Board of Health – Seattle & King County increases On-site septic system transfer & inspection fee

The Board of Health – Seattle & King County recently voted to increase the Onsite Septic System (OSS) transfer and inspection fee from $111.00 to $184.80. Despite testimony by the Seattle King County REALTORS® and others in the real estate industry opposing the 66.5% increase in the fee, the proposal passed by a vote of 10 to 0. The fee is collected at the time of sale from the seller before the change of title. The Board of Health claimed that the fee increase was necessary to recover actual expenses of its operations related to education and inspection of septic systems.

Although there is disappointment with the increase of the OSS transfer and inspection fee, it is the path forward to avoid having an annual fee of at least $30 placed on all King County owners of septic systems and a vastly expanded compliance program. The annual fee proposal had been proposed by the Board of Health earlier this year, without the review of a work-group that was formed to make recommendations regarding septic system oversight. That proposal was quickly withdrawn by the Board in June after hundreds of residents in Maple Valley and Fall City showed up at hearings opposing the imposition of the new annual tax.

At the time of passage, the Board of Health also offered new assurance that adequate, functioning equipment (microfiche printers for as-builts) will be in place to avoid the microfiche printer failure that held up many residential home sale transactions this past summer. These paper records are required at the time of sale.

The effective date for this fee increase is on January 1, 2017.