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Incentives Available for Key Peninsula Septic Maintenance

April 28, 2015

Health Department helps residents save money and protect area’s water quality with proper system care

TACOMA, Wash. – On the Key Peninsula, septic system maintenance and water quality are closely linked. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s successful Septic Care Incentive Program offers residents an opportunity to save up to $450 to take care of their septic system and to perform some environmental stewardship, too.

Proper septic system maintenance is important because failing systems can have an impact on bacteria levels in marine water. The Health Department started the incentive program in July 2013 to raise awareness of the importance of proper septic system maintenance. Since then, more 400 Key Peninsula residents have saved upwards of $125,000.

Funds are still available. Owners of pressure distribution or gravity systems on the Key Peninsula who haven’t taken advantage of the program should act quickly. The incentives, explained in detail at, include:

  • $125 off inspection (required to get other two discounts)
  • $125 riser installation (inspection required first)
  • $200 off pumping (inspection required first)

“Our incentive program eases the financial burden for residents to maintain the health of their septic system,” said Gary Porter, program manager, Environmental Health division. “It also helps to promote environmental stewardship so we can enhance water quality around the Key Peninsula.”

Proper operation and maintenance of septic systems help to:

  • Extend a system’s life and save money by avoiding septic system repairs or replacement;
  • Protect ground, surface and drinking water from contamination;
  • Prevent bacterial pollution from entering Puget Sound directly or through storm water run-off into creeks and streams;
  • Keep shellfish harvested from public waters safe to eat; and
  • Prevent sewage from surfacing.
  • Identify safety issues.

Regular maintenance helps keep septic systems safe and environmentally friendly, but residents also can encourage safety and prevent injuries and falls by ensuring that septic lids are covered, secure and durable. The Health Department page at contains more information about the Septic System Program and how residents can stay involved in keeping their systems running safely and properly.

Residents who own pressure distribution and gravity systems should hire a certified septic professional to inspect it every three years. Residents who are unsure of what type of system they have can contact the Health Department at (253) 798-6577 or log on at to look up their property’s record drawing.

Information about the incentive program is available from the Health Department’s Septic Operations and Maintenance Line at (253) 798-4788, or at (with “Incentive Program” in the subject line). Limited funds are available, and the program will end when funds run out. Savings are not valid for home sale (Report of System Status) inspections. Grants from Washington State Department of Health and Environmental Protection Agency make the Septic Incentive Program possible.

For more information, contact JiHae Yi, health promotion coordinator, at (253) 798-4754 or

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to safeguard and enhance the health of the communities of Pierce County. As part of its mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment in order to protect public health. Learn more at

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