If you buy, move, or convert land, you may need a perc test to check how quickly the soil drains. Perc test is a very important aspect of any legal and safe property transfer or improvement. After all, every property owner wants to know if their property can handle a new or improved sewer system!
Not sure how to get a perc test or why you need it? This guide will help you understand what a perc test is, how it works, when you should get one, the average cost, and other important information you need to know. This section explains.
What Is a Perc Test?
In other words, the perc test measures the water absorption rate of soil. More specifically, the perc test determines how long it takes soil to drain added moisture to the ground. Percentage tests are often important for all properties with a sewage system as they help determine the best locations to install drains, filter fields, or other sewage system elements. Most Perc tests are completed by trained professionals who specialize in sewerage system design or land surveying.
If You Want A Percentage Test
Imagine if the properties were improved, but there was a septic tank installed in the soil and the water was not draining well. In such scenarios, the consequences can be costly (not to mention sickening).
Perc tests help land surveyors and construction workers determine whether a septic system is accurate or inaccurate. Additionally, many municipalities require a perc test before building a new sewer system or replacing an old sewer system.
A septic tank retains wastewater long enough for it to naturally separate into solids and liquids. The clarified liquid is channeled several feet underground into a drain or funnel. At this point, the surrounding soil is poured with liquid.
As you can imagine, the septic tank soil must be well drainable for this system to work optimally. Check the mixture for the content of gravel and other elements. Clay or rocky soils are generally not suitable for installation of sewage systems, as they do not have high drainage rates.
Additionally, perc testing may be important in rural areas that do not benefit from municipal sanitation systems. Failing the test may prevent you from building houses in certain areas. For developers and investors, this means perc testing is doubly important. Because it determines the basis on which you need to bid.
Who Can Run Perc Tests And How To Do A Perc Test?
A perc test is always completed by a septic specialist or land surveyor who has the necessary equipment and insight to complete the test. Official exams must be taken by a qualified professional and are not necessarily very complicated.
In fact most perc tests are fairly simple. When an expert digs one or more holes and looks at how long it takes for water to drain from the holes, he measures the drainage rate of the surrounding soil. They specifically measure “filtration rate”. This is obtained by taking the amount of water put into the hole and dividing by the time it took to drain.
For example, if it takes 2 hours to drain about 2 inches of water, the soil to soil ratio is 1 inch/hour. Some complex perc tests may involve more advanced processes.
- The expert allows him to dig one or several holes in the soil of the proposed drainage.
- After the pit is dug, the loose soil is scraped away and a professional fills the pit with up to 2 inches of gravel.
- Soil is pre-soaked to mimic the saturation of a typical sewage system
- Twelve inches of water are placed in the holes for at least four hours during the presoak.
- The specialist will come back the next day and fill the hole with water to test it (usually covering at least 6 inches of gravel)
- After that, the specialist makes measurements every 15-30 minutes to determine the filtration rate.
A perc test is easy, but a home test kit is not the best option. Where to drill, who is drilling, and what to look for when interpreting results are all important factors. This means that investors, potential homeowners, and developers alike should reach out to professionals to complete perc testing if possible.
Often, county health and environmental agencies have experts who can go to a specific lot and take a perc test. Alternatively, developers and investors may hire independent engineers. Note that there are certain rules about how often the perc test must be repeated on a particular plot. The perc test should typically be repeated every 2-5 years, mainly when needed.
Percent Test Laws And Regulations
When ordering land perc tests, you should also be aware that there are different laws and regulations depending on where the test is performed. Therefore, you should always contact your county health department to find out if local laws or restrictions may affect sanitary installation procedures or perc testing.
For example, many counties require health department employees to be present at inspections. This requires both the lab and the health care professional to be on medication at the same time, which can shorten the appropriate date for testing.
Other counties may require a perc test by a “licensed soil expert” or require a lab to be selected from a list of pre-licensed individuals. On top of all this, many countries have regulations on how many tests can be run in a short period of time and how many perc tests must be repeated to ensure long-term soil drainage.
As noted above, most perc tests should be repeated every 2-5 years. However, the exact period varies greatly from state to state.
How Much Does Perc Test Cost?
As you can see, the perc exam cost can be greatly affected by the time it takes to complete the exam. An undeveloped site may only take 1-3 hours, while a site that needs to replace the sewage system may take longer. Ultimately, a perc exam can cost $750 or more.
Perc test costs typically vary widely by municipality and county. The average labor cost for a standard perc test is $100-$200 per hour, but some counties may charge a professional a flat rate of $300 for the entire test.
