What Are Test Holes?


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Today I’m answering a common question about septic installation. We often receive questions from buyers and their agents regarding vacant land. Sometimes they want to know if it has been perc tested, which is a term that hasn’t been used in a long time. Essentially, a perc test involves digging a hole in the ground, inserting a vertical ruler, and dumping water in to see how fast the ground absorbs it. The information they find is used to determine the design of the septic drain field. The more scientific means of doing this nowadays is with test holes, which are dug eight or more feet into the ground for an engineer to document the profile of the soil. The engineer is looking to see if the soil will provide good absorption and filtration from a septic system. After that, they’ll insert a perforated pipe into the hole and backfill it for groundwater monitoring to make sure that groundwater doesn’t sit at a shallow depth beneath the soil. Test holes also serve to make sure you don’t run into bedrock or even spring activity at an unacceptable depth for a drain field location. Once the testing and monitoring have been completed and submitted, we’ll get a document from the Department of Health saying that the work has been done and that the location is suitable for a septic drain field. The document includes parameters for the amount of drain field needed per bedroom in the home. If you have any further questions about this or other real estate topics, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to follow up with you.

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