January 26, 1998
Drain field problems at station 35
by Al Hooper
On Tuesday the 20th of January, the Board of Commissioners for the Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District responded to concerns about a leaking septic tank and drain field at Station 35. David Lau, a contractor with Evergreen Sanitation, has been monitoring the problem for the District since December 1st of last year, and reported to the Commissioners his findings and recommendations.
Starting with a brief history, Lau noted that the current tank and field locations were the result of being moved from their original locations during the recent remodeling of the Station. He went on to cite the actual amount of water flowing out of the tank, and the amount used by the crews that man the station to wash the vehicles, do laundry, kitchen cleanup, personal hygiene, etc. The differences noted averaged about 100 gallons a day.
"Unfortunately", Lau said, "this difference can only be explained by ground water leaking into the system somewhere between the building and the tank itself". Additionally, Lau stated that "even if there was no leakage into the system itself, the current amount of water flow according to the meter indicates that the system is being overloaded by approximately 10 to 20 percent".
Lau recommended a two-part solution to the problem be started immediately. The first is to take measures to reduce the amount of water actually being used on a daily basis until the drain field can be enlarged by approximately 50 percent. After that, he would have the drains and outlets that are currently exiting the building straight down, be rearranged to ensure that they exit the building much closer to the surface. This would have the effect of raising the tank, and consequently the drain field, closer to the surface, where the water runoff can be controlled more easily. In addition, relocating the pipes would also take care of any leaks.
Lau's greatest concern with starting any long-term solution were the delays caused by the permitting process. He noted that pumping out the tank (into a truck) for removal is very expensive, and there were no fast, cheap or easy solutions.
After many questions were asked by the Board, and by several members of the audience, Commissioner Dave Callon moved to authorize Chief Steve Smith to "take whatever steps are necessary to begin having a pumping service maintain the tank so that it won't overflow, and also to prepare a list of recommended repair scenarios and the costs thereof, to be presented to us at our next meeting". That motion passed 5 to 0.
The Commissioners normally meet at 6:00 pm on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at the District Headquarters, located at 19900 144th Ave NE. They can be reached via voice mail at 425-483-2131.