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What is a Perk(Perc) Test? Precautions Before Buying Land in SC.

Posted By Brian Hunt @ 8:27pm In: Real Estate

What is a perk test?

  When buying raw land it is important to know what you are getting.  In many rural areas and suburban neighborhoods around Columbia SC it is necessary to have a perk test (also called a perc test or percolation test) to determine if your land is suitable for a septic tank and drain field. This is determined by several factors including the water table, soil type and topography of your property.  Ideally, you are looking for a sandy soil with a high elevation and moderate (or no) slope.  There are several types of septic tank systems and some are more expensive than others.  The price will vary depending on the amount of drain field, the size of the tank, and if there is a good gravitational pull so that that it flow and will filter naturally.150 feet of Drain Field

If your area has sewer connections then you can stop reading now because you are not required to have this test prior to construction.

   In South Carolina septic tank permits are issued by DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control).  Areas like Fairfield County SC are different than Richland or Kershaw County.  DHEC has inspectors in each county and they are almost always familiar with the soil types and systems that are commonly used in their county.  They can make a determination of which type of septic system is required and where/how it should be placed.  The term "Perc Test" is commonly used as a "Septic Tank Approval".  DHEC stopped using this form of testing in the 1970's.  Their testing method back then was to dig a hole, fill it with water, and monitor the infiltration rate.

  If you are looking to buy land that is for sale in South Carolina, be sure to do your research and find out if a septic tank is necessary and suitable for your property.  Nowadays, they have many different systems so if you’ve been told that it won’t perk, don’t panic.  Although other systems can be costly... there are other options besides the standard conventional system.  Ideally, you are looking for a conventional septic system with about 300-400 feet of drain lines and one 1000-gallon tank.  Some systems can be pricier if they require a pump, additional tank or drain line.  It’s not uncommon to spend anywhere $3000 to $8000 on a system... but it is a necessity in areas without sewer.   The advantage is that you maintain the system yourself and do not have to pay a variable reoccurring sewer fee based on water usage.

  To apply for a septic tank permit to construct you will some basic information along with:
a tax map number
a plat (or drawing of your property) with the proper dimensions
a proposed location of your home
the number of bedrooms in your home
the location for a well
the location of your proposed driveway


  We have a fill-able application for a septic tank permit for any of our customers that are looking to buy land in Blythewood, Winnsboro, Camden, Elgin, and any area throughout the state of South Carolina.  If you are buying land in South Carolina our land specialists are available 7 days a week.



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