Whatcom County Council has approved changes to septic system regulations that will allow some homeowners to avoid inspection costs by inspecting their own systems if they take a county-approved training class on septic system maintenance and testing.
Professional inspections are still required whenever a property is sold.
There has been controversy surrounding septic ordinance ever since the county passed it 2008. It was originally passed to enforce toughened state health regulations.
The objectionable part of, the 2008 ordinance required an initial professional inspection of every septic system in the county, at a cost estimated at $150 to $300. Some say that that requirement went beyond the mandates of state law.
There will still be plenty of business for those septic inspection companies as many residents won’t want to take the class and be a “do-it your-selfer” and those having more complex, modern systems will still require annual professional inspections.
The majority of council members believe that regulations are still tough enough to curb septic system problems. The Whatcom County Health Department will investigate reports of any failing systems.
The County Council also hopes to establish a $2 million low-interest loan program to help qualifying homeowners finance the costly replacement of failed systems.