FBSD is dedicated to providing top-level sewer service to our customers while protecting the public health, the waters, and the environment of Lopez Island, Fisherman Bay, and the Salish Sea. As a public utility, FBSD operates under the authority of Title 57 of the Revised Code of Washington and is subject to Federal, State and Local regulations.
FBSD works with the State of Washington Department of Ecology to ensure reliable, efficient, and effective sewer service to Lopez Village and other properties, both commercial and residential, within the District's boundaries. For more information on FBSD Rates and Admin Code, click HERE. To see other useful information for new and current property owners, click HERE.
FBSD is in the preliminary stages of upgrading our Plant to meet the growing needs of our community.
For more information click HERE to see the 2021
General Sewer & Facilities Plan From Wilson Engineering.
FBSD was formed in 1976 as a municipal corporation with a charter to protect the ecology of Fisherman Bay. Its four employees are managed by a board of three commissioners who are elected to staggered six-year terms. FBSD is a STEP (Septic Tank Effluent Processing) system. Customers install and own septic tanks with pumps that pump their effluent liquid through our network of approximately 9 miles of sewer lines to our processing plant on Lopez Road. This plant employs facultative bacteria in sequential anaerobic and aerobic processing. This is followed by a constructed wetland polishing and a final chemical treatment before discharging to the Salish Sea. The plant is licensed by the Washington State Department of Ecology to process 53,000 gallons of waste water per day. The Department provides strict performance and reporting requirements due to the health, safety and ecological issues associated with the pathogens present in sewers.
Like much of the infrastructure in this country, the District’s piping network, plant, and many of our customer septic systems are aging and we are observing the resulting failures and leaks. This situation sometimes requires emergency repairs and replacements that are expensive and are not covered by normal operating budgets. We have two categories of leaks that we are currently dealing with. The first of these are leaks in old or failing septic tanks. These leaks allow rain and groundwater to inappropriately enter our system and may allow sewage to leak out into the environment. The Department of Ecology has directed us to systematically eliminate these problems. To deal with these growing situations the District has improved our inspection systems to better detect problems with septic tanks. We inspect residential septic tanks every other year and commercial systems every year. Failed tanks need to be replaced quickly. We also require inspections of septic systems prior to the sale of a property in the District.
The second type of leak is a failure in our sewer network where contaminated water in our pressurized system leaks out of our piping, typically at underground pipe joints, and percolates to the surface where it is a biological health hazard to the public. We repair these leaks as soon as they are discovered and dispose of the contaminated soil. In some cases, where we discover high frequency failures, we may replace an entire line. We are finding that both of these types of leaks are occurring with increasing frequency and that, in many cases, older technology and installation techniques are contributors to the failures.