Perc testing?

I'm trying to determine 'exactly' what PERC testing (guess it stands for perculation) is and how it effects building (I live in Los Angeles).
Can any one tell me a bit about what the test determines and how those determinations effect building permits. Many thanks.
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This test determines how quickly the soil on your lot absorbs water. This determines the type and location of a septic system.
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YYZedd typed this:

Thanks very much. Assuming 'soil' failed the perc test, is there a way to modify the area to 'pass' a test. That is, with a different septic tank or leach system? Does that effect the type of 'grades' a perc test would have to have in order to pass? Thanks again.
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In a previous post Doc wrote...

There may be alternate septic designs that can pass local review. You will need to contact a local septic system designer to discuss your options.
--
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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Around here they scoop out a 40' by 60' by 4' deep area and fill it with bank run gravel.
--
JerryD(upstateNY)



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As I understand it, the test neither passes nor fails. It only determines what type of soil there is and whether or not the soil is suitable for a particular type of septic system. Once tested, take the results to your county engineers office and let them decide which is best.
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Doc typed this:

Many thanks for the great responses.
In my hillside neighborhood we have about 24 homes. The average size is 1800 - 2200 sq. ft and we have a ranch style community in a remote area serviced by one steep (23% grade measured in one area) and decaying road. A new 'lot' owner is trying to build a 4400 sq ft behemoth with four baths. The whole neighborhood is against such an incongruous home and also the damage that will be done to the hillside. It's shear where they intend to build which requires thousands of tons of cement for the caissons, etc... not good. I was wondering if a 'perc' test failure might derail this large a (or any?) home build... thanks again.
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Doc wrote:

No. There are septic systems which can be engineered for ANY terrain. A failed perc test will just rule out a standard tank and drain field type septic system.
--
Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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Doc wrote:

I did the preliminary perc test on my property in TN. Then the soil scientist came out and confirmed the result and wrote a report the I have to take to the local DEQ office and pay money to get a permit to build the septic system.
Basically, I dug 6 holes where the soil scientist told me. The holes are 3' deep and about 6" in diameter. this took all day with a post hole digger. I'd rent a power auger if I had to do it again. They were filled with water and the next day the water level is marked with a nail in the side of the hole. Then a known amount of water is poured in and the timer started. You want to know how many gallons per minute the soil is absorbing by seeing how long it takes the water level to get to the nail. The absorption rate of the soil will determine if and what size of septic field you'll be required to have to satisfy the DEQ people. The rules are getting tougher. They don't want the water to run through too fast like in sand, but not to slow like in hard clay in TN. I think this pretty well summarizes my experience. Bottom line is, once you get a septic system take good care of it, cause it's a big deal to do another one. Good luck.
Harry
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