l Drinking/Surface Water
Definitions l Gardening Definitions
Hazardous Waste Definitions l Septic System Definitions
- Closed Record Appeal
- An administrative appeal to the Board of Health following an open record hearing. This appeal is on the record and no new evidence
can be submitted.
- Open Record Hearing
- A hearing conducted by the Hearing Officer that creates the record through testimony and submission of evidence and information.
Drinking / Surface Water Definitions
- Fecal coliform
- Bacteria found in the digestive systems of warm-blooded animals; their presence in water tests
indicate potential contamination from sewage. For information on water testing, see Water Quality Lab.
- A subsurface water occupying the zone of saturated soil, permanently, seasonally, or as the result of the tides.
- Surface water
- Any body of water, whether fresh or marine, flowing or contained in natural or artificial unlined depressions continuously for at least four consecutive
months, including natural and artificial lakes, ponds, springs, rivers, streams, swamps, marshes, and tidal waters.
- Common Sense Gardening
- Encourages gardeners to conserve water, to use alternatives to pesticides, and to choose less-toxic pesticides when necessary. By taking action to reduce
the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers and conserve water, Common Sense Gardeners protect our lakes, streams, rivers, and Puget Sound. For additional
information, see Common Sense Gardening.
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
- The IPM approach emphasizes physical, mechanical, cultural, and biological tactics to keep pest and
vegetation problems low enough to limit or eliminate the reliance on chemical control.
Hazardous Waste Definitions
- Toxicity Categories I, II, and III
- Pesticides are classified by the US. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into categories according to
their toxicity. These categories are based on tests that determine acute health effects. A prominently displayed
"signal word" is required on pesticide labels which reflects the toxicity category of the product. The
following categories, with their signal words, are listed in order from most toxic to least toxic:
- Category I (highly toxic) — signal words: DANGER or DANGER/POISON
- Category II (moderately toxic) — signal word: WARNING
- Category III (slightly toxic) — signal word: CAUTION
- Category IV (relatively nontoxic) — signal word: CAUTION
- For additional pesticide info, see Pesticides.
- Nonpoint Pollution
- Refers to pollution that enters any waters from any land-based or water-based activities including, but not
limited to, atmospheric discharges; surface water runoff from agricultural lands, urban areas, or forest lands;
subsurface or underground sources or discharges from boats or marine vessels. See the
Nonpoint Source Pollution Ordinance for more information.
- Secondary Containment
- A liquid-tight barrier that will adequately contain hazardous materials released from a storage container,
such as placing a 5-gallon drum (primary containment) inside a 55-gallon drum (secondary containment). For
additional information, see Secondary Containment [PDF].
- Small Quantity Generator (SQG)
- A business that produces less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month. For additional information, see
Small Quantity Generator Program.
Septic System Definitions
- A commercial product added to a septic system intended to affect the performance or aesthetics of the
septic system. To find out why additives are not necessary, see Septic System Additives.
- Alternative system
- A septic system other than a conventional gravity system or pressure distribution system.
- (see Record Drawing)
- An engineer, a registered sanitarian, or a person who is certified by the county to perform site and soils
evaluations and to develop and submit designs by matching site and soil characteristics with appropriate
technology. For a list of septic system designers, see Septic System Professionals.
- Dye Trace
- A dye trace can detect septic system leaks. The dye testing involves flushing a non-toxic tracer dye down a
toilet and placing charcoal packets downhill of the septic system to collect any dye that may be leaking (with the sewage) from the system.
- The liquid discharged from a septic tank or other on-site sewage system component.
- Failure (failing system)
- A condition of a septic system that threatens the public health by inadequately treating sewage or by
creating a potential for direct or indirect contact between sewage and the public. For additional
information on failing systems, see What Can Go Wrong?
- A person approved by the County to install septic systems or components. For a list of septic system
installers, see Septic System Professionals.
- Periodic checking of a septic system and is performed by observations and measurements to determine if the
system is functioning or needs maintenance; monitoring also includes accurate records that document monitoring
activities. For additional information, see Septic System Operation and Maintenance.
- Monitoring specialist
- A person certified by the county to operate, maintain, and/or monitor a septic
system. For a list of septic system monitoring specialists, see Septic System Professionals.
- On-site sewage system
- Another name for a septic system. For more information about septic systems, see Septic System Program.
- Abbreviation for on-site sewage system.
- Operational Certificate
- A certificate issued for a specified period by the County to a person for the operation and/or use of an
on-site sewage system. The operational certificate shall contain conditions for the operation, maintenance and
monitoring of the subject on-site sewage system. For additional information, see Operational Certificate.
- A permit issued by the County after reviewing and concluding an application for an On-site Sewage System meets all county regulations.
- Pressure distribution
- A type of septic system that uses pressure to distribute effluent uniformly over the drainfield and is
used when shallow placement of the drainfield is necessary. For additional information, see
Understanding and Caring for Your Pressure Distribution System [PDF].
- Professional Engineer
- A person licensed as an engineer and is qualified to evaluate soil suitability and subsequently design an
appropriate septic system. For a list of septic system designers, see Septic System Professionals.
- A person meeting County requirements to remove and transport sewage or septage from a septic system. For a
list of septic system pumpers, see Septic System Professionals.
- Record drawing
- A diagram showing where your septic system components are located; previously known as an "as-built".
Depending on when your septic system was installed, the quality and detail of record drawings vary greatly. An
older diagram (prior to 1980) may be a very rough, simple sketch showing the layout of your system. A newer
diagram will show the tank, drainfield, replacement area (for future use if a replacement field is needed), and
any other components of your system.
request a copy of the record drawing [PDF] from the Thurston County Permit Assistance Center (PAC),
360-786-5490. The PAC is located at 2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW, Olympia, on the second floor of Building 1. When you
call or visit, please have your eleven-digit tax parcel number ready. This is the number that appears on your
county tax statements. (If you do not have your tax parcel number, contact the County Assessor's office at 360-786-5410.)
- Restoration, by reconstruction, addition to, or modification or replacement of an existing septic system or component of the system due to failure.
- Reserve area
- An area of land approved for the installation of an OSS and dedicated for replacement of the OSS upon its failure.
For additional information, see Drainfield.
- Risers give easy access to a septic system without disturbing the soil above the tank. To eliminate the
time and nuisance of digging down to access the covers, risers can be installed. The riser(s) should be secure
to prevent accidental entry into the tank, and should also be watertight to prevent groundwater from entering the riser cavity, which may cause the tank to flood.
- Grease, fats, and material that floats to the top of the septic tank.
- The mixture of solid wastes, scum, sludge, and liquids pumped from within septic tanks, pump chambers, holding tanks, and other OSS components.
- Septic tank
- A watertight pretreatment receptacle receiving the discharge of sewage from a building sewer or sewers,
designed and constructed to permit separation of settling and floating solids from the liquid,
detention and anaerobic digestion of the organic matter, prior to discharge of the liquid. For additional
information, see Septic System Basics.
- Any urine, feces, and the water carrying human wastes, including kitchen, bath, and laundry wastes from
residences, buildings, industrial establishments, or other places. Sewage is generally synonymous with wastewater.
- Heavy solids, grit and sand which falls to the bottom of the septic tank.
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