On one hand, septic systems are the perfect waste solution for new homes being built away from public sewer connections. If you’re building a home out in the countryside, and there are no sewer lines in sight, a septic system solves that problem for you.

On the other hand, though, you’ve got to make some allowances to enjoy the advantages of a septic system.

One major allowance is that your soil must be of the right quality to absorb the wastewater from your septic tank. You would need to test a plot of land’s soil for this prior to purchasing the land to build a new house.

In the septic industry, we call this test a perc test, or percolation test. It is a necessary part of the septic system installation process.

At Avalanche Services, we take many calls from customers who need us to perform a perc test on land they are considering buying. It is easily one of our most popular services.

If you need septic perc testing near us in Lake Ariel so you can buy land and construct a house with a septic system, give us a call. We would be happy to help.

Let’s learn more about perc testing and what it involves.

rocks and dirt

Before a Perc Test, There’s a Deep-Hole Probe

Before we get into a discussion of a perc test, we have to talk about the deep-hole probe that’s required of us first.

We use machinery to dig one or two deep holes in the ground of the proposed septic system site. The holes could be about 10 feet deep. We note the makeup of the soil as we go. We then fill each hole with water and note the time it takes that water to drain into the surrounding soil.

A deep-hole probe determines limiting zones and the high-water table. The limiting zone has to be greater than 20 inches for a system to be installed. The best part is that Avalanche takes care of all the setup for this for you, including filing for the application with your local township.

What Is a Perc Test?

Let’s now examine what a perc test is.

To put it in simple terms, septic perc tests determine the ability of an area of soil to percolate, or filter, the liquid sewage waste that would come from a septic tank.

Septic tanks work by collecting your home’s solid and liquid waste, storing the solid waste, or sludge, until the tank can be pumped, and regularly expelling the liquid into the drain field above.

Soil that can percolate the wastewater, or effluent, makes that area of ground suitable for use as a septic drain field.

If the soil cannot percolate the effluent – meaning, it can’t absorb the liquid that would be pumped out of a septic tank – then any wastewater that came from the tank would rise up to the surface and pool on the ground.

That would cause a flooded drain field and a constantly unpleasant smell. These issues are usually associated with a tank that needs a septic pump replacement, but in the case of soil that can’t percolate water, they would occur all the time.

In a perc test, we lay out an area of land and dig a series of six holes that vary in depth. The holes are between four and six inches in diameter. We then set up water to drain into those holes every 30 minutes and compile and compute the percolation rate. We use the information we glean from this to design your septic system. However, as we said above, there needs to be a 20-inch limiting zone for everything to work out.

If a piece of land fails the perc test, then a home cannot be built on it. This is why perc tests are required of all land purchases if you intend to build.

What’s Involved in Our Septic Perc Testing in Lake Ariel and the Nearby Areas?

If you’re located by us in Lake Ariel or anywhere nearby in the Poconos or greater Northeastern Pennsylvania, you may be wondering what to expect from one of our perc tests.

Here’s how we think about them.

Soil that has a lot of sand and gravel will be best suited to draining effluent and would therefore make a good septic drain field. It would pass the perc test.

Meanwhile, soil with high clay or rock content will not drain well at all. It won’t let normal water flow through it easily, and so it would not be suitable as a septic drain field. This kind of soil would not pass a septic perc test.

a hand holding soil near the ground

As we described above, we drain water into those holes of varying depths and test how the water permeates the soil. This essentially recreates the actions of a septic tank as it pumps out wastewater into the ground of a drain field.

If everything looks right, your area of land will pass the perc test. If not, we will advise you that a septic system cannot be installed there.

Call Avalanche for Your Septic Perc Testing in Lake Ariel and the Nearby Regions

Avalanche has been serving our customers in Northeastern Pennsylvania for decades. We’re happy to provide the important service of septic perc testing in Lake Ariel and the surrounding region.

If you’re thinking of buying land on which to build a house, and you’re away from a municipal sewer line, call Avalanche Services. We’d be happy to schedule a perc test with you to see if your desired land is able to take a septic system.

We look forward to hearing from you!