Soil Test

The most important step in the construction of a drain field for a septic system is to first obtain a soil morphology (also known as a soil test) of the area. This is a scientific reading of the soil types. Different soils absorb liquids differently. Ensuring that the drain field is placed in good soil is a must. There is no way of knowing if you have “good” soil unless a soil test is completed. This is a bit different than a “perk test”. But it has the same outcome, and that is determining the best type of system for the soil. A soil scientist will have the recommended septic system indicated on the report for the property in question.

The soil test allows for the area to be examined for the best location, depth, and type for a drain field for the septic system. A soil test consists of three or more pits being dug in the area of the proposed drain field or where a soil scientist believes would be best suited for a drain field. These pits are a minimum of 48” deep and are usually dug with a backhoe. The soil scientist then reads the soils per horizon and creates a soil report. This report consists of soil colors, types, consistencies, roots, and fragipans. 

Bottom line…always have a soil test done no matter the acreage! If your property needs a permit through Webster County Health Unit, a soil report is required when submitting a permit application. But even if you don’t need a permit, get a soil test done! The soil scientist will have the recommended system on the report.

Why do soil colors matter? Here is an example; gray soil colors usually indicate the soil is seasonally waterlogged, and this condition can cause septic systems to malfunction, kill plants, produce wetness problems for basements, and indicate the soil is susceptible to flooding (Buol et al., 1980).  There are many different soils and soil properties found throughout Missouri, and in our neck of the woods, these differences can change from one foot to the next. Get a soil test to be sure that you are putting in the best septic system for your property. 

If you need a soil scientist, click on the link below and select Webster County.