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?
When 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:
- Soil composition (clay content, etc.)
- Subterranean conditions
- Level of the water table
- Water absorption rate of the soil
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?
Again, 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.