State law (Chapter 246-272A-0270) requires that homeowners inspect and maintain their septic systems to ensure it is functioning properly. The longevity of your on-site septic system relies heavily on the way that you care for it:
- Complete additional routine maintenance that is required for some system types
- Monitor what goes into your system
- Protect the system from surface water and drainage, soil compaction, and other activities that might use it to fail, such as flooding
- Schedule regular pumping for your septic tank. See our list of certified pumpers
Signs of septic system failure
- Fixtures are draining slowly
- The ground above the drain field is soggy and has unusually lush vegetation
- Sewage is backing up into the house
- Sewage is surfacing on the ground over the drain field or septic tank
- There is a strong sewage odor
Repairing your septic system
If you think you need a septic system repair, follow these steps to comply with the Snohomish Health District and Washington State regulations. See our Septic Contractors page for a list of certified professionals.
- Contact a certified installer, who will be able to look at the multiple elements of your system and possibly determine the cause of the septic failure
- If recommended by the installer, contact a licensed designer to design a repair and apply for a permit from the Snohomish Health District
- Once the repair is approved, you will receive a letter in the mail
- Hire a certified installer to request the permit be issued for installation and complete the work
- Once the installer notifies your designer that the repair is complete, the designer will ensure that the repair was installed correctly and then submit an as-built to the Snohomish Health District
- A sanitarian from the Snohomish Health District will complete a final inspection to make sure the installation is correct and the as-built is an accurate depiction of your repaired septic system
Snohomish County now offers a new program with financing options, incentives, and education to help you maintain a healthy septic system. Visit the Savvy Septic website to learn more.
Some properties have septic maintenance records included with their septic as-built record. Septic as-builts and maintenance records are available through OnlineRME database of septic records. You will need the street address or Property Tax Account Number (PTA), to look up the records.