Department of Ecology News Release - July 20, 2009

09-171

Septic waste pumper fined for dumping septic waste

SPOKANE - The Department of Ecology (Ecology) has fined Big D Septic Services of Deer Park, Wash., $4,500 for dumping septic sludge on the company’s property for the second time--violating the state’s biosolids management regulations. Big D does not have a permit to apply septic sludge to the land as agricultural fertilizer.

Ecology was notified of the situation by an anonymous caller. When Ecology staff visited the site, they smelled a strong septage odor and saw many flies and pools of septage on the ground. Some of the pools were within 100 feet of a wetland that drains into Dragoon Creek. Others had tire tracks in them, raising the concern of septage being tracked off site and onto local roads.

The property is adjacent to family dwellings and businesses, and just across the road from a special project designed to improve water quality in Dragoon Creek. The creek runs along the property border.

Septic waste contains nitrates, ammonia, and phosphorus, which is sometimes used as a fertilizer. But it can pollute groundwater and harm aquatic life when not handled properly. The material also contains fecal coliform bacteria and other pathogens, which can harm human health and the environment if not correctly controlled.

Big D Septic Services was fined $2,000 for similar violations in 2000.

Ecology conducted its investigation and cleanup oversight in cooperation with Spokane Regional Health District and the Northeast Tri-County Health District.

Big D Septic Services may appeal the penalty to Ecology or to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days.

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Media Contact:
Jani Gilbert, communications manager, 509-329-3495; cell 509-990-9177; e-mail jagi461@ecy.wa.gov 

For more information on Septic regulations: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/biosolids/