COOMWA Receives Award

The Rodney & Laurel McFarland Award was given to Betsy Howe, Founder of COOMWA. Given by Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR), the annual award is given … “For unwavering dedication to, and relentless pursuit of, the preservation and restoration of property rights”. The award was to be presented at CAPR’s annual banquet in October 2020. That event will be rescheduled for Spring 2021. The passage of SB5503 in the 2019 legislature was the justification for the award. The involvement of septic system owners and every elected official in the State Legislature was the focus of COOMWA for 3 years. With direction and support from CAPR, the legislation became law in July 2019.

Department of Health Fights OSS Owner’s Rights

The legislation written and passed with COOMWA’s support became law in July 2019. That law was sent to the Department of Health to include in their Rules, as they oversee Onsite Sewage Systems (OSS). The Rules are written in WAC 246-272A. Washington Administrative Code. With lobbying by COOMWA, Realtors, and CAPR (Citizens Alliance for Property Rights), wording from the new law is being acknowledged. But it is a battle. The intent of the law was to: ensure that only requirements that are reasonable, appropriately tailored, and necessary are imposed on the installation, operation, maintenance, or repair of on site sewage systems.
The Rules have not been finalized, but at this time, if permitted repairs are required, the OSS must comply to new soil types and grade that exceed those originally permitted. COOMWA argues that an OSS should be repaired to the standards when originally permitted.
Additional meetings will be held in early 2021 and reviewed by the State Board of Health.
The credibility of COOMWA as a representative of OSS owners is the involvement of those owners. Legislators, the Department of Health, and the Washington State Board of Health need to hear from owners! Throughout this process, COOMWA will be making email broadcasts and posting to this webpage, keeping owners aware of the proposed Rules. When an opportunity arises to let your opinions be heard … COOMWA will let you know!

Seattle / King County Fined for Sewer Spills: but not much

The State of Washington, Department of Ecology has fined Seattle/King County for allowing untreated sewage to enter open water. The dumping occurs through Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO). During heavy rains, water washes into drains and combines with sewage in treatment plants, overwhelming the system and running UNTREATED through outlets in open water (Duwamish River, Lake Union, Puget Sound, etc). The City and County are under an injunction from the Federal Environmental Protection Agency to resolve the situation by 2035. However, there are no benchmarks for improvements along the way. In 2018, the CSO dumped nearly 3 Billion gallons of untreated waste. An increase over the 2.7 Billion gallons the previous year.
The State Department of Ecology has leveled fines to encourage the cleaning process, but the fines don’t even rise to a “slap on the wrist”. Seattle must pay $32,500 and County a wopping $14,000. All tax payer dollars. The announcement can be found on this link:;a88f9af6.2012p