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OSS Annual Fee

Effective January 1, 2013, the on-site sewage system (OSS) operation and maintenance (O&M) program will be funded by a new annual OSS fee.  The Whatcom County Council approved the 2013 fee schedule, which includes a new $19 annual OSS fee that will be included on property tax statements starting in 2013, and collected through the Treasurer’s Office with property tax payments.  The fee will support our existing O&M program, and replaces the $35 OSS Report of System Status filing fee, and the septage surcharge of $3.00/100 gallons pumped that was collected from licensed pumpers.  The annual fee will provide a more stable funding source and evenly distribute the cost of the program to all OSS owners.  In addition, this method of fee collection will be more efficient, by eliminating staff time for receipting of individual reports and billing licensed pumpers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was my property assessed a fee?

The fee was assessed on all on-site sewage systems (OSS) in the County.  Using our database, which includes on-site sewage system permits, Reports of System Status (operation and maintenance records), and septage pumping records, we generated a list of parcels that have one or more OSS and submitted the list to the Treasurer’s Office for inclusion on the tax statements.

How much is the fee?

The annual fee is $19 for every OSS.  Half of the fee ($9.50) will be assessed with the first half taxes due in April, and the remaining half ($9.50) will be included with the second half taxes due in October.

I was assessed a fee and I don’t have an OSS, how do I get this corrected?

Your property was assessed a fee based on information in our database that indicates there is an OSS on your property.  We understand that some information in our database may be incorrect, and will review the fee if you believe it was incorrectly assessed.  We have generated a form to process these requests to ensure that our database is accurately and efficiently updated, and the updated information forwarded to the Treasurer’s Office.  Please complete the On-Site Sewage System Request for Fee Review form, and submit it to our office.

If I believe the fee was assessed in error and I have submitted a request for fee review, will it be processed by the time my taxes are due?

We cannot guarantee that the fee will be reviewed by the tax payment deadline.  It is recommended that you make the payment so you are not subject to penalties and interest.  After our review, if it is determined that the assessment was incorrect we will update our database and provide that information to the Treasurer’s Office who will modify your tax bill and issue a refund if all taxes have been paid.