Septic System 101Perc TestWhen you are doing your due diligence before buying a property and public sewage is not available. You must-have a perc test (also known as a percolation test). A perc test
Dated: June 22 2021
Septic System 101
When you are doing your due diligence before buying a property and public sewage is not available. You must-have a perc test (also known as a percolation test). A perc test determines the water absorption rate of the soil (or the percolation rate) This test is essential to understanding whether a septic system can be installed. A perc test is the rate at which water drains through the soil. A perc test is conducted by drilling or digging a hole (or multiple holes) in the ground, pouring water into the hole, and then observing the rate at which water percolates, or is absorbed in the soil. This test is normally performed by a licensed excavator or engineer through your local health department. Perc tests are typically good for 2-5 years, although the exact amount of time depends on the local jurisdiction. 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. 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). A perc test determines the size of a home that can be built in relation to number of bedrooms. The reason they go off bedrooms is the government factors 2 people per bedroom at 75 gallons of water usage per day per person. When a property perc’s for a 3-bedroom home it is really for 6 people.
When do you need a septic permit?
A permit is required before a system is installed, repaired, extended, or replaced. Call the health department prior to starting any work.
Who can design a septic system?
• Licensed Professional Engineer
• Private Sewage System Contractor
• A list of contractors is available at the health department and on our website. Who can install a septic system?
• Private Sewage System Contractor
How long does it take to get a septic permit?
Staff typically complete initial review and pre-site inspection for isolation distances and other requirements within 3-5 working days. Contact your local Health Department for accurate timing. Additional time may be required if revisions are necessary
How do I schedule a septic inspection?
Contact the health department at least 48 hours in advance to schedule an inspection.
What is a Septic System?
1. All water runs out of your house from one main drainage pipe into a septic tank.
2. The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Its job is to hold the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle down to the bottom (forming sludge), while the oil and grease floats to the top (as scum). Compartments and a T-shaped outlet prevent the sludge and scum from leaving the tank and traveling into the drain field area.
3. The liquid wastewater (effluent) then exits the tank into the drain field. If the drain field is overloaded with too much liquid, it will flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or create backups in toilets and sinks.
4. Finally, the wastewater percolates into the soil, naturally removing harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Good Record Keeping Keep records of your final installation inspection, design of your system, and maintenance records for future use. Records will help inform decisions on landscaping, changes, repairs, or selling the property.
Annual maintenance and periodic septic tank pumping is recommended every 3-5 years. Every system is required to be evaluated every 3-5 years.
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