As tempting as it may be to purchase the land anyway and try to make something work, you have to think of the worst-case scenario. Shopping for perc testing: If an official perc test is being done to determine what type of septic system to install, check with the local department of health for specific perc test requirements, including whether the test must be performed by a government employee, a private soils engineer or a septic system designer. Depending on how much you paid for your land initially, it may not make sense to spend a bunch of money to try to make it “buildable” anyway. For those who purchase land intending to use it for building or living, a perc test is a must. For more information on buying, selling, or investing in vacant land, check out our other resources below. If water can't move through the soil, or if it moves too easily, then a septic system can't be installed on the property. A septic system will help make a property livable if it doesn’t already have water or sewer hookups. Dig a hole 2 feet deep where you plan to locate the septic tank. How Much Does It Cost To Build A House Yourself (2020)? It can be a long and frustrating waiting game, but it could be worth your while. Alternative systems if the perc test fails. What does the topography of your property look like? If you already know you’re ready to hire a licensed excavator to come evaluate your property, then all you have to do is Google your county’s name and “health department” to find their phone number. Depending on what type of soil your property has, it may or may not easily pass this test, You’ll want to check and see if the vacant land is within reach of an existing sewer hookup, Just because your property failed a perc test doesn’t mean you can’t build anything on it, Soil will often pass a perc test when it has high concentrations of sand and gravel, You can either go through the step in #5 and try to get a different result, OR you can select one of the alternative uses for your land in #14, Outhouses: 8 Things You Should Know In 2020, How To Build A Road? This is because sandy soil absorbs water at a much faster rate than clay, silt, or solid rock. Here are some alternative routes you can try if your perc test failed. Use the measuring tape to make sure of the depth of the hole. And even if you don’t have vastly different topography, you can still have different types of soil sprinkled throughout. You can either go through the step in #5 and try to get a different result, OR you can select one of the alternative uses for your land in #14. This test is normally performed by a licensed excavator, but has much oversight by your local health department. In #6, we’ll talk more about the soil criteria that gives your property the best chance of passing. 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). While you may have had a perc test done in one area of the property, a previous owner may have had it done in another. Again, while it’s often recommended to have a perc test done before purchasing a property, we understand if you’re trying to stay on budget. Within seconds, get matched with top-rated local pros. This will get you closer to understanding if it’s actually a “no” or if you can take certain steps on your property to make it more buildable. They might also be able to provide you with a list of names of certified testers. Builders (New Homes), Architects & Designers. Your best bet is to contact the department that oversees septic permits in you area, typically the dept. Dig below the top few inches of topsoil, also known as loam, to the lighter soil beneath. The local health department determines and enforces the rules that govern whether your property is suitable for a septic system. A nearby body of water could mean many things: water is close to the surface, wetlands, or a flood zone. of health, sanitation, or building inspection. Read millions of reviews and get information about project costs. A perc test measures how much water can percolate through and into the soil. In most cases, that means you’ll need a health department official present at your perc test so be sure to arrange for this before having the excavator come out. While there’s no guarantee, if you’re willing to take that risk then there is a decent chance. We bet you didn’t know that prepping land for building could be so difficult! And if you are looking to sell land, visit our page on how to Sell Your Land. Generally, soil will fall in the middle with any of the following…. Without the option of either a municipal sewage system or a septic system, most cities won't allow house construction on the property. Steep slope: For a conventional system, the maximum allowable slope is between 20 to 30 percent. In most jurisdictions, a perc test is performed when an official from the county health department meets with the owner of the property and/or a licensed excavator to dig a hole and test the drainage rate of the soil on-site (they literally pour water in a hole and time how long it takes to drain through). A county health department official will also be present during the test along with the owner. A perc test, which paves the way for a septic system on your property, is only necessary when the property does not already have access to a municipal sewer system.
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