At Details Home Inspections, one of our goals is educating homeowners. The city of Camas Washington has an interesting and unique approach to sewage/waste management. We get questions about this a lot and you should know that if you live in Camas Washington your home is tied into the City of Camas sewer main as a part of the municipal wastewater treatment system.
As your professional home inspectors in Clark County WA, we would like to share some important information about the Camas WA systems so that you can come to understand what this means to you and how it might impact your home buying or home selling process.
An Overview of Septic Tank Systems
Over time, solids collect in the septic tank and are pumped out by the City of Camas every 6-10 years. In this process, the wastewater is filtered and then pumped out to the wastewater system. You can reduce waste and protect the wastewater treatment system, your home plumbing systems, and even the environment by avoiding flushing items that do not degrade easily.
If you have a septic tank in Camas Washington, you will have one of the following systems on your property:
A STEP System- Septic Tank Effluent Pumping System: This is your sanitary sewage system which pumps the fluids from a collection tank into the pressurized mainlines using a high head pump, alarm system, and a control panel.
A STEF System- Septic Tank Effluent Filter System: This system works by siphoning the waste instead of pumping it using a high-level alarm and an electrical panel.
How do you know which system is on your property?
A professional home inspector can help you identify which system has been installed on your property, or a property which you're considering purchasing. We can also recommend a suitable maintenance plan and show you how to turn off the alarm. If the alarm goes off, this generally means the system needs to be serviced by the city.
Who claims ownership of the STEP/STEF system on your property?
Once your installed STEP/STEF system has been inspected and accepted, the City of Camas will actually be the owner of all components of it. The only part of the system you own is the sewer line from your residence to the tank. With the city being the owner of the system, they are also responsible for all maintenance of it and will need to be able to have access to it at all times.
What happens if there is damage to the STEP/STEF system?
While the city claims ownership to the system, if there is damage that is due to negligence, gross negligence, or intentional acts, you as the owner will be responsible. This includes any clogging that occurs because of improper use, as stated in the City of Camas Ordinance 13.62.070.
Can I landscape over my STEP/STEF tank?
The main issue with landscaping is that the green riser lids cannot be covered up by any landscaping you choose to do on the property. This is because these lids need to be accessible at all times to ensure that the city can access it in a timely manner in the event of emergency or maintenance call.
At Details Home Inspections, we can help you Identify the type of system you have in your current home or in a home you are planning to purchase. We can also educate you on what the presence of the system means for your life in the home and how to protect the system from damage due to improper use. Together we can come up with a maintenance plan that will work for your family.