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Town RV dump station to close permanently May 20

The Town of Friday Harbor will permanently close its RV sewage dump station on May 20, 2022. Residents and visitors will need to find alternative means of disposal.

“This closure is required for the protection of our wastewater treatment plant, and thereby the protection of our marine environment,” said Town Administrator Denice Kulseth, adding that the Town has a responsibility to ensure its wastewater treatment plant continues to operate efficiently in order to protect the fragile waters of Puget Sound.

Kulseth said the state Department of Ecology has been urging this closure for several years and has advised that it would be wise to close the dump station before summer. New permitting requirements including the Puget Sound Nutrient General Permit have added to the urgency.

“The close proximity of an unregulated dump station to the treatment plant creates considerable risk for a serious impact to our plant,” said Kulseth explaining that there is too little distance to allow dilution of dangerous contaminants before they enter the treatment system.

To allow users time to arrange for alternative means of disposal, the RV dump station will remain available 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays through May 20; users must pay a $20 dump fee and place a $20 deposit at Town Hall to pick up a key. Commercial use of the station is limited.

The removal of the dump station is a small part of changes the Town is making at the plant to ensure compliance with more stringent state permitting regulations. A two to three year, $16 million upgrade to the Town’s wastewater plant is scheduled to begin later this year. For more information about the Town wastewater system, go to www.fridayharbor.org.



  • Joel Clark Thursday, 21 April 2022 16:52 Comment Link Report

    This certainly brings up a few concerns. Thank you, John, for pointing out the existence of the Anacortes dump station. I wanted to know if we could dump the RV tanks into our home septic tanks if we arrived home unable to have used an off-island dump station. Apparently that can be done as long as the RV holding tanks have not been chemically treated. The chemicals would kill the digestive organisms needed for the septic to work.
    Apparently there are a few RV tank treatments that use an enzyme formula, rather than chemicals and that this is actually healthy for the septic system.
    I ordered Walex Bioblubg (Bio-Pak) for future use in case I end up needing to dump in our septic system.

  • Kimbal Sundberg Thursday, 21 April 2022 10:54 Comment Link Report

    This looks like an urgent need for San Juan Island and Ecology to walk their talk about “sustainability” and solve our collective problem with sewage treatment. The ToFH wastewater treatment plant is obviously not up to the task of treating sewage generated by people living here and visiting our island. The treatment plant cannot accept the septage generated by 1,000’s of residential septic tanks, requiring it to be hauled off on ferries at great expense and energy consumption. More septic systems are being created every day. Boats are required to pump out their sewage tanks at the Port. Now, RV’s which house both visitors and residents alike have no alternative but to haul their sewage off-island, or worse dump it on our island or in a creek. I urge SJC, ToFH, and ECY to work collectively for a sustainable solution to managing human sewage….seems like a basic function of government.

  • Jim Reuscher Thursday, 21 April 2022 10:14 Comment Link Report

    This seems to be a Very Shortsighted decision. Where do you suggest that visitors dump their sewage ? The town and County cannot in good conscience invite all these people to come visit, spend their money and not provide services to accommodate them.
    You are going to have random dumping of sewage so you best prepare for that !

    Jim Reuscher
    Friday Harbor.

  • Johntbowe Thursday, 21 April 2022 09:19 Comment Link Report

    I read today that the town of Friday Harbor is shutting down the public sanitary dump site. Thus seems to be intended to stop rv’s from emptying their holding tanks. I just returned Wednesday from a 5 day trip to the mainland. I have a 40’ rv.
    I stopped in anacortes to use their dump station since I had a few hours to spare before the ferry. It’s a very nice spot to do this absolutely necessary thing. It’s free there and again, very nice.
    I can’t say the same about the dump here in Friday harbor. It’s an eyesore. And the town not only charges, it requires you get and return a key. Ridiculous.
    There are many people that need to use this dump. How Many trailers, fifth wheelers and rv’s are on this island? And I assume the people who empty septic tanks must dump into the same system. They do in anacortes. Only 25’ from the rv dump.
    Obviously there is an issue that the town cannot control. Perhaps they could figure out a better way to address their problems.
    If not, I bet there will be sewage dumped on the ground around the island.

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