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Sewage systems ripe for update

KINGSTON — This Wednesday, locals will get up close and personal with their onsite sewage systems. The Kitsap County Health District is hosting a public meeting to explain proposed changes to its regulations regarding the setups and how they will bring the county up to, or beyond, state requirements.

Keith Grellner, the district’s deputy director of environmental health, said residents may want to pencil the 6:30 p.m. meeting into their schedule as there are some proposed regulations they will want to know about if they have an onsite sewage system. One such change is a required inspection of the system before property changes ownerships.

“It’s one of the areas we are working on and does affect residents, it’s the big thing we’re focusing on in the meetings and we do have currently a lot of property owner’s support,” he said. “We would like to require inspections of onsite sewage systems before the property transfers to a new owner. We have been doing these inspections for the last 20 years on a volunteer basis, but we would like to change that requirement.”

Traditionally the district uses regulations set by state health officials as a baseline for its own. The county requirements tend to be more stringent than the state’s, Grellner said. State officials announced new rules last July, and the county’s health district has been working to update its own since.

“For most of the rules that will match up, John Q public will never need to know about it,” Grellner said. He said the county health district has had a hard time enforcing the current regulations and adding to the existing requirements will help officials and inspectors increase their level of successful implementation.

He did suggest residents attend the meetings so they can to ask questions and gain insight about the proposed rules. Different developer and stakeholder organizations have already been made aware of the potential changes, and have been working with the health district to include their input. If the meetings are successful and no major concerns are brought forth that could change the regulations, Grellner said he’s hopeful the board of health will examine and adopt them at its March meeting, following a public hearing at that time.

“These meetings are definitely geared more toward the general public,” he said. “It can be more difficult to talk to and reach the general population at large. This is their opportunity to see what we’ve been working on with the major stakeholder groups in the last couple of years.”

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