance fairs will be held. Since 2008, Public Health provided a variety of educational opportunities for MRA property owners to understand and comply with the law including:

6 public meetings;

Door belling individual properties to provide one-to-one neighborhood meeting opportunities;

Periodic informational mailings and inspection reminders;

2 septic system vendor fairs to show technology solutions;

4 Homeowner septic maintenance workshops;

Working with the Community Council Septic Solutions Subcommittee:

Individual technical assistance upon request; and contributing to news articles in the local newspapers.

Island residents have responded:

34% of the 262 homes in the MRA have been inspected and are functioning;

Properties known to be in the process of a permitted repair or replacement will be treated as having a current inspection.

However, 66% of the properties lack a current inspection, a record drawing, or both. While a 34% compliance rate with the state law is progress towards a cleaner environment, 66% of homeowners must still take steps to come into compliance by getting an inspection done and repairing a failing system where required. After four years of education and outreach, starting in December, Public Health will begin the enforcement process to meet the State’s requirements by July 2012.


More information

Failing systems have the potential to pollute waters in Quartermaster Harbor, and East Passage. Many leak untreated or partly treated sewage through seeps and drains in bulkheads while some older waterfront properties even discharge wastewater directly to the beach. New technologies available today will allow many property owners to improve old wastewater systems.

Updated maps showing properties with current inspections and/or record drawing documentation is available along with other information on the MRA at