Understanding Soil & Ground Testing Practices

If you have been working with a contractor to build a new home, then you may need to have a septic system installed on the property. This is absolutely necessary if there is not a town sewage system that can be connected to the home. Before a septic system can be installed though, your contractors will need to do a variety of things. Testing to make sure that your soil can handle a properly placed drainage field is one of them.

Percolation Test

For your septic system to work properly, the septic tank must be attached to a series of long pipes that run underneath the ground. These pipes release the water that separates from the solid material in the septic tank, and the area of your property where the water is deposited is called the drainage field.

Unfortunately, not every type of property can hold one of these fields without some extra preparation. To determine if this is the case on your land, your contractor with complete a percolation test. This test will determine whether or not the soil absorbs water at a consistent rate so septic water does not pool on top of the earth.

During the percolation test, several holes are drilled into the ground where the contractor feels that the drainage field should be located. For the most thorough tests, one hole will be placed at each corner of the field area and one will sit in the middle. Usually, the holes will be quite wide. These six to eight inch wide and three to six foot wide openings are drenched with water.

They are filled with water afterwards, and the contractor will see how quickly the water level drops within each opening. The contractor will use the size of the leach field as well as the rate of water absorption to determine if the field can be built or if further inspection is required.

Soil Testing

If your contractor feels that the soil content of your property is causing an issue with the percolation of water, then the professional may complete a soil test. During the test, a deep probe will be placed in the ground. Since the pipes in the field will sit below the frost line, then the probe will need to check for soil content around five or six feet below the ground. The depth is similar to the one used during the percolation test. 

Once the soil is released, the contractor will need to send the sample to a laboratory where a report will be generated. In most cases, soil testing will inform you of the available nutrients in the earth. However, the contractor will instead be interested in whether the soil contains mostly rock, clay, sand, or dirt.

If the soil is comprised mostly of sand or dirt, then it should allow water to absorb into the earth at a constant rate. If a good deal of sand and dirt is noted, then the contractor may need to investigate the issue further. The water table may be high on your property and cause issues with drainage regardless of the materials within the soil. However, it is more likely that the soil has a high clay or rock content.

Fracturing Techniques

If hard soil is an issue on your property, then your contractor may suggest the use of fracturing techniques to add openings in the earth where water can absorb into the ground more easily. Fracturing can be completed in a variety of different ways with explosives, water, air, or electrokinetics. In some cases, the fractures or openings are filled with sand to prevent the spaces from closing. This is also optimal to help with drainage. 

Fracturing does have its drawbacks though, especially since the fractures or spaces in the ground cannot be planned or controlled. This may mean that you will see some future septic drainage issues. Fortunately, you can invest in more regular septic cleanings to make sure that water is not building in the septic tank. 

To learn more, simply visit resources like http://www.claggett.net before your next big project.