DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > General Home Improvement Discussion > Septic field "perc" test, Sq. Hole digging suggestions.




Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-27-2012, 06:48 AM  
WallyPop
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: , NYS
Posts: 19
Default Septic field "perc" test, Sq. Hole digging suggestions.

In upstate NY need to excavate (3), 12"x12" square holes, 30" deep in my backyard to evaluate soil for septic tank drain field via "Perc" (percolation) test. This will determine amount of area needed to lay required quantity of 4" dia perforated pipe per Dept of Health specs.
Doing the test is "easy" for an old codger like me, but I'd appreciate some creative, experience-proven, suggestions on digging the holes. Each hole has to be flat walled, non-crumbly, etc per NYS guidelines.
I own a 4" wide-bit long-handled cold-chisel and post-hole digger; have lots of time but much fewer $. Wondering if some sort of powertool (akin to a battery-powered drill with long bit) is available for one-person use that would do the bulk of the excavation, with my hand labor finishing off the four vertical sides, etc.?



__________________
WallyPop is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-27-2012, 10:06 PM  
nealtw
Contractor
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: vancouver, b.c.
Posts: 10,273
Liked 849 Times on 758 Posts
Likes Given: 1465

Default

I don't think there is a trick to it. Anything you can find to make it easier is a bonus.
Good luck.



__________________
nealtw is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-30-2012, 12:57 AM  
BridgeMan
Senior Member
 
BridgeMan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Cottage Grove, Oregon
Posts: 738
Liked 75 Times on 67 Posts

Default

Dig your round holes to the required depth using the clam-shell, then clean up the sides using a flat (rectangular) garden spade. Depending on the type of soil you have, squaring up the corners with a spade should be relatively easy. Take small, gentle stabs at each corner, removing the dirt that falls to the bottom with the clam-shell until you get all the way to the bottom. They don't have to be perfect.

Been there, done that, more than once.

__________________
BridgeMan is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-30-2012, 07:35 AM  
WallyPop
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: , NYS
Posts: 19
Default

Bridgeman: Thanks for reply. Giving myself 2 more days for responses and then will use the coming long weekend for my manual labor. Since you speak from experience, should I soak the ground, which is dry and hard to ease my digging chore?

Still grasping at straws, I'm considering using an 18v Lithium battery powered hammer drill? (with a sacrificial extended drill bit) to pave the way for the clam shell. Any thoughts?

Again, appreciate your response, plus words of reality and encouragement.

WallyPoP

__________________
WallyPop is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-30-2012, 11:59 AM  
BridgeMan
Senior Member
 
BridgeMan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Cottage Grove, Oregon
Posts: 738
Liked 75 Times on 67 Posts

Default

Soaking the soil can work both ways--too many silty fines (P-200s, passing a No. 200 sieve) could result in a thick, heavy clay gumbo. It will stick to every shovelful of material, causing you to talk to yourself a lot while trying to unstick it. If your soil has a high enough amount of coarser (granular) fines, soaking would definitely help. Never used a battery-driven hammer drill, so I can't speak about its effectiveness. With hard, dry soil, my guess would be not enough oomph to do much good. Unless you go slow, and/or have standby batteries on the charger.

Another option would be to hire a few strapping high school kids in your area. For the price of a slice of home-made pie your Mrs. makes, with ice cream, they could have the holes dug in less than an hour. Trick--make it a contest, to see who is the strongest by being able to dig their hole fastest (you'll need a stop watch to make it official, while hiding your real intent of getting the darn holes dug).

__________________
BridgeMan is offline  
inspectorD Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-30-2012, 05:42 PM  
nealtw
Contractor
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: vancouver, b.c.
Posts: 10,273
Liked 849 Times on 758 Posts
Likes Given: 1465

Default

A five foot digging bar, goes a long way to loosen things up for the clam shell.

__________________
nealtw is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-30-2012, 08:13 PM  
mudmixer
Contractor
 
mudmixer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 592
Liked 44 Times on 36 Posts
Likes Given: 36

Default

Who is responsible for determining the size of a tank and amount of pipe to install?

I had a system installed by a local contractor that did a lot of work in the area and knew the soil and water table conditions. He gave me a decent price on Tuesday night and I said O.K. I lived 140 miles away and went up on Thursday afternoon from the lake home I was building and spent the week-end pounding nails.

When I got there, I found a couple of holes (very, very roughly square) that were dug by the contractor and a note to the inspector of when they were dug (time and date). On Friday, an inspector was out there dumping in water and measuring and then left. The next Thursday the contractor called and said everything was done and approved and it would be good to go then. It pays to have someone do the specialized work that knows the inspector and what is required. A month later, I got a gold edged certificate from the county describing the perk results, size of the tank, distribution box, length and size of pipe used the paper over the drain field and the amounts of gravel and sand used.

When I built the 1850 sf masonry home, I needed only 2 inspections (septic because it was on a lake and electrical). I did the electrical after having underground service brought in, which I did myself with help from my 12 year old son that made all connections/grounds after I ran the wires (separate in conduit or Romax on the interior walls).

I tried to get a building inspection, but it was not possible because I was in an "unorganized area" and no inspectors were available even if it was at a premium and not really required.

Dick

__________________
mudmixer is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-30-2012, 08:20 PM  
WallyPop
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: , NYS
Posts: 19
Default

Bridgeman & Nealtw: Thanks both. Time to stop pussyfooting around and get to work. I'll save the ice cream as an incentive for me.

I'll report back with my trials, tribulations and results after Labor Day.

Appreciatively,

WallyPop

__________________
WallyPop is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-30-2012, 08:55 PM  
WallyPop
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: , NYS
Posts: 19
Default

MudMixer: Just as I submitted my reply to Bridgeman & Nealtw, lo and behold your reply popped up. Thank you.

This is not a new installation, but a planned rehabilitation of my 50 year old original drain field and a replacement of my second 25 year old steel tank, this time with a longer-lived poly blow-molded tank + new distro box.

The "perc" test will determine how many Infiltrator poly leach field modules I'll need to purchase in preparation for my tank installation contractor to install and connect.

The latter is way beyond my DIY aspirations, but keeps me knowledgeable about my septic system details and future upkeep.

WallyPoP



__________________
WallyPop is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter DIY Home Repair Forum Replies Last Post
Repair 2" hole through brick wall FiveTenMatt Bricks, Masonry and Concrete 6 07-12-2012 08:37 PM
Difference between "baseboards" and "moulding" panzerfaust0 Walls and Ceilings 8 01-18-2012 01:55 AM
How to Patch Small to Medium Drywall Hole "California Patch" bluntman001 Walls and Ceilings 0 05-09-2011 11:30 PM
System running Hot while set to "Cool" & "Off" halogen49 HVAC 7 03-06-2011 04:42 PM
drill 2.5" hole through 10" concrete wall thisnewowner General Home Improvement Discussion 3 02-20-2011 07:48 AM