STEP Sewer System Information

STEP (Septic Tank Effluent Pumping) System is part of the City of sewer pictureYelm’s sewage system and is owned, operated, and maintained by the City of Yelm. Electrical service is provided by separate utility service from the house panel. The on-lot equipment consists of the pretreatment tank, pump, control panel, and miscellaneous appurtenances. 

STEP Dos and Don’ts

  • DO – Call 360-458-8411 whenever the alarm comes on. It sounds like a smoke alarm. The audible alarm can be silenced by pushing the illuminated light located directly above the “PUSH TO SILENCE” label on the front of the electrical control panel. With normal use, the tank has a reserve storage capacity good for approximately 24 hours.
  • DO- Call 360-458-8411 if your drains are running slowly. The problem may be in either the STEP tank or in your household plumbing. A city representative will check and correct any problems in the pretreatment tank, if it is found to be in your household plumbing, you will be advised to call a plumber.
  • DO – Feel free to place a yard decoration on the tank riser as long as it can be readily removed for the sake of maintenance (less than 30 lbs). Landscaping or permanent structures should be planned in order to ensure that the integrity of the system is not jeopardized. Unless you have a steel lid, don’t drive over the lid.
  • DON’T – Shut off the breaker marked “Yelm Sewer” in your electrical breaker panel. This would shut down all power to both the pump and could cause a backup in your home
  • DON’T – Flush undesirable substances into the sewer. DO NOT FLUSH flammable materials, plastics, cigarette butts, sanitary napkins, contraceptives, excessive grease, coffee grounds, excessive hair, disposable diapers, paper towels or rags, dental floss, food items containing seeds and peelings,  or garbage disposal waste
  • DON’T – Enter your tank. Any work to the tank should be done from the outside by authorized personnel. Gases that can be generated in the tank and/or the lack of oxygen can be fatal

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.