FAQs About Soil and Perc Testing

Why Soil and Perc Testing is Essential Before Installing Septic Systems

Sewer systems are crucial engineering marvels when it comes to public health. Without a reliable sanitary sewer system, people would constantly be exposed to waste, and diseases would run rampant. Unfortunately, a public sewer system may be out of reach for people who value space and independence.

Sewer systems are expensive to build and maintain. That’s why local taxes paid by incorporated areas in a town go to pay for them. Once someone crosses outside of the city limits, other options for dealing with sewage will have to be considered. Luckily, the technology that allows people to live safe and civilized lives off a sewer grid is easily possible. Still, careful planning and testing should be carried out to determine if building in a certain spot is possible. 

The article briefly introduces septic systems designed to handle a home’s sewage and what goes into preparing to install one. These concepts are essential for those buying land to build their dream home in the country. 

What Is Soil and Perc Testing?

testingIn a septic system, a large tank is buried underground to collect all of the sewage in a home. Bacterial action breaks down most solids to the point that they can flow out of the tank along with the other effluent into a system of drainage lines. These lines leech the effluent into a drain field where the water returns to the environment safely. 

Before a septic tank can be installed, the ability of the surrounding soil to absorb and drain water has to be determined. This is done by a percolation test, or “perc test.” During a perc test, an expert digs a hole in the proposed drain field and observes how fast water drains from the hole. The soil is suitable for a septic system if the water drains faster than the threshold. 

Why Is Soil and Perc Testing Necessary?

In short, the authorities require soil and perc testing before a home can be built. In rural areas, the county often ensures that a property passes the tests before construction on a home can begin. Without suitable soil or a septic tank, sewage will not be dealt with safely, and the homeowner could expose themselves to dangerous pathogens and contaminate surrounding water resources. Before buying rural land with hopes of building a home, always make the passing of a perc test a contingency for purchase. 

Why Do Sites Fail Soil and Perc Tests?

testsSince the beginning of construction depends on passing a perc test, most potential builders want to know what influences it. The answer is that several things can cause a site to fail a perc test. Some conditions that cause a perc test to fail are: 

  • High water table
  • Shallow soil
  • Bedrock near the soil surface
  • Sandy soil 
  • Heavy clay soils 
  • Proximity to wetlands or bodies of water 

If a site fails the perc test, other sewer treatment options may be less traditional. Always get answers before beginning construction. 

About Capital City Septic Services

Capital City Septic Services handles septic tank installations from beginning to end. Their experts test, design, and install septic systems of all sizes. Call today for septic tank service in Tallahassee, FL. 

Distribution Links +

Installing a New Septic System? Don’t Neglect Soil Testing and Perc Testing!

Everything a Homeowner Needs to Know About Soil and Perc Testing

Because clean water is so important to people’s health and hygiene, it is no wonder that there are regulations regarding groundwater and septic systems, even in the remotest of rural areas. If human waste and contaminants get into the groundwater, it can affect the safety of animals and people for miles. Because a septic system is made to process waste and allow it to be reabsorbed into the soil through a series of perforated pipes called leach lines, there must be tests of the surrounding soil to verify its makeup and perc tests or percolation tests that measure how quickly the water is absorbed. 

The Soil Test and The Perc Test: What Are They and What Do They Mean?

testingWhen doing the groundwork for septic systems, it is essential to understand a few of the surrounding soil characteristics. Though both tests are concerned with water absorption, they measure two different things.

The soil test measures:

The perc test is done by digging holes between 6 and 12 inches in diameter and filling them with water. The time it takes for the water to absorb is then divided by the number of inches deep the hole is. This measurement is called the percolation rate in minutes/inch. 

Why Are These Tests Necessary?

testingAgain, there can be consequences for an entire region if the groundwater is contaminated, but other problems can also come up. Soil that absorbs water either too quickly (faster than 15 minutes per inch) or too slowly (more than 105 minutes per inch) can cause the following issues for homes and homeowners. 

  • Flooding: A septic system on poorly draining soil (dense soil or high clay content, for example) may flood an area.
  • Endangering Wildlife: If the leach lines are near runoff areas or the septic system is near environmentally sensitive or fragile areas, there can be contamination issues.
  • Sewage Backups: There is nothing grosser than waste coming back up the drain instead of going down it. 

What Does a Failed Perc Test or Soil Test Mean?

A failed perc test usually means that building must be halted for the time being. There may need to be discussions with the county health department about certain levels and what can be done. There may be alternatives that can allow for construction on the site. If a person is looking into buying land, they should verify that there is either availability of municipal sewer or the land has recently passed a perc test. This will ensure a person can build a home with a septic system on the land they have just purchased.

About Capital City Septic Services

Capital City Septic Services in Tallahassee, FL is a family-owned and operated business that works hard for its customers. They are available for septic tank repairs and installation. Call today for straightforward prices and personalized solutions.