Before Installing A Septic Tank
For many who live in the country, a septic tank is the only good option for
dealing with sewage. But before installing a septic tank there are some things that you should
State laws may require a comprehensive soil and site evaluation by your local health department to determine
whether your soil and land are suitable for a septic tank system. One of the main tests done in this evaluation,
which must be done by an authorized inspector, is called a 'perk test'. You may have heard someone say that their
house site did not 'perk'. That means they were unable to put their house on that spot because it would not take a
Perk is an abbreviation of the word percolation and refers to a soil's ability to absorb water. All soil
types have some degree of ability to absorb water, but not all soils absorb water at a rate that allows for the
soil type to be utilized for the installation of a septic system.
Too high a soil perk rate (over 105 minutes per inch or MPI) indicates that the sewage water is not sufficiently
filtered by the soil and may later contaminate the groundwater underneath. A low soil perk rate (under 15 MPI)
indicates that the soil in that septic field may not be able to absorb the sewage water and thus cause the system
Permit May Be RequriedBefore construction begins on your home or septic system, you must also
receive a permit from the health department. Permits for septic systems are valid for only a few years, depending
on what state you live in.
You will also need to determine the type of system you want to install or have installed. As you
can see from the menu on this site there are a few different kinds of tanks and addons that are available.
Concrete, plastic, or fiberglass tanks, installing a riser on the tank, having an aerator installed, etc.
The size of the septic system that you install is legally determined by the number of bedrooms in
your home and the type of soils at the home site you have chosen. Once installation is complete, the system must be
inspected and approved by the health department before any further work (such as electric installations) can
As you can see, it would be wise to contact your local health department regarding the specific regulations for
your state, before installing a septic tank for your home.