What are the standard procedures and guidelines for septic system testing?

Soils testing involves two (2) phases:

  1. Phase I includes a deep soil probe (deep hole(s) dug with a backhoe) where the Sewage Enforcement Officer (SEO) will evaluate the soils and determine a limiting zone, which may be defined by but is not limited to solid bedrock and indicators of a seasonal high water table.  This phase of testing costs $275 plus the cost of backhoe.  If this test fails Phase II testing will not be performed.  Other items that may fail your lot for further testing include:
    1. Slopes of 25% or more over most of the lot.
    2. Inadequate area for a septic system due to proximity of nearby features.  These distances (for the absorption area) include but are not limited to:
      1. Property line, easement or right-of-way: 10 feet
      2. Occupied buildings, swimming pools and driveways: 10 feet
      3. Streams, lakes or other surface waters: 50 feet
      4. Water supply well (includes geothermal wells): 100 feet
      5. Surface drainageways: 10 feet
      6. Stormwater seepage beds: 10 feet
  2. Phase II includes the percolation test, normally six small (6 inches in diameter) holes to a depth of 20 inches, to be performed by the SEO.  The holes must be dug by others and access to water provided during the test.  This phase of testing costs $300.

If testing fails a letter will be provided to the lot owner indicating it has failed and the reasons for the failure.  Likewise, if the testing passes a letter will be provided stating it has passed.