The soil types in Arizona are like its people, unique and tough. From the red dirt of Sedona to the sandy dunes of Yuma, Arizona’s soil qualities and properties tend to vary drastically from region to region and even neighborhood to neighborhood.
It is important to administer a percolation test in any state or area where you are planning on installing a septic tank, but due to our temperamental desert soil, it is especially critical in Arizona.
What is a percolation test? The soil in your drain field (the area your tank filters out to) acts like a paper or metal filter does in a coffee machine. The soil helps to strain bacteria, germs and viruses out of the septic tank and through the soil until they are harmless. As you can see, the soil around your Arizona septic tank is very important and must be tested prior to a septic tank installation.
You might wonder what in the world your soil is getting tested for?
Here are 3 soil attributes that the experts look for when testing a potential site for an installment.
- We evaluate the texture of the soil: In order for soil to be able to filter properly it has to be the right texture and consistency. Much of the properties in Arizona do not percolate properly due to steep slopes, extremely rocky conditions, caliche (a type of sedimentary rock), high clay content, and other limiting conditions. Other areas of Arizona percolate too fast and require pre-treatment. Poor percolation can means you’ll need an alternative septic system.
- We check for volume of consistent soil texture: Much of the sewer treatment process happens beneath the drain field. The field needs to be large enough, and the correct soil texture in that area abundant enough, to properly filter out the water and waste. The dimensions of a drain field are completely dependent on the absorption rate of the soil. Nitrogen reduction may also be required in certain environmentally sensitive areas.
- We distinguish between saturation and swelling: This is an important discrepancy to make since it determines how well your septic tank will function over time. Saturation is when the empty spaces between particles of soil are completely full of water; this usually happens quickly. Swelling is when water intrudes into individual soil particles and this only happens after a long period of liquid or water exposure. Tests for saturation and swelling are run on potential drain field areas to test the percolation rates; engineers use this data, along with soil analysis, when designing a septic system.
Percolation tests are an essential part of the septic tank process. The filter for your Arizona septic tank must be working properly; it isn’t like you can toss it away and slip in a clean new one. Your soil must stand the test of time and be able to adequately percolate, drain and filter throughout the duration of your tank’s life. Once your Arizona septic tank is installed there are several things you should do and several things you should not do in order to keep your tank in working order.