Terri Fiyalko

Oregon Rural Homes LLC
Saint Helens, OR
Licensed in Oregon

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What's A Perc Test??

Terri’s RURAL RUMBLINGS #1 - Perc Tests 

A perc test (also spelled perk - both are correct) is short for percolation test. It is a test which measures the absorption rate of the soil where a proposed septic system will be installed. 

The traditional method of conducting this test is to dig three holes in the area where the disposal field is to be located (6 to 8 inches in diameter and 3 feet deep, the correct depth for a disposal field). When dug, the holes would be filled to the top with water. When the water has been absorbed into the ground (this simulates the actual working conditions of the soil when the disposal is installed), the test begins. 

Water is then poured into the holes to a depth of 10 inches from the bottom of the hole. Lay a board across the top of the hole and measure the distance from the bottom of the board to the top of the water. Record this distance and the time. Do not add any water during the test. After one hour, again measure the distance from the board to the top of the water. The difference between the first measurement and the second is the inches-per hour absorption rate. Continue the test by recording the distance down to the water level until the test has been conducted for five consecutive hours, or until all the water has been absorbed. If the water is absorbed before the end of the five hour test period, the test will be ended. 

Generally speaking, the last hourly rate of absorption is less than 1 inch in 60 minutes, a disposal field will probably not work in that area. Areas where clay or hard pan type soils are near ground level are not satisfactory for disposal fields. 

In everyday practice it is generally not practical or necessary to conduct a perc test in the traditional manner. Because a county health Official is usually required to be present for the duration of a percolation test, it would be exceedingly expensive to hire the county for the 5 hours required to complete the traditional test. 

Fortunately there is a practical alternative. Rather than digging 3 small holes, a back-hoe is hired to make three digs of 10-14 feet deep. In this way the county inspector can physically examine the soil and, based on his knowledge and experience, make a determination as to whether or not the soil will be able to absorb the anticipated discharge. 

If the determination is made that the proposed site can efficiently absorb the anticipated effluent discharge from a septic system, it is said that the property "percs;" if not, then the property "doesn't perc." 

Roughly speaking if the dig sites are rich in gravel or sandy soil, it will likely perc. If,the soil has a lot of clay, or if the water table is too high, it probably won't perc. 

WHAT IF THE PROPERTY DOESN'T PERC? Can I still build on it? 

Absolutely! If it doesn't perc it's not the end of the game. Instead, prior to construction, you'll need to have a different septic designed (such as sand filter, cap & fills, etc) and approved by the county as an alternative. 

Oregon Rural Homes LLC
Saint Helens, OR 97051
Phone: 503-810-3927
Email: terri@orruralhomes.com


"NOT ONLY IS SHE EXTREMELY COMPETENT AND KNOWLEDGEABLE, SHE MAKES THE HOME-BUYING PROCESS FUN!" As first-time home-buyers, we were nervous about finding an agent to work with. We wanted someone who we could trust, someone who would really take the time to explain the process and what our options were. About 30 seconds into our first phone call with Terri, we knew she was just what we needed! Not only is she extremely competent and knowledgeable, she makes the home-buying process fun! She is always quick to respond, and willing to go the extra mile. Even when we had all but decided on a house (which we wound up buying and loving!) she patiently took us to see a few more places to help us feel more secure in our decision. We're so happy we found her, and we definitely recommend working with her! Corey and Patsy
"YOU DID EXCELLENT FOR US, ALL THE DIGGING, FIGURING OUT-CALLS-EMAILS-TEARING OUT YOUR HAIR AND BITING YOUR TONGUE!" Dear Terri We have had quite the year long relationship. You did excellent for us, all the digging, figuring out-calls-emails-tearing out your hair and biting your tongue! I will recommend you to my friends. Thanks for all your hard work. This week is our 4th Saturday in a row hauling stuff here - I am pooped but love the place. Hugs Marji and Lawrence Vance
"SHE UNDERSTANDS WHAT IT TAKES TO MOVE PROPERTY." Anyone who is serious about wanting to buy or sell property should have Terri Fiyalko for their realtor. Her experience works for her clients. Terri is so hard working and knowledgeable. She does a great job from excellent photography and presentation through the final paperwork. She understands what it takes to move property. Dianna Fitzgerald
"SHE LEFT NO STONE UNTURNED OR QUESTION UNASKED." Terri was absolutely terrific. Although we had been working with her for over a year as we planned our move from Colorado to Oregon it came down to 3 very short weeks to find us a home. She was simply amazing!!! She was so thorough and dedicated that we purchased our home sight unseen (except for pictures) based on her recommendation. [Note from Terri:... and *please* don't make me pick a home, sight unseen, again! My nerves couldn't take it. LOL] Thanks to her organizational skills and dogged determination we closed in three weeks from start to finish. She left no stone unturned or question unasked. It was a dream and a pleasure working with her and we will recommend her to anyone considering buying (or selling for that matter) a home. We could not have done it without her. Rodger & Ellen Kitson
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