I got asked the other day. I’m looking at this vacant land listing and what does it mean its been perk tested? 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.
Usually A hole, 5-7 feet deep is dug in an area to be tested for future use as a drain field, or near the drain-field area in representative soils. Water is poured into the hole and and the septic engineer or contractor observes the rate at which soil absorbs the water by noting the time that it takes for the level of water in the hole to drop one inch (for example).
More precise “perc tests” may involve using a specific quantity of water or a perc test hole of specific dimensions to make these observations.
If you are building or buying land in Idaho you will want to check in with Panhandle Health District septic department for the latest rules/laws and regulations. It is also where you are going to go for your permit in Kootenai and Bonner County.
The Idaho department of Environmental Quality has information on different types of septic systems/ technical guidance and much more. Read more about that here.
Before you ever plan on building you will need to do a perc test. I suggest not purchasing land until you know it has been perc tested. If the ground doesn’t drain right or there is no proper drainage for “waste” you will not be building what you were planning on building. Always a good little piece of homework to get done prior to the commitment of a new piece of land.
Generally it means that the utilities are at the property line. Now if they have already cleared a home site you may have utilities to the site. that is a very important question could save you thousands of dollars.
In North Idaho we are usually talking Electricity and Telephone. Some areas that may include gas also but for the real rural properties probably not. So if gas is important to you definitely make sure that is a specific question that you ask. Otherwise you may be surprised when the deal is done.
Our Main utility companies for Rural land (depending on the area) are Avista, Kootenai Electric and Northern Lights. They all have different charges etc for installing utilities. So depending on where your property is that you are considering you may want to get a quote on the price for utilities prior to purchasing your land. Electricity is usually brought in to the meter. From there you will have an electrician finishing the electrical install from there.
Water is usually supplied by either a community service out in the country or by a priviate well. You will want to really check that out prior to purchase. Some of the community systems are running 5-15k to hook up to there service. And that usually is just the hook up its not usually running the pipes into your yard and connecting to your house. So you want to clarify that prior to purchase also if your on a budget and want to keep track of what everything is going to cost. A well is going to probably run you from 10k and up depending on the location, how deep the water is etc. You can check out my other blog on wells for the list of local well drillers. And if you want to be sure that you are looking at land that will produce enough water be sure to check out how much water I need.
Buying land in Idaho can be a fun and rewarding proposition if your prepared and you can offset most of the surprises. Nothing more fun then knowing that property you live on you built from the ground up. You know it so well from the inside out per say. Its a great feeling.
I hope this gives you some ideas of where you will be starting from and gets the question process started for you. Feel free to contact me with questions — for more land and new construction tips be sure to check out How to buy Vacant Land. And also Check out all of the Vacant Land available in North Idaho Here.