- Average cost to test by land area
When it comes to leaching tests, the more holes that are drilled, the more accurate predictions the practitioner can make about the leaching rate of the surrounding soil. It is necessary to open at a distance. Here is the breakdown of the average perc test cost by acre or land size:
- 25 acres – $150 – $250
- 5 Acres – $300 – $500
- 75 acres – $450 – $750
- 1 Acre – $600 – $900
- 2 acres – $900 – $1400
- 5 Acres – $1100 – $2000
In general, the more ground that needs to be surveyed, the more holes that need to be dug and the more labor costs for percentage testing.
- Cost of perc test by hole size
Perc test cost can also be affected by the size of the hole that needs to be drilled. Most test holes are 2-3 feet deep, but some are as deep as 6 feet underground. Perc test holes often start at 6 inches wide, but can reach 3 feet in diameter.
Typically, you can expect the cost of testing to increase by $100 to $150 for each additional foot of depth or width added to the hole. For example, a 2 foot deep hole may cost $200, but a 3 foot high hole may cost $300.
Additional Costs And Considerations
Depending on plot details, there may be additional costs and considerations when taking the perc exam, including:
- Permit fee, but no permit is normally required for candidacy exams
- Technician fees if your county requires a certified technician
- Sanitation Plan Requirements and Fees
- Location cost. Slopes and slippery soils may require several perc tests to be performed, increasing labor costs.
- Laboratory tests that may be required to test the soil for the content of certain minerals or drainage factors
- Additional tests or packages required to get perc test done.
Pros And Cons Of Percentage Tests
As with anything, there are pros and cons. Developers are familiar with perc land testing, but first-time land buyers may not consider doing so.
It’s a good idea to buy the land you want to build on someday. Even if you don’t plan to build on top of it, you might want to sell it to someone who wants to build on it one day, so it might be a good idea. They can prevent you from buying unbuildable land.It can also affect how much you are willing to pay for land.
If a decontamination system is required prior to constructing the lot, a spoil permit from the local health authority will be required. This means it must pass the Burke test. These results can give you valuable reassurance before making an offer.
Examining soil and water characteristics can provide many possibilities for passing the PERC test. Sandy soils are well-drained, resulting in good filtration. A nearby pond, swampy stream may indicate a high groundwater table and poor ratio test results.
Perc tests can cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000 or more, depending on location and local regulations. The main cost is hiring an excavator and operator to dig the hole and a sewer engineer or soil scientist to take measurements.
It can take time for soil scientists and sanitary engineers to write reports and submit them to health authorities. If you don’t care about drainage and don’t plan to build on your land, doing a perc test can be a waste of money.
FAQs About Perc Test
- What Is a Perc Test?
A perc test is a procedure performed to check the drainage of water in various types of soil. It is important in many applications, such as when designing sewage filtration stations, planning building designs, or when considering agricultural uses of land.
- What Is a Perk Test For Land?
A seepage test (commonly known as a percolation test) is a test to examine the water absorption rate (penetration power) of soil in preparation for the construction of sewage drainage facilities (seepage fields) and seepage ponds.
- What is a Filter Test Report?
The infiltration test report is the official result of the soil and its infiltration rate. Perc test reports are typically required for refurbishment or planning of new sewerage systems. Reports are submitted to the local county health department and formally become part of the public registry.
Perc test reports include logical data points such as test date, technician name, results, and conditions of the perc test itself. Most perc test reports are 1-2 pages long and relatively straightforward.Once you have the results, look for an average ratio of 1 to 30 minutes per inch of soil. This is the ideal filtration rate Percentage test alternative failed
Just because the soil on your plot fails a perc test doesn’t mean you’re completely out of options, it doesn’t mean the soil is completely unusable. You can talk to your local health department representative.
They may be able to provide a record of past tests so you can see how the water levels have changed over time. may not have been performed in the correct area.
You can also dig holes in different locations with different soil content. These areas may be suitable for new or refurbished sewage systems. Alternatively, you can consider digging deeper and placing a sewage system deeper under the soil. Other alternative options are:
- Appeal results to your local county health department
- Installation of septic tank treatment system
- Install a septic tank larger than planned
- Use of alternative sewage systems such as pasture and installation systems
- Connect your facility to the municipal water network.
Ultimately, land developments require perc test, especially if the property in question cannot connect to the municipal water network. A Perc test is important to ensure that every property’s sewer system is working properly. Before ordering a Perc test from your county health official, make sure you understand the appropriate requirements and standards for Perc testing.