"Perk" Testing Process

1.  Apply for the test in person in our office.  Please bring a copy of your deed, and a map showing property lines.  If you are not the property owner, bring written permission from the owner. 

2.  You will be given a packet of information, as well as instructions, and your Sewage Officer's contact information. 

3.  You will coordinate a backhoe operator and your Sewage Officer to meet on an arranged date at the property. 

*Note:  A Pennsylvania One-Call must be done 3 days before any digging!   Call 811

4.  Tests "pits" will be dug in the area of the hoped-for leach field.  Pits will be excavated to the depth of the LIMITING ZONE.  This can be seasonal high water table, rock, or clay.  A field with a pit on either end, measuring 50' x 100' will hopefully be located. 

5.  Based on the Sewage Officer's interpretation of your soil's absorption, he will instruct you on the preparation of your perc holes.  These are dug with a simple post hole digger, by hand.  He will come out on a subsequent date and soak the holes, and assess absorption rate.  We will need to have 75 to 100 gallons of water available, either through a hose, or even a tank or "buffalo".   Based on these two tests, your Officer will recommend the type of sewage system that will be required. 

6.  Our office will issue you a "Site Suitable", which is your permission to contract a Sewage Designer to create a custom drawing of your recommended system.  Upon approval of your design, you will be issued your PERMIT. 

7.  The PERMIT is what is needed to apply for your Building Permit.  Actual Construction of the system may take place before or after the house is constructed, depending on site needs and your contractor's recommendation. 

Costs of the backhoe and sewage design are the responsibility of the applicant, and not included in the application fee. 

Services and Fees

  •  Sewage Permit or "perc test".............$625.00, for subdivision add $75.00
  •  Dye Test............................................$155.00            
  •  Repair Permit.....................................$525.00     Please apply in person
  •  Holding Tank Permit..........................$350.00     Please apply in person
  •  10 Acre Exemption Confirmation.......$500.00     Please apply in person
  •  Connect-to-Existing System..............$400.00     Please apply in person
  •  Visual Inspection Visit.......................$155.00     Please apply in person
  • Complete 2018 Fee Schedule.............................

WASHINGTON COUNTY

               SEWAGE COUNCIL

FAQs

What is the 10 Acre Exemption, and do I qualify?

The 10 Acre Exemption is available to a landowner, who has owned a property prior to January 10, 1987, and is granting property to an immediate family member who intends to build a residence.    It allows the grantee the right to install a septic system of their choice, without the need to "perk".  Application must be made for the Exemption, and verified by a Sewage Officer. 

My septic system is malfunctioning.  Do I need a repair permit?

In most cases, YES.  Only repairs made within the house, or up to the septic tank may be made without a permit.  Repairs to the tank and leach field, must be permitted and inspected, for your safety. 

Can I get a holding tank for my residence?

Probably not.  Holding tanks in residential application are ONLY issued as a last resort to having a malfunction corrected.  They are never issued for construction of a new dwelling, and are occasionally permitted for commercial use. 

What is a dye test?

Dye testing is the use of a tracing agent, a brightly colored powder, to follow the flow of water.  Dye testing of a residence is conducted by a Sewage Officer placing dye in the toilet, and utility sink, and visually confirming the presence of the dye in the proper place--the septic tank.  He will also look around the property to ensure that dye is not present on the surface of the ground or in water that may be nearby.  Dye testing is usually required by your Municipality or a lending institution during a real estate transfer. 

What if my property won't "perk"?

Many new and innovative systems have been and continue to be developed to make challenging properties more usable.  A favorable "perk" result usually means you qualify for a sand mound system. 

How long is an application valid?

One year after it is made.

How long is an approved PERMIT good?

This is good for 3 years, but can be renewed for a fee.  Any transfers to other parties should be in writing. 

How long is a perc site good?

As long as the holes can be identified.  If you do not plan to build right away, we recommend placing stakes in the ground to outline the site.