Sewer Utility

cochraneThe City of Yelm manages the City's wastewater, which is all of the water that leaves the inside of your home or business and enters the City sewer system. Wastewater then flows through city owned and maintained pipes into the Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) where it receives treatment to meet Class A Reclaimed Water standards. More information regarding reclaimed water can be found through the Department of Ecology

Yelm's wastewater collection system is unique in that it uses a pressurized system called a STEP system to convey wastewater to the WRF. STEP stands for Septic Tank Effluent Pump. Your STEP system includes a holding tank for sewage, a screen chamber, and a small pump within the tank. The liquid waste is pumped through a small pressure line into sewer lines leading to the Yelm WRF. The STEP system pump is controlled by a system of floats within your tank. The electrical box mounted on the side of your house controls the floats and pumps. The floats activate an alarm in the electrical box when the fluid level in the tank gets too high or too low. In order to avoid the possibility of contributing to the failure of your STEP system.

Do not flush the following down the drain:

  • Disposable diapers 
  • Egg shells, nutshells, and coffee grounds 
  • Sanitary napkins, tampons, condoms, or any non-organic material 
  • Paper towels or rags 
  • Hair 
  • Dental floss 
  • Food items containing seeds and peelings 
  • Fats, oils, and greases 
  • Limit or eliminate your use of a garbage disposal. Instead, consider composting your feed waste items. 
Should a failure of your STEP system occur and the City responds to your alarm, please remember the following:

  • Tank lids must remain visible and must NOT be covered by sod, shrubs, or bark and maintain a 24-inch clearance.
  • It is possible that major landscaping items, e.g., shrubs and trees that obstruct access to the tank lids may be damaged during the performance of operation and maintenance activities. In accordance with the STEP system easement, the owner waives any claim against the City for damage to said items in the case where work by the City is done in a reasonable manner. 
  • You must maintain a 3-foot clearance around and in front of the electrical (alarm) box. This means no shrubs or fences can block the box. This allows technicians to access the box to perform routine and emergency maintenance.
  • Please make sure your alarm box is located in front of your fence line. Why? Because if your alarm box is located behind a fence, we cannot perform maintenance unless you are home.
The City of Yelm is responsible for the following items:

  • Repairing and maintaining the STEP system tank, electrical (alarm) box, and outlet lines from the tank. 
  • Checking the system and sludge levels in the tank and when necessary, sludge removal. 
  • Periodically checking and removing the sludge in the tank (approximately every three years). 
The Homeowner is responsible for the following items:

  • Repairing and maintaining the home plumbing and sewer line from the house to the STEP system tank. 
  • Damages to the home or STEP system that occur due to the City's inability to access the STEP system (e.g., electrical box behind a fence). 
  • Providing electricity for the pump and controls. 
  • Calling to report an alarm, and minimizing water use during an emergency. 
  • Eliminating the disposal of improper material into the STEP system.
To review current engineering and development standards, please visit Development Guidelines.

If you experience a water system malfunction or emergency at any time please call 360-458-3244, including after business hours, on weekends, or during holidays and you will be connected to a dispatcher who will send someone to your location.

If you experience a sewer system malfunction or if your sewer alarm comes on at any time please call 360-458-8411 to be connected to our sewer treatment plant. If you call after business hours, on weekends, or during holidays, your call will be routed to a call-out phone and one of our employees will promptly reply.