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Perc Test Cost

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

Perc Test Fees

Often, folks who are buying, selling, or developing land in rural Virginia wish to know: How much does a perc test cost? Typically, customers in the greater Charlottesville area of Central Virginia can expect to pay several hundred dollars for a perc test (an abbreviation of Percolation Test). This falls within the estimated national range of perc test costs. Many soil consultants offer a fixed fee for perc testing and the associated paperwork. Some clients wish to know if more than one building site is possible on a given property, therefore, the perc test cost for delineating two separate sites is double the fee for one test, and so on.



Possible additional Fees

If your property encompasses more than a few acres and contains small areas or no areas of suitable soils, then the time and effort spent evaluating soils on various portions the property could exceed the normal amount required to locate a potential drainfield site, which could result in a higher bill from the soil consultant. Is it worth checking multiple areas? The simple answer is: yes. If soils evaluated within 100-500 feet of a proposed building site do not “perc”, then expanding the search area could possibly yield a conventional drainfield site, which is a much less complicated and less expensive solution than an alternative type of sewage disposal system that is often an option for properties that don’t “perc”. If an area suitable for a conventional septic system cannot be located after additional exploration, then you can have the piece of mind that the best potential sites on the property have been examined as you reach the next branch of the decision tree.


Cost of Perc Test as an included Service

Perc tests are performed as part of several services offered by soil consultants, including Feasibility Soil Studies (Perc Tests), Septic Permit Packages, Subdivision Soil Reports, Septic Repair Permit Packages, and Certification Letters. Although each of these services may be available for a different fee, the perc test cost is included in each product.


Who will I pay?

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, only DPOR licensed Onsite Soil Evaluators (OSE or AOSE) and Certified Professional Soil Scientists (CPSS) can perform perc tests. Common terms used to describe professional scientists capable of performing perc tests include Soil Consultant, OSE, AOSE, Soil Scientist, Septic System Designer. In years past, the local Health Department officials performed perc tests, but the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has significantly reduced its capacity to serve the public in this way, although non-commercial Virginia residents in some areas can still apply for “hardship” income eligibility with the appropriate forms and documentation, as well as the associated fee.


What is a Perc Test?

A Perc Test (sometimes spelled “Perk” Test) includes the necessary fieldwork performed to assess a piece of land and determine its suitability for the installation of an onsite sewage disposal system (a.k.a. septic system, septic tank system, drainfield, etc.). To learn more about perc tests, also known as site and soil evaluations, follow this link to our blog about site evaluations.



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