In Septic Knowledge Center

Percolation test, mound septic, drainfield, cess pool…these terms may be familiar to you or you may have heard them. Let’s answer some questions you might have about septic systems. If you own a house or have property which is not connected to a municipal sewer system, you will need to have a septic system installed. Many people are not exactly sure what one is, or how it works.

As a homeowner it is best you know at least a little about your septic system. If you are looking to purchase land with the idea of building a house on it, you will need to contact the pros at Martin Septic Systems so they can inspect your property to let you know about the options.

Percolation Test

A percolation test, commonly referred to as a “perc test”, is an essential assessment conducted to determine the suitability of soil for a septic system in areas not served by municipal sewage systems. This test specifically evaluates the rate at which water dissipates into the soil from a test hole. The fundamental principle behind a perc test is to mimic the conditions under which a septic system will operate, thereby ensuring the ground can adequately absorb and filter the wastewater.

To conduct a perc test, a series of holes, typically about 6 to 12 inches in diameter, are dug at the proposed septic system site. These holes are spaced uniformly and are usually dug to the depth of the proposed septic drain field. Once the holes are prepared, they are filled with water to saturate the soil, which is a crucial step to simulate the working conditions of a septic tank leach field.

After a prescribed soaking period, the water level in each hole is measured and then refilled to a standard level. The key aspect of the test is the measurement of the rate at which water level drops over a set period, usually in inches per hour. This drop in water level, or the percolation rate, is a critical factor in determining the size and type of septic system that can be installed.

Soils with too fast a percolation rate, such as sandy soils, may not adequately treat the wastewater, while those with too slow a rate, like clay soils, may cause the system to back up. Thus, a perc test is a vital step in ensuring the environmental safety and functionality of a septic system.

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A percolation test is performed to determine the water absorption rate of the soil. What does this mean? Basically how fast water that is put on the surface is soaked in to the ground. This is an important test when trying to determine where to place the drainfield.

There are a number of ways this percolation test can be performed, but we are not going to into the calculations. This calculation is important because a properly functioning system will allow your septic system to drain through the ground naturally purifying the waste instead of puddling on the ground. If the ground does not properly soak up water fast enough in the test, other alternatives may be suggested, such as the use of a mound septic. If you want to read more about this type of system, read this article.

Keep in mind that all septic systems have to be approved by your local governing authority, city or county usually. Permits are required as well as inspections to make sure the entire system is designed and installed properly. A properly installed septic system will also protect you and your family.

If you have questions, complete our online form here, or give our office a call. We look forward to working with you.

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