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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Driveways, Pools & Outdoor Living > Perc Testing

Perc Testing Cost


How Much Does Perc Testing Cost?

 
low costSimple (Unofficial) Perc Test: $0-$100average costOfficial Perc Test: $100-$1,000+
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Also called a percolation test or a perk test, a perc test evaluates how well soil absorbs liquid. They are typically required to get a permit to install a new septic system or a drainage system (like French drains) that is dependent on the soil absorption rate. Simple perc tests may also be used to determine what will grow well on a specific site.

In a traditional perc test, holes are dug to a specific depth and filled with water, then the sinking water levels are measured for a certain length of time. However, the term "perc test" is also used to refer to a soil or site evaluation, when a backhoe digs two to six pits 5'-10' deep and an inspector or engineer enters each pit and evaluates the exposed soils.

Typical costs:

  • An official perc test that meets all local requirements for a septic or drainage system permit can cost $100-$1,000 or more depending on site size and conditions. Some areas mandate a traditional perc test while others specify soil/site evaluation/testing with deep pits, but call it a perc test. Local laws will dictate whether the test must be performed by a government employee or a private engineer; and typically there's a separate cost for having a backhoe operator prepare the site. County/engineer fees for a typical perc test might cost $150-$500 while use of a backhoe can add $300-$450 or more, for an average total of $450-$950 for a complete perc test. For example, Guthrie County[1] in Iowa charges $175-$225 in perc test fees, and Caroline County Health Department[2] in Maryland charges $270-$300.
  • For gardening or landscaping purposes, a simple (and unofficial) perc test can be performed with a shovel and tape measure at no cost as a do-it-yourself project, or a landscaper or gardener might charge $25-$100 depending on how many holes are dug and how long it takes. StartALawnCareBusiness.com provides a video[3] demonstrating a simple perc test.
Related articles: French Drain, Dry Well, Septic System

What should be included:
  • Perc tests are typically performed during the wet season, although some areas allow them to be done anytime. Depending on how many holes or pits are needed and local soil conditions, a perc test might take a few hours or all day.
  • The Caroline County Health Department in Maryland explains required site preparation procedures[4] and answers frequently asked questions[5] for perc tests using test pits, while a septic designer provides an overview of perc test pits[6]
Additional costs:
  • A large property with several different types of soils might require multiple perc test sites, increasing the overall cost.
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[7] 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. The health department may provide a list of local companies that perform perc tests.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Perc & septic
Amount: $100.00
Posted by: Andrea Butler in Winston Salem, NC.Posted: August 26th, 2019 06:08AM
Site Size: 1 1/2 acresType of Test: Perc & Septic install
I've not purchased lot yet, but it needs to be perced again. I need to find out the total cost. Lot is located in Traphill, NC.
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Perk Test for building permit in Montgomery County PA
Amount: $2,000.00
Posted by: Misho in Pennsburg, PA.Posted: June 26th, 2019 12:06PM
Site Size: Type of Test: Perk Test
County Site Evaluation and Test Observation
$ 800
Professional to do all the work including applications
$1,200
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Percolation Test and Septic System Design
Amount: $2,000.00
Posted by: Pete L in Massachusetts, MA.Posted: June 7th, 2019 01:06PM
Site Size: 3 acresType of Test: Perc Test and Deep Hole
I had a local engineering company come out and dig 4 deep holes and ran 2 percolation tests on the site. They sent me all the information and filed with the town. the excavation fee was close to another $1000 and the town fee was $200.00
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Percolation Test Fee (2019)
Amount: $1,050.00
Posted by: JohnL in Western MA, MA.Posted: May 28th, 2019 08:05AM
Site Size: 1+ acresType of Test: Percolation Test and Soil Evaluation
Percolation Test and Engineering Fee - Ranges from $450.00-$600.00
This includes 2-4 deep holes and 1-2 Percolation tests with soil evaluation and soils report (NRCS) performed by licensed soil evaluator/engineer; 4 copies of report printed, PDFed and distributed
Excavation costs -
4-8 hours @ $100.00 an hour
Includes digging of 2-4 deep holes with mobilization. Excavators will typically charge a minimum of 4 hours
Town Fee - approximately $200.00 but may vary from town to town
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Perc Test in Pennsylvania
Amount: $1,450.00
Posted by: Stacylynn in Indiana, PA.Posted: March 30th, 2018 02:03AM
Site Size: 1 acreType of Test:
$800 for the application, which includes the sewerage enforcement officer who will perform the test and any needed inspection. $650 to hire an excavation company to prepare the site for the test. I was expecting to pay about half of that for a perc test and was a bit surprised at the final cost!
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I need someone to do a perks test
Amount: $100.00
Posted by: Erica Hadaway in Dadeville, AL.Posted: September 21st, 2017 09:09AM
Site Size: 1acerType of Test: Perks test
I need someone to do a perks test so I can get a septic tank put in.
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Perc test
Amount: $600.00
Posted by: AnaT in Dunkirk, MD.Posted: June 27th, 2017 11:06AM
Site Size: 5'Type of Test: 0fficial perc test
Needed a backhoe on hill. Took four hours and 2 pits about 5' deep. County inspector fee added another $250.
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Perk Test
Amount: $900.00
Posted by: C Spencer in Roanoke, VA.Posted: June 10th, 2015 08:06AM
Site Size: 47 AcresType of Test: Hand auger hole with soil analysis
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Installing a curtain drain
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: JillH in Clarksville, TN.Posted: July 25th, 2013 02:07PM
Want to find out average amount of what it costs to install a curtain drain for a septic system on a piece of land we are selling.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.guthriecounty.org/envhealth/docs/Percolation%20Test%20Request-Procedure.pdf
  2.  www.carolinehd.org/html/EHS/EHS-FS.html
  3.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5ZPqF8ggFw
  4.  www.carolinehd.org/html/EHS/PA-SITEP.htm
  5.  www.carolinehd.org/html/EHS/QA-PERC.htm#PWHAT
  6.  www.eco-nomic.com/indexsdd.htm#Site Evaluation
  7.  www.cdc.gov/mmwr/international/relres.html
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