New program offers incentives for keeping Lake Tapps clean

Becoming Lake TappsWise certified could lead to savings on a septic inspections and pumping.

Cascade Water Alliance and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department are teaming up to protect Lake Tapps and give homeowners around the lake incentive to do the same.

The new program, called Lake TappsWise, offers free information and workshops on how to naturally care for your yard and maintain your septic system.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for all of us to remember what we should do with wise yard care and how to keep our septic systems healthy,” said Elaine Kraft, communications director at Cascade. “Poor choice of fertilizer, not natural yard care and failing septics really are what contribute a great deal to the flourishing of milfoil and other things in the lake.”

Lake Tapps is no stranger to milfoil or toxic algae blooms, which are naturally occurring but can be exacerbated by fertilizers, pesticides and human waste. In August 2016, a total of 14 people got sick after swimming in the lake, with their symptoms seeming consistent with exposure to toxic cyanobacteria, or blue green algae.

Kraft said these Lake Tapps’ algae blooms are normal, but can be mitigated through better lawn and septic care.

“When you look at lakes in the northwest, this is not at all unusual. We just want to minimize it, don’t feed them, and keep the lake as healthy as we can,” she said, adding Lake Tapps will eventually be used for water supply, “and we don’t want the algae in there either, any more than the people who live there want it.”

The new program will ask lakeside residents to complete a checklist of tasks to become Lake TappsWise certified and receive an “attractive” sign for your property.

And if that’s not enough incentive, being Lake TappsWise certified could “significantly lower the cost of a septic system inspection and pumping.”

But don’t wait too long — Kraft said the incentive to lower the price of a septic system inspection will only be given to the “first significant number of people who respond quickly.”

The program will kick off on April 26 with a community meeting at North Tapps Middle School at 6 p.m.

East Pierce Fire and Rescue will also be attending, advertising their swim safe program and their sign locator program.

There will also be free workshops at the Tapps Island Clubhouse, but you have to register at

The first is Saturday, May 5 at 10 a.m. to noon, and will focus on natural yard care.

The second is Wednesday, May 16, from 6 to 8 p.m., and will focus on septic systems.

To start becoming Lake TappsWise certified, go to or call 253.798.2856 for information on the program and to schedule a free TappsWise certification visit.

More in News

Following state lead, Enumclaw to allow pit bulls

The city council unanimously agreed the ban exemptions on July 8.

Live music options abound this summer

There are still many concerts you can catch in Buckley and Enumclaw.

All invited to downtown cycle rally

The second annual FXR and Bike Show is on July 20.

Mom and Me offers free medical care to everyone

The mobile clinic travels south King County and east Pierce County offering myriad services. Its founders want to expand to a permanent clinic in Buckley.

VoteWA is a $9.5 million program that came online last May and is meant to unify all 39 county voting systems in the state into a single entity. Courtesy image
WA’s new voting system concerns county elections officials

VoteWA has run into some problems in recent months as the Aug. 6 primary election draws closer.

‘Feedback loops’ of methane, CO2 echo environmental problem beyond Washington

University of Washington among researchers of climate change’s effects in global temperatures.

Sundays On Cole opens season with more vendors

There is also more entertainment and beer options.

Library has new survey for preferred event options

Let librarians know what classes and programs you’d like to see in the near future.

County to visit Enumclaw, ensuring pets are licensed

There are many places in town where you can purchase a license.

Most Read