Perk Test (Percolation Test or Perc Test)

What Is A Perk Test?

A perk test (percolation test or perc test) is a way to obtain information regarding the soil on a specific parcel of land required by the health department.

The percolation test consists of digging a hole on the property 4 feet deep approximately 6 inches in diameter into which a specific amount of water was dumped in. Usually this required about 3 to 5 gallons for the test. The amount of water left in the hole after a specific length of time or the time it took the hole to completely drain was the information the county wanted.

In other words, the speed that the water "percolated" in the soil determined the size and type of field you would be required to install. This method of evaluating your onsite soil conditions went on for a few years. Growth continued and density increased and the county health departments soon instituted a more a hands-on method of establishing onsite soil conditions that did not require timing of percolation or the integrity of those individuals performing the test.

Who Can Perform A Percolation Test?

A perk test can be performed by the property owner, a property buyer, a realtor, a septic installer and even by the health department. In any event, the results were reported to the health department.

Brief History

Back in the mid 1950s our local health department felt they should become involved in the matter of septic system installations. Prior to that time, most individuals could handle their household waste about any way that worked for them.

The housing boom of the 50s and 60s soon demonstrated there would be many more houses on much smaller parcels of land. That increased population density: a sub division community verses a farm community. Public health soon became a concern and county health departments stepped in to protect the citizenry. It is a good idea that they did.


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