Buying an undeveloped property can be exciting. How you will intend to use it will dictate what needs to be done to it. You are in total control of your properties future. Does it already have a sanitary sewer hook-up? If not, you'll want to have a septic system installed. You'll naturally want to figure the cost to install septic tank and leach field before anything else gets started. This is where a percolation test or soil test comes in. Call the experts at San Luis Obispo, CA Percolation & Soil Testing to have an accurate reading on the soil for your new property.
Do I Need a Percolation Test?
This question hinges on the answer of what you are going to utilize the property for and if there is already a sanitary sewer hook-up present on the property. But if you want to build on the land and don't have an existing sanitary sewer hook-up, a percolation or soil test is highly recommended before you buy the property. There are alternatives to the traditional or conventional sewer system that doesn't require the use of a leach field, but you'll need to know that as well so you have all property costs before you buy.
What is a Percolation Test? Soil Test?
A soil test for septic, best known as a perc test, is a specific test to determine how quickly and how well soil will hold and absorb a known amount of water. The technicians at San Luis Obispo, CA Percolation & Soil Testing will begin the test by digging specific sized holes at various depths within the area of the proposed leach field. Once all holes are dug, the technician will pour a specific amount of water in the hole and will time how long it takes for the surrounding ground to absorb it—this is known as the soils percolation rate. Sandy soil percolates quicker, while clay soil and soil that is located close to the water table will percolate at a slower rate. Guidelines have been established for acceptable percolation times, which will indicate if the ground is going to be acceptable to be used as a septic tank leach field.
How A Percolation Test is Done
As noted above, the technician will begin the soil test for septic or perk test by digging 3 holes that measure 6 to 8 feet in diameter and at varying depths ranging from 3 feet to 6 feet below ground level. If a more thorough perk test is required, either by local ordinances or other reasons, 5 holes will be dug with each corner of the proposed leach field receiving a hole and a fifth hole being dug in the center of the proposed leach field.
The test is measured by minutes of absorption per inch and guidelines have been set by health code recommendations of your municipality. These guidelines also depend on the size of the proposed leach field. The last step to a soil test for septic systems is to dig a hole to a depth of 12 feet, or as deep as the technician can, to measure the depth of the water table. Once all measurements are taken, the guidelines will be referred to and a decision will be made if a leach field can be constructed in that area. Once you receive a passing perc test, a sewer permit will be issued and design and construction can begin.
Can I build a septic system without performing a percolation test?
The short answer is “no”. You'll need a septic permit to legally build a septic system on your property. Without a passing soil test for septic, you won't be able to get a septic permit. This permit issuance prevents any non-passing perc test from contaminating the groundwater. You may be able to receive an alternative permit by utilizing a water treatment system that doesn't require a perc test, but you'll need to check with your municipality to see if this is an option in your area.
How much does a typical perc test cost?
While prices vary due to lot size and local regulations, a typical perc test costs within the range of $100 to $1,000 in San Luis Obispo, CA.
Do I need to have a soil test for septic performed annually?
The typical perc test is valid for 3 to 5 years from the date of testing.