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County offers free help on septic systems

Owners of property inside the South Holmes Harbor Shellfish Protection District are being urged to attend a free homeowner septic training session coming next week.

The classroom and field instruction session will be 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8 at the Island County Parks Shop, 497 Patmore Road, south of Coupeville.

Monday’s session is the first of several to be offered by Island County for Whidbey Island and Camano Island landowners.

The session has been reserved for property owners inside the shellfish protection area, who have been notified by mail, said Jan Smith of the Island County planning department.

Holmes Harbor has been closed for shellfish harvesting and other recreational activities since March 2006. Preliminary results from 18 months of sampling surface water showed the presence of fecal coliform bacteria.

Water quality specialists from the county said the pollution that’s making its way into the harbor is coming from four areas; the neighborhoods that border East Harbor Road and south to Main Street, properties along Myrtle Avenue, properties bordering East Shoreview Drive and Woodard Avenue, and properties bordering Cameron Road and crossing over Highway 525.

Under new state and local health department rules, residents inside sensitive areas such as the shellfish protection district must have their septic systems inspected annually, beginning in 2009.

Human waste from failing septic systems are considered a probable source of fecal contamination.

The classes are designed to teach proper maintenance and operation of residential septic systems. Those who complete the program will be able to conduct their own inspections and report results to the county health department.

The class includes a multi-media presentation, informal sessions and a field visit to a demonstration septic park.

For information, call 321-5111, ext. 6069, or visit www.islandcounty.net/planning/holmesharbor.htm.

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