You need to keep a number of things to keep in mind when purchasing undeveloped property. Of those, how you will manage your septic needs ranks pretty high up on the list.
If the property under consideration has connections to the city’s sewers then you won’t need to install a septic system, However, if the city sewage system does not extend to the property you will need to request a PERC test. We recommend you do this before you purchase the property.
What is a PERC test?
A PERC (percolation) test examines the rate at which a property’s soil absorbs water. The test measures how quickly wastewater and contaminants will drain via a septic system.
Why are they important?
At first glance, a PERC test might seem unnecessary, but it is an extremely important step in the property evaluation. When wastewater flows from the home into the septic tank, a multi-step treatment process ensues. The majority of the solids break down and the remnants settle in the tank, while the water flows to the drain field through perforated pipes.
The soil in the drain field finishes the treatment of the leftover water. It acts as a filter and rids it of contaminants. The rate at which the soil absorbs the wastewater determines the necessary size and location of the drain field.
Different soils absorb water at different rates, depending on climate, sand or clay levels, etc. Therefore, a PERC test provides valuable information required for your septic system installation.
How is a PERC test performed?
A PERC test must be administered by the local Health Department present. Since the Health Department determines when a property is in the clear for septic system installation, they must oversee the PERC test.
The complexity of a PERC test depends entirely on the state of the property. Some soil can be drilled into by hand, while other soil requires heavy equipment. The complexity of the job determines the cost.
The Health Department can answer any questions regarding the cost and process of performing a PERC test.
What happens if you fail the test?
Failing a PERC test does not necessarily mean you should not purchase the property.
First, ask yourself what you plan to use the property for. If you plan to camp, hunt, or use it for storage, then you may not even need a septic system.
If you want to build a home, which does require a septic system, you do have options.
- Ensure that the Health Department has tested every possible area of the property. The soil property may vary in different areas of the land.
- Have your PERC test performed during a different season. During rainy seasons, nearby water tables might rise, which can affect absorption speed.
- Consider installing a modified septic system. They can be more expensive, but they provide an alternative when a standard system will not work.
- Appeal the original results and ask for options that will cause the Health Department to reconsider.
The importance of inspection
As complicated as it might seem, it is extremely important that you go through all the necessary tests and inspections via the right avenues. This will save you surprise expenses and trouble with local building codes in the future. Taking the time to ensure your property is safe and well-maintained is worth the effort.As complicated as it might seem, it is extremely important that you go through all the necessary tests and inspections via the right avenues. This will save you surprise expenses and trouble with local building codes in the future. Taking the time to ensure your property is safe and well-maintained is worth the effort.
Norway Septic Inc. is a service oriented company dedicated to providing excellent septic tank cleaning and septic tank pumping services to homeowners and business owners in the Michiana area. We take pride in doing the job that others leave behind. If you have further questions or if you would like to schedule a system inspection by one of our professionals, call us today.