Maintaining Your Septic System

Pump Tank

how often should your system be inspected?

Homeowners are responsible for getting their system inspected on a regular basis. The frequency that a system should be inspected depends on what type of system you have. Take a look at the monitoring & maintenance frequencies below to see how often your system should be inspected. The Health Department maintains an up-to-date list of certified septic professionals to help you find a provider.

View a printable version of Monitoring & Maintenance Frequencies

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How often your system will need to be pumped depends on many factors, such as the number of people in your household and how well you treat your septic system. For some households, the tank may need to be pumped every two years, and for others it may be five or more years before it needs to be pumped. Because it can vary, it's recommended to get your system pumped when a septic professional recommends to after inspecting your system. They will be able to take measurements to determine if it is time to get it pumped.


If your septic system needs to be repaired, you may need a permit from the Health Department. The information below will help you determine whether or not a permit is required for the work being done.

Limited Repairs

Smaller, minor repairs can be done by certified septic professionals without a permit. After an inspection, a septic professional will be able to tell you if the repair your system needs will require a permit or not. Limited repairs include: 

  • System controls repair 
  • System pump repair 
  • Baffle installation/repair 
  • Effluent filter installation/repair 
  • Minor tank repair

Major Repairs & Permits

If your system needs a major repair, there are specific steps to follow to make sure to comply with the Snohomish County Health Department and Washington State regulations. Below is a list with examples of major repairs that require a permit. See our Septic Contractors page for information on hiring certified septic professionals.

  • Tank replacement 
  • Drainfield repair/replacement 
  • System replacement 
  • Drainfield alteration 

If a licensed septic professional determines that your system needs to be repaired or replaced and a permit is required, contact a licensed septic designer to design a repair and follow the steps to apply for a permit from the Snohomish County Health Department. 

FInancial assistance through Savvy Septic

We want you to be able to make necessary repairs to your system and keep up with routine maintenance. For information on financial assistance offered through the Savvy Septic program, visit the Savvy Septic page.