United Properties of NC

Understanding Perc Tests: How to Determine If Your Land Percolates

When considering building on undeveloped land, one crucial factor to assess is whether the land “percs” or has adequate soil absorption for a septic system. Perc tests, short for percolation tests, help determine the land’s ability to absorb and filter wastewater effectively. In this article, we will guide you through the process of determining if your land percs, enabling you to make informed decisions regarding building or development.

  1. What is a Perc Test?

A perc test measures how quickly water drains through the soil on your land. It involves digging test holes, filling them with water, and measuring the rate at which the water level drops. This test provides an indication of the land’s ability to absorb water, which is crucial for the proper functioning of a septic system.

  1. Consult with Local Authorities:

Start by contacting the local health department or relevant authorities in your area. They will provide information about the specific regulations, requirements, and procedures for conducting a perc test. It is essential to understand the local guidelines to ensure compliance and accuracy during the testing process.

  1. Engage a Qualified Professional:

Hire a qualified engineer or soil scientist who specializes in conducting perc tests. These professionals have the expertise and equipment to accurately assess the soil’s permeability and conduct the necessary tests. They will guide you through the entire process and provide valuable insights regarding the land’s suitability for a septic system.

  1. Conducting the Perc Test:

The perc test typically involves the following steps:

  1. Digging Test Holes: The professional will excavate several test holes in the proposed location for the septic system. The number of holes and their depth will depend on local regulations and the size of the proposed system.
  2. Saturation: The test holes are filled with water and allowed to saturate the soil. This simulates the conditions under which the septic system would operate.
  3. Water Level Measurement: Once saturated, the professional measures the initial water level in the test holes and records it. They will then monitor and measure the drop in water level over time.
  4. Calculating the Percolation Rate: The percolation rate is determined by measuring the time it takes for the water level to drop a specified distance. This rate is expressed as minutes per inch or minutes per centimeter and serves as an indicator of the soil’s drainage capacity.
  5. Interpreting the Results:

The percolation rate obtained from the test will be compared against local regulations to determine the land’s suitability for a septic system. Different areas may have specific requirements for percolation rates, soil types, and system design. Consult with the professional conducting the test to understand the implications of the results and the viability of installing a septic system on your land.

  1. Alternative Options:

If the perc test indicates poor soil percolation, it may not be feasible to install a conventional septic system. In such cases, you can explore alternative options such as engineered or advanced treatment systems, mounds, or connecting to a local sewer system. Consult with experts in the field to discuss the available alternatives and their suitability for your specific situation.

Determining if your land percs is a crucial step in evaluating its suitability for building or development. By conducting a perc test with the guidance of qualified professionals and understanding local regulations, you can gain valuable insights into the land’s ability to accommodate a septic system. Remember to consider alternative options if the perc test reveals poor soil percolation. With this knowledge in hand, you can make informed decisions about the development of your land while ensuring the proper functioning of your wastewater management system.