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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH - Septic Systems
What are your office hours?
The Montesano office is open Monday through Friday, 9:00AM to 12:00PM & 1:00PM to 4:30PM excluding observed holidays
We maintain office coverage for drop-in consultations between 2PM and 4PM daily. However, we encourage you to make an appointment thereby ensuring the appropriate staff member will be available to assist you. Staff from different programs rotate time spent in the field with in-office work. There may be times when professional staff is not immediately available to provide assistance, in which case we ask that you leave your contact information and a brief description of your questions/comment with the receptionist and/or contact us by phone or email in order to leave us a message. We will contact you as soon as we can.
Where can I find my parcel number and legal description?
The Grays Harbor County Assessor's office has property information. You can also find your parcel number and legal description on your current tax statement.
Where can I find the location of my water and/or sewer lines?
This information is available from your public water and sewer purveyor. If you are served by a private well and septic system this information may be on permit documents, having your parcel number ready when you call will help expedite a records search. (360) 249-4222.
Are sewers coming to my area?
Contact the sewer district of your area.
How do I apply for a permit?
You may request an application packet by calling (360)249-4222, by visiting one of our offices; applications are also available on-line SEPTIC APPLICATIONS - OTHER ENV. HEALTH PROGRAMS
How long does it take to get a permit?
It depends on the type and complexity of the project, and the time of year. The summer months is our busiest season, so on average, permits may take approximately 1 to 2 weeks. Some things that may delay the overall permit process include: having to comply with other regulations, insufficient information, public notice requests, and/or project revisions.
When is my permit issued?
Once the review process has been completed, the Environmental Health Division will send you the approved permits. The permit documents and approved plans shall be on site during all inspections.
How long is a permit good for?
A septic installation permit is valid for two years from the date of issuance. A septic repair permit is valid for 6 months from the date of issuance and is non-renewable.
What is an on-site septic system?
A septic system is a highly efficient, self-contained, underground wastewater treatment system. Because septic systems treat and dispose of household wastewater onsite, they are often more economical than centralized sewer systems in rural areas where lot sizes are larger and houses are spaced widely apart. Septic systems protect human health and the environment by safely recycling wastewater back into the natural environment. Septic systems treat wastewater as well as, or better than, municipal treatment systems at a reasonable cost when properly designed, installed, operated, and maintained.
A typical septic system has four main components: a pipe from the home, a septic tank, a drainfield/leachfield, and the soil. Microbes in the soil digest or remove most contaminants from wastewater before it eventually reaches groundwater.
When is an on-site septic system permit needed?
A septic permit is needed anytime you construct, repair, replace, expand or significantly alter your on-site septic system.
How do I apply for an on-site septic system permit?
Proceed to our online Application Process page.
What are test holes?
Test holes are areas which are dug for the purpose of evaluating the soil profile and water table during the on-site septic evaluation. Three test holes must be located in, or adjacent to, the areas designated as the primary and the reserve drainfield. Test holes must be 2 feet wide and 6 feet deep with a ramp cut into the ground for gaining access into the hole. If test holes dug in non-sandy soils do not have adequate ramp, or if the spoils of the holes are too close and present a safety hazard, the site will not be evaluated.
What is the "reserve area"?
"Reserve Area" means an area of land approved for the installation of an on-site sewage system and dedicated for replacement of the on-site septic system in the event of its failure. Failure of your on-site septic system will still require you to go through the permit process.
Can I design my own on-site septic system?
State sewage regulations require that either a licensed septic system designer or registered professional engineer design on-site septic systems. The State issues licenses for designers and engineers. A licensed designer or properly trained engineer can provide you with specifications for a septic system.
Where can I find a list of designers?
Can I install my own on-site septic system after I obtain a permit?
The Division of Environmental Health will allow the property owner to install their own septic system. Developers, installing a system for resale, must use a licensed septic installer.
Where can I find a list of on-site septic installers?
Do you have a copy of my on-site septic system permit?
Please fill out and return the request for septic information form to the Division of Environmental Health.
How can I find my on-site septic system?
Locating a septic system will be aided if you have an "as-built" drawing of the system. Copies of most as-built plans are available from our office, call our office, 249-4222 or email our department. If an as-built is not available, you or your contractor will need to use some investigative skills. If a crawl space is accessible you may be able to determine where the plumbing leaves the house and then by using a probe bar, follow the pipe and locate the tank. Fiberglass or polyethylene tanks can be ruptured with a probe bar, so use caution. Once you have located the tank you will need to follow the line that leads from the tank to the drainfield. The drainfield may have depressions or greener, faster growing grass.
I'm planning on selling my house; do I need to have the on-site septic system inspected?
At this time, Grays Harbor County does not require septic system inspections for home sales. Your lending institution (Bank , Mortgage Co.) may require an inspection as part of the sales agreement.
What if I still have questions?
Please visit or contact either of our offices and our staff will assist you.