Summary of Septic System Inspection Requirements
Some answers to frequently asked questions about Septic System Inspections can be found on this Inspection FAQ (PDF).
If you own a septic system anywhere in Washington State, you are required by state law to check your septic system on a regular basis to make sure it is working properly. How often you need to check your septic system depends on the type of system you have:
- Basic septic systems with a tank and a gravity-fed drainfield must be inspected at least once every three years. These systems are called conventional gravity septic systems.
- Other types of septic systems must be inspected at least once a year. Pressurized septic systems, sand filters, and mounds are in this category. These types of systems have pumps and other mechanical or electrical parts, and they need to be inspected more often than gravity systems.
- All food service establishments such as restaurants must have annual septic system inspections.
Inspecting and maintaining your septic system is your responsibility. You can hire a professional Septic System Maintenance Provider or Septic System Designer to inspect your system for you, or you can do it yourself with proper training (Septics 201) and if you meet local requirements.
If you own a septic system here in Clallam County, you can inspect your own septic system if all of the following criteria can be met:
- The septic system is a residential system, with no more than two connections served by one septic system on the same lot.
- Clallam County has a record of the septic system on file (septic permit, sanitary survey, as-built record drawing, or other records regarding the type, size, location and other applicable information on a septic system).
- You successfully complete a County-approved septic system inspection training and certification program. The DIY septic inspection training program (Septics 201) covers conventional gravity septic systems, pressure distribution systems, sand filter systems, and mound systems. Other system types such as aerobic treatment units, biofilters, and all systems with proprietary devices are ineligible for DIY inspections and must be evaluated by a professional.
- If you live in the Marine Recovery Area (MRA) between the east county line and the Bagley Creek Watershed, you will need to have your septic system professionally inspected before you can conduct your own inspections. After the initial professional inspection, you may qualify to inspect your own septic system if you meet the other criteria.
- In general, community and commercial septic systems must be inspected by a professional in Clallam County. Certified homeowners connected to a community septic system may inspect their own individual septic tank if there is no maintenance contract or Homeowners Association Agreement requiring a professional inspection.
- If the septic system inspection is needed for a real estate transaction or government action (like a building permit, land division, or boundary line adjustment), a professional inspection is required. Please visit the On-site Professionals page for a list of current professionals operating in Clallam County and the System Status Report page for more information about which professional list to consult for the different types of septic system inspections.
- You will need to submit a report of your inspection activities to the County within 30 days of the septic system inspection and also ensure that needed maintenance services or repairs to the system are accomplished.