soil percolation test

What Exactly is a Percolation Test and Why Do I Need One?

Photo by Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash

What is a perc test and what does it have to do with septic systems? If you’ve never purchased land or needed to install a septic system, then chances are that you have no clue what a percolation test is. But if you’re about to follow through on a purchase, or you’re developing your land, then you’ll soon start hearing the term crop up.

In a nutshell, a perc test is a soil evaluation that’s carried out by a professional, who monitors the rate at which water passes through soil, focusing on how readily it absorbs the water. This test is done to see if your land is suitable to install a septic system and it is crucial in determining how you go about designing and installing the system.

Municipalities stipulate that these tests must be carried out in order to comply with legal construction requirements, so it’s paramount that land owners do this.

How it is Carried Out:

Depending on your soil type and composition, your perc professional may simply drill a hole through the ground, pour water through it, and time how long it takes the water to be absorbed, or they may have to take a sample of soil and get it tested at a lab. The expense of the process will be determined by the sort of test that is required.

Why is a Soil Percolation Test So Important?

Septic systems require leach fields (areas that help drain excess water). How successful these leach fields are depends on your soil composition. Soil plays a vital role in drainage and in containing contaminants or toxic waste and neutralizing it. When a septic system gets filled with solids, excess water drains out into the leach fields and the process of percolation begins (the drainage of soil moisture).

Percolation is just one step in the filtration process, which includes evaporation, transpiration and absorption by plant roots. Whatever water is left, flows through to the ground water, and you now have a healthy, clean and environmentally-friendly system.

So, getting back to the point of how important a perc test is: you won’t be able to move ahead with any construction on your land until you have carried out a perc test. With this test, you are able to acquire a septic permit, and with this permit, you get the green light for building. Having this permit is key to the value of your property – of course, if you can build on it, the land becomes much more valuable. Which is why you should first conduct a soil perc test before you buy land to inform your decision. 

At Shadai, we have our own soil experts, who have plenty of experience from the hundreds of septic system projects they have been involved with. With our own ‘soil scientists’, the process of getting you that permit is sped up and you can rest assured, knowing that you’ll have a clean, green and well-functioning septic system.

If you have any queries about our percolation tests, you are most welcome to give us a call to discuss.

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