Greenbank septic gets good tests

Officials for Port of Coupeville and Greenbank Farm are hopeful recent education and minor tinkering to the farm’s sewage system will prevent the port from having to make costly repairs.

Recent testing to the system revealed positive results.

“This is good news,” said Commissioner Bill Larsen. “That system continues to be key for any existence in the future.”

“If the system stops, we’d have to shut down Greenbank Farm.”

The farm has a Larger Onsite Sewage System, or LOSS, which was installed by Chateau Ste. Michelle.

It was initially designed to handle high event traffic, said Tim McDonald, executive director for Port of Coupeville.

It however, was not designed to handle the high “effluent” caused by businesses like Whidbey Pies Cafe.

Per health code regulations, the system is monitored and tested regularly by the health department.

Testing in 2013 revealed the farm was having issues with the system and the port was given a compliance order from the state.

“We’ve never had an issue with quantity,” McDonald said. “We have an issue with quality.”

The issue at hand, is what is being poured and flushed down drains at the farm.

To address the issue, McDonald said there is ongoing education with all the users of the sewage system. Classes have been held and will be held in the future.

“It helps them understand solid waste cannot go down the drain,” he said.

The farm has also cleaned the syphon chambers that distribute the effluent to the drain fields and also cleaned out the septic tanks.

“Nothing major has been done,” McDonald said. “Major means money.”

While the port hasn’t sought cost estimates if the LOSS needed major fixes, McDonald said he wouldn’t be surprised if it cost $50,000-$100,000.

Since making these changes, the farm got its first round of testing results back and officials are pleased with the results.

McDonald said the levels within the system read close  to residential readings.

“We’re hoping this first report is not just a one-time occurrence,” he said.,“so we don’t have to make those major and expensive fixe to the Greenbank Farm LOSS.”

Education will be an ongoing process.

“Folks are doing a good job at improving their practices,” he said. “My hat’s off to them.”


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