System Status Reports & Sanitary Surveys
System Status Reports for Governmental Actions
For public health reasons, Clallam County may require a sanitary survey, now referred to as a system status report, before issuing a building permit, approving a land division or other governmental actions. A system status report may be requested by the health officer for the following purposes:
- Issuing building permits
- Land divisions when an existing OSS is part of the proposal
- Conditional use permits
- Variances or compliance with the Critical Areas Code
- Food service establishment operating permits
- Certificate of occupancy for commercial building permits
- Change of use
- Other actions as deemed appropriate by the health officer
System status reports for governmental actions are usually required in the following situations:
- If there is no record of a septic permit, installation or inspection of an existing system
- If it has been three years since the system was installed and there has been no previous system status report
- If there is no current system status report on file
The system status reports for governmental actions are inspections that are done by certified septic designers. Designers will verify the location of the tank, measure the level of sludge and scum inside, and inspect the tank and working parts. The designer will also verify the location of the drainfield, see whether it appears to be functioning properly and designate a reserve area if the original 'as-built' does not already have one.
- Please do not pump your septic tank just before having a system status report done. A designer can tell more about how a septic system is functioning if the tank has not just been pumped.
- If the septic tank is buried, it must be uncovered prior to inspection. This may involve hiring someone to locate the tank.
- Distribution boxes (D-box) must also be uncovered and fully inspected as part of a complete System Status Report.
- Risers on septic tanks and D-boxes are required to be added when the inspection is for a governmental action.
The designer prepares a report which is submitted to the County to be reviewed and recorded with the parcel file. A copy of the recorded system status report is given to the owner. If the designer notes that a system needs to be pumped or is failing, Environmental Health staff will follow-up with the owner to remind them to take care of the required maintenance.
System Status Reports for Property Transfers
As of June 1, 2010, at the time of property transfer, the property owner shall provide to the buyer a copy of a current system status report performed within 12 months of the property transfer by a licensed Septic System System Designer (PDF) or licensed OSS Maintenance Provider (PDF), on file with Environmental Health, and any available maintenance records. This was already a requirement of most banks and realtors prior to property sales and loan approvals.
A system status report is intended to evaluate the condition of a septic system at the time it is inspected. It does not imply a guarantee of the system or its future performance.
System Status Reports to Meet State Homeowner Inspection Requirements
State regulations (WAC 246-272A) now require that homeowners inspect and maintain their septic system to ensure it is functioning properly. At a minimum, this means that an owner of a traditional gravity septic system must have a system status inspection at least once every 3 years. Alternative systems (those with pumps) must be inspected every year. You may hire a designer or OSS maintenance provider to perform the system status inspection for you. Please visit the On-site Professionals page for a complete list of current designers and OSS maintenance providers in Clallam County.
Homeowners are allowed to perform their own OSS system status inspections if they have completed county-approved training and if Clallam County has an existing record on file of the septic system. Please see our Summary of Septic System Inspection Requirements page for more details. For homeowners who live within the Marine Recovery Area (MRA) the first inspection must be done by a professional designer or OSS maintenance provider. Visit the Septics 201: Do-It-Yourself homeowner septic inspection page for more information about homeowner training opportunities.
Visit the Clallam County On-site Septic System Inspection Status Map to see if a septic system is past due for inspection and see the Septic System Inspection Status page for more details about using the map.