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What You Need to Know About the Perc Test


When you are about to buy a brand new house, one of the things you are required to do as part of the due diligence is the Perc test, a short form of percolation test

This is one of the most important tests you can ever do but have you ever wondered what it is all about? 

Well, do not worry because in this post we will give you all the information you need about the percolation tests including details about how to do it, why it is important, and things to keep in mind.

Why is a Perc Test Done?

In a nutshell, a perc test is done to determine if a septic tank can be installed on the land around the house. Not everyone has the luxury of living within city limits. 

You may find yourself buying land somewhere rural where there is no municipal sewer system available. Installing a septic tank will therefore make it easier for you to live decently without any issue. 

But not all lands are ideal for septic tanks. The Perc test will be done to see if indeed your land fits the bill. A Perc test looks at how fast water drains through the soil. Typically, a hole or several holes will be dug into the ground where water will be filled. 

After that, the rate at which the water absorbs into the soil will be observed. These tests are done by professional engineers or licensed perc test companies. But there will be a lot of oversight from local public health officials.

What to Know About Perc Tests?

Now that you have a clear idea of why Perc tests are done, it is important to also explore some of the other things you should know about these tests. 

Perc Tests Are Only Necessary for Places Without Municipal Sewer Systems 

As noted above, you only do a perc test if you intend to have a septic tank installed on your property. 

But if you live in areas that already have access to the sewer system, then you will not need any of these tests since you will also not be needing the septic tank.

You Must Get Approval from Local Health Departments

Although it may seem like a perc test is a basic construction thing, it has nothing to do with building codes. These tests are mandated by local public health departments. 

In that case, when you are seeking a permit to do the test, you will get it from the health department in your county. In most cases, the health department may also send someone in to supervise the soil percolation test process.

No Need to Panic If the Test Fails 

It is of course going to be very disappointing if your perc test for septic tank fails. This will mean that you cannot build a septic tank there and as such, it’s hard to see how you will live in that land. 

But there is no need to panic. Just because you cannot build a septic tank does not mean you can’t build anything else. 

Besides, you can also sell the land if you want. But to avoid these disappointments, it is always a good idea to do the test first before you purchase the land.

You Can Appeal the Results

Don’t give up after your first test fails. Sometimes you can appeal the tests and have them overturned. 

This of course means that a new percolation test cost will be needed but if it helps build a septic tank in the future, it’s worth the investment. 

In addition to this, ask your local health officials if there is anything you can do to ensure that the test results come out positive next time. 

In most cases, you are more likely to pass these tests if the water table on your property is low. But it depends on many other factors as well. 


Contact a local pro and request a free quote for your percolation test!

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