Letters to the Editor

Owners should be trusted with septics

The County Board of Health meeting at Coupeville on September 14 to discuss the on-site sewage system regulations (OSS) brought into sharp focus the wide disparity between views of the taxpaying septic system owners and their views of the County Board of Health.

Prior to the enhancement of the OSS, chapter 8.07, Island County Code, the County had only two roles with respect to septic systems. The first role was reviewing and approving the design, construction and initial inspection of the septic system as part of the building permit process.

The second role was to ensure that, if a septic system failure became a “danger to the public health,” that corrective repair by a negligent unresponsive owner could be compelled by the legal action through the district courts. These two roles were the only county involvement with respect to septic systems.

As of July 2007, the county, without justification, has expanded their role into the areas of operating, monitoring and maintaining septic systems. These particular areas are solely the responsibility of the owner! Read chapter 8.07D.280 paragraph A, Island County Code. “The OSS owner is responsible for operating, monitoring and maintaining the OSS.”

The County has arbitrarily assumed authority over private property. This action is a violation of the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable search and seizures shall not be violated.” Compelling an inspection under the threat of Fines of Property Liens is a mandated “unreasonable search,” and is a clear violation of the fourth amendment.

During the September 14 meeting, owners pointed out that each septic system is unique with respect to location, size of dwelling, number of occupants, amount of waste and other factors. Therefore, the OSS owners are responsible for and certainly more capable of determining the frequency of inspection, pumping and repairs that the use of a “one rule fits all” county regulation.

It really appears that our elected officials have no faith in the intelligence, abilities or views of the people.

This unlawful government intrusion into the private sector, without “probable cause” must be corrected by revisiting “Washington state On-Site Systems, Chapter 246-272 WAC” and “On-Site Sewage Systems Regulations, chapter 8.07D, Island County Code.”

The revisions must delete all state and county involvement in the operations, monitoring and maintenance of the septic systems and the accompanying enforcement measures until the septic system regulations of both the county and state are revised as outlined in the preceding.

Donald P. Brady

Oak Harbor

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