Wednesday, August 26, 2015

FREE Septic $ense Workshops in September

Your home septic system is a major investment that comes with the responsibility for its care and maintenance. Sign up for one of our four free workshops held throughout Thurston County in September. Learn how to prolong the life of your septic system and protect not only your financial investment, but your family’s health and the environment as well. 

These workshops can benefit all septic system owners, from first-timers to those with years of experience. Attendees will be provided with information on:
  • The different types of septic systems – gravity flow, pressure distribution, mound, and sand filter
  • The three main components of a septic system – tank, drainfield, and soil
  • When to have your septic tank inspected and pumped
  • Warning signs indicating septic system damage or failure
  • How your home water use affects the lifespan of your septic system
  • What to avoid putting down the drain
  • The availability of loans and grants for septic system repairs and replacement

In addition to a better understanding on how to care for and maintain your on-site septic system, all workshop attendees will receive a $10 discount on septic tank pumping. 

Please sign up here or call (360) 867-2673 to reserve a seat at any of the following workshops:

Wednesday, September 16, 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Rochester Community Center, 10140 Highway 12, Rochester

Thursday, September 17, 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Pellegrinos Event Center, 5757 Littlerock Road SW, Tumwater

Wednesday, September 23, 7:00 – 9:00 PM
South Bay Fire Station, 3506 Shincke Road NE, Olympia

Thursday, September 24, 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Thurston County Fairgrounds Expo Center, 3054 Carpenter Road SE, Lacey

To register, please call 360-867-2673 or click here to sign up online at the Thurston County Environmental Health website. Space is limited, so please register as soon as possible. If you are unable to attend any of these workshops but have questions regarding the care and maintenance of your septic system, please call the Septic Help Line at 360-867-2669.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Become a volunteer for the Healthy Homes Program!

What: Thurston County’s Healthy Homes Program trains volunteers to provide free home visits to Thurston County residents to encourage behavior and actions to promote healthy living spaces – such as dealing with and preventing mold, creating healthy indoor air, reducing asthma triggers, reducing exposure to toxins, and more. We have a free volunteer training coming up this fall! You can learn all about housing-related health risks and how to prevent and reduce them. This training includes expert guest speakers, field trips, and opportunities to put what you learn into practice. It’s fun and the knowledge gained is useful in our daily lives.

Who: This training is for people interested (or who work) in housing, improving health, safety, and giving back to the community. No prior experience is necessary; the training teaches all you need to know to conduct Healthy Homes Visits in pairs. These visits are free, voluntary, and completely confidential. We don’t do any sort of enforcement or mediation. We are invited to do the visit by the resident, where we perform a checklist and walk-through. Based on what we find we provide information, guidance, and resource lists to the residents to help them take the next steps. We are flexible with volunteer hours for people who will use the knowledge and skills from the training in their regular work.

Why: Housing conditions can cause health problems or make existing health problems much worse. This is especially the case for children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems. There are many simple, low or no cost ways for people to reduce the risks of housing-related health issues and our goal is to educate and empower residents to create habits that promote the healthiest possible living space. Program staff are available to work with and help volunteers to feel comfortable and confident in providing Healthy Homes Visits.

When: The training starts September 15 and runs every Tuesday from 6-9 p.m. through November 17, 2015. This is a total of 30 hours of fun, hands-on training and afterwards we ask volunteers to provide 30 hours of volunteer service (which is about 10 home visits) as their schedules allow. Volunteers can also put in time by participating in booths at community events, performing outreach, or working on special projects. We are flexible with volunteer hours for people who will use the knowledge and skills from the training in their regular work.

Where: The training is held at the Thurston County Public Health at 412 Lilly Rd. NE, Olympia, 98506; across from St. Peter’s Hospital. Intercity Transit bus routes # 60, 62A, and 62B serve the area. To sign up or find out more, contact coordinator, Elisa Kaufmann at  or 360-867-2674 (TDD 360-867-2603.) If transportation is an issue for anyone who is interested, please don’t let that stop you from applying. We are close to bus routes and there is a good chance that volunteers attending the training can carpool.

Apply today!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Recycle Light Bulbs for FREE

Disposing of your used-up light bulbs doesn’t have to be difficult. Some light bulbs, such as compact fluorescents (CFLs), require special care in use and disposal because they contain mercury. Thankfully, it’s free to recycle them safely. The tricky part is keeping them safe while storing and transporting them to a convenient location, but don’t worry, we’re here to help with that.

Transport safely
Ideally, store the used bulbs back in their original box and take them safely to the recycling location of your choice. Another way is to wrap them in paper and carefully place them into a cardboard 6-pack container. If travelling with loose bulbs, wrap carefully in paper or plastic and place into a box to keep from rolling around.  Don’t tape them together.

What if one breaks?
Avoid breathing vapors or touching broken materials.
Do not vacuum or sweep. Open windows to vent vapors for at least 15 minutes while keeping people and pets out of the area. After this, you can clean up the mess by following these simple steps.
  1. Use stiff paper or cardboard to pick up large pieces.
  2. Use duct tape to pick up small pieces and powder.
  3. Wipe the area clean with a disposable damp paper towel or wet wipe.
  4. Place all materials in a sealed container.
  5. Wash your hands thoroughly.
  6. Dispose of cleaned up, broken blubs at HazoHouse — not in your trash.

Where to recycle
Many bulbs nowadays contain some mercury including compact fluorescent tubes (CFLs), high-intensity-discharge (HID) lamps, neon lamps and mercury vapor lamps. This is why there are special requirements for cleaning up and why they can’t go into your regular trash. They can be recycled at HazoHouse, located at the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center on Hogum Bay Rd. in Lacey.  HazoHouse accepts most unwanted household hazardous materials for free and is open everyday from 8 – 4:45.

Thanks to Light Recycle Washington, there are many other locations that accept unwanted fluorescent bulbs and tubes for free – many of these locations limit their acceptance to 10 bulbs per day.

Fluorescent bulbs
  • Batteries Plus Bulbs on Capital Mall Dr. in Olympia
  • Home Depot (all locations) – Tumwater off Littlerock Rd., Olympia on Fones Rd., Lacey on Marvin Rd.
  • Lincoln Creek Lumber/Ace Hardware at 2421 93rd Ave., SW, Tumwater
  • Lowe’s (all locations) – Lacey off Yelm Highway, Olympia on Martin Way
  • Olympia Ace Hardware at 400 Cooper Point Rd. SW
  • Puget Sound Energy at 2711 Pacific Ave. SE in Olympia

  • There is no way to recycle incandescent bulbs, simply place in the trash. 

LED (light emitting diode) lights

  • They are not considered hazardous, last many years and can be safely disposed of in the trash.