Your best bet is to contact the department that oversees septic permits in you area, typically the dept. Dig below the top few inches of topsoil, also known as loam, to the lighter soil beneath. Depending on the size of the property, there may be an area that actually is suitable for a proper septic drain field. This test is normally performed by a licensed excavator, but has much oversight by your local health department. Thus, it’s important to know when the last perc test was done. Look into the records and make sure you’re being thorough. Even if you pass a perc test, you may not be out of the woods. Without the option of either a municipal sewage system or a septic system, most cities won't allow house construction on the property. The local health department determines and enforces the rules that govern whether your property is suitable for a septic system. If you’re looking to skip out on a perc test altogether, look for properties with existing sewer hookups when you’re shopping for land. Also remember that, regardless of what you read online, each area has their own individual process that can vary from place to place. When you do your due diligence before buying a property, one must-have element of that process is a perc test (also known as a percolation test). This is because sandy soil absorbs water at a much faster rate than clay, silt, or solid rock. However, if you’re not testing that section, then you’ll continue to fail. Alright, so you failed your perc test, and you didn’t have luck with any of the alternatives. These features can affect both soil and water table, which could give you a higher or lower chance of passing your perc test. However, in most jurisdictions, a perc test will be performed by a licensed excavator. How Much Does It Cost To Build A House Yourself (2020)? Most county health departments will require the perc test results to determine if the property is suitable for the system. What does the topography of your property look like? For those who purchase land intending to use it for building or living, a perc test is a must. Use the measuring tape to make sure of the depth of the hole. Just keep in mind that these context clues are no guarantee that you will ultimately be able to place a septic system on the lot! A nearby body of water could mean many things: water is close to the surface, wetlands, or a flood zone. If you are interested in land investing, you can check out our article on How to Get Started in Land Investing. Ask your local health department if you can appeal the results of your previous perc test, or under what circumstances they would reconsider their original determination. Considering these factors may help you decide whether to have one – one way or the other. If you are looking to buy affordable land, you can check out our Listings page. Compare quotes and choose the best pro for the job. The process is easy – water is poured through the hole they dug, and they time how long it takes to drain in minutes per inch. Find out what time of year the failed perc test was performed. Will Water Softener Improve My Drinking Water? If it is, then no need to install a septic system. In this case, it may be worth your while to spend the money on a perc test. This could cause erosion or flooding of the system. Site drainage: Your septic tank drain field should not be in the path of runoff during storms. Often, these systems are more expensive than either a traditional septic system or a municipal sewer. The health department may provide a list of local companies that perform perc tests. A perc test determines the water absorption rate of the soil (or the percolation rate). If it’s the perfect piece of land, just wait it out! Here are some alternative routes you can try if your perc test failed. determine the absorption rate of soils for subsurface disposal systems In #6, we’ll talk more about the soil criteria that gives your property the best chance of passing. You’ll want to check and see if the vacant land is within reach of an existing sewer hookup. There are minimum distances that are required from the septic tank and septic tank drain field to buildings, property lines, water pipes, wells, and open water. It indicates that the soil has a high clay content and may fail a standard perc test. Alright, so you already know that a perc test is necessary to install a septic system, and most landowners aren’t going to install a septic system if a municipal sewage system is an option. The answer to your question depends on state and local regulations. This article is based on our own research and experience and we do our best to keep it accurate and up-to-date, but it may contain errors. We’re here to help throughout the entire land buying and selling process! Often the health department or DEQ is in charge of perc testing. You’ll never know what’s possible until you start asking. 11 Things You Must Know In 2020. Let us know in the comments. You can get a rough idea of your soil’s texture before you invest the time and money in a perc test. You’re more likely to pass a perc test if the water table is low, and in many areas, the water table is more likely to be low in certain seasons. The exact distances will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but typically the most important requirement to keep in mind is the minimum distance between the proposed leach field and any private well (which is usually around 100 feet). Yet, what happens if you fail that perc test and no septic system can be installed? Steep slope: For a conventional system, the maximum allowable slope is between 20 to 30 percent. Otherwise, you will have to ask the owner if they have ever had a perc test done. If you're planning to install a new septic system, local ordinances will require you to conduct a soil percolation test. In short, if land is rural and a municipal sewer system isn’t available, a septic system helps make a property “livable.”. I used to help New Yorkers find affordable housing, now I help people around the US find affordable land! This often feels like a long shot to people, but you’ll never know until you try. Sometimes, if you wait long enough, municipal water and sewer become available in your area. Did you know that most municipalities require that a leach field (also known as a septic tank drain field) meet specific requirements above and beyond just a perc test? Check with local codes. A perc test measures how much water can percolate through and into the soil. For more information on buying, selling, or investing in vacant land, check out our other resources below.