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Question DetailsAsked on 11/11/2015

how much does it cost to have a perc test done

I need to have the perc test done before I can install a septic tank. We live in rural Columbia Tn.

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1 Answer


Depends on area of course, and more expensive in shallow rock and clay than sandy/openwork gravel areas because of harder digging of the test pit and longer minimum flow time to determine flow rate - but $300 is about the cheapest I have seen, $500 range common, and up to $1000 sometimes in areas where a backhoe is needed to do the pit and several have to be done to try to get a decent result.

Some area require a "deep hole" test or trenching to determine the best place, which can run $1000-2000 including the backhoe contractor. Ditto if you have to start hunting around on a property to find a place with suitable soils for drainage or enough elevation above bedrock or groundwater for legal installation. And the real bite can come in some cases when you have spent that money and are then told your land is not suitable for a leach fiedl, and that you are going to have to go with an expensive above-ground mounded system or an alternative treatment system for double or triple the cost ! Happens - don't blame the engineer, soem land does is not suitable for a leach field. If that turns out to be the case (you or your rep SHOULD be there while he is doing his work) be sure to ask about cesspools - sometimes an area is unsuitable for a spread-out leach field but one or several large-diameter "wells" opearating as cess pits are workable. Depends on a lot of factors and does not overcome shallow impearmeable bedrock or high water table, but in clayey or silty country sometimes you can get into suitable materials deeper down.

Your normal vendor for perc testing (though some states allow specially certified plumbers or septic system installers to do this) is a geotechnical or civil engineer - I would google Perc Test or Septic Design and your town name to see who comes up, then cross-check on AL for ratings or reviews.

One other thing - in some areas the test can be done by a technician or contractor, but the actual septic system layout and design has to be done by a civil engineer - so you save nothing by having the perc test done by one and then having to go to an engineer anyway for the design and certification once complete - especially as he may well not accept using another vendor's perc test as the basis of his design.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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