The Importance of Soil Testing in Septic Tank Installation: What You Need to Know

The Importance of Soil Testing in Septic Tank Installation: What You Need to Know

When it comes to installing a septic tank, testing the soil is a crucial step that property owners can’t overlook. While homeowners often focus on installation costs, the septic tank type, and its location, soil testing plays a pivotal role in the functionality of your septic system. This step can even prevent unnecessary costly repairs down the road.

What Is Soil Testing?

Soil testing is the process of analyzing soil samples to determine composition and characteristics. Within the realm of septic systems, soil testing helps determine if the soil is suitable for a septic system to be installed and what kind of system is needed. The test results provide information about the texture, structure, drainage capabilities, and other soil characteristics that can impact the performance of a septic system.

Why Is Soil Testing Important for Septic Tank Installation?

Septic tanks require a specific type of soil for optimal performance. Soil that is too dense or too porous can cause drainage issues, which can lead to backups, sewage leaks, and costly repairs. Soil testing beforehand identifies these potential issues and ensures an appropriate septic system model or type will be installed.

How to Conduct a Soil Test for Septic Tank Installation

Conducting a soil test might sound pretty easy, but it requires manual labor, outdoor equipment, and a professional analysis. For those reasons, it’s typically much easier (and more accurate) to rely on an expert to handle the job. But these are the basic steps to how a soil test is done:

  • Step 1: Identify a test site. Determine the potential location for where your septic tank will be. As a piece of advice, this spot should be as level as possible and clear of any vegetation or obstacles that’d impact the test.
  • Step 2: Dig a test hole. Once you have your site, then dig a test hole where your soil will be taken from for a later test. Your hole must be at least 6 feet deep to reach a suitable soil depth.
  • Step 3: Take soil samples. With either a soil auger or probe, take samples of soil from the walls of your test hole. Try to gather at least 3 samples at differing depths, such as 2-feet in, 4-feet in, and then 6-feet in.
  • Step 4: Analyze the samples. You then have to take your 3 soil samples to a lab for analysis to provide an accurate report.
  • Step 5: Interpret the results. With the lab results, you can then determine the type and size of the system that’s needed for your property based on your soil’s characteristics.
  • Step 6: Consult a professional team. If you aren’t familiar with soil testing, it’s often wise to get a professional consulting for your septic system soil analysis and interpretation. The last thing you want to do is make a wrong decision and compromise your home’s safety and functionality.

What Soil Characteristics Impact Septic System Performance

The characteristics to test from your soil and the ones that will impact how well a septic system performs are texture, structure, and drainage capabilities.


Soil texture signifies the particles’ size and distribution. Sandy soils have larger particles, whereas clay soils have smaller particles. Loamy soil, however, is a good balance between sandy and clay. So, it’s ideal for most septic system types. The soil texture plays a vital role in its ability to absorb and filter water.


Structure refers to the soil’s arrangement of particles. This impacts the flow of water and air, which can then impact the drainage capabilities.

Drainage Capabilities

This refers to how fast water moves through the soil. Bad drainage leads to backups and other problems.

Using Soil Test Results to Determine Septic System Type and Size

Combining all of the results and characteristics above, you can get a good idea of what septic system type and size is needed for your property. Ideal conditions will allow you to get virtually any system. However, if your soil has poor texture, structure, and drainage capabilities, you’ll need an efficient, specially-designed system to satisfy your home’s unique needs.

Risks of Installing a Septic System without Conducting a Soil Test

If you install a septic system without a soil test, you’ll likely end up with costly repairs and maybe even health hazards. Poor soil results in backups, sewage leaks, and groundwater contamination, because a specific kind of septic system won’t work well in those conditions. Soil testing is needed to understand which system is perfect for your property.

Trust a Pro to Help

Soil testing is a crucial step in septic system installation, and it’s best to leave it to professionals. A professional septic system installer has the experience and knowledge to conduct a thorough soil test and recommend the appropriate type of septic system for your property.

Regular inspections and maintenance checks can also help prevent septic system issues and ensure optimal performance. A professional septic system installer can provide ongoing maintenance and inspection services to keep your system in good condition and catch any potential problems before they turn into costly repairs.

Get in Touch with Priority Pumping for Expert Advice and Solutions

At Priority Pumping, we understand the critical role of soil testing in septic tank installation. Our team is dedicated to providing top-notch septic system installation and maintenance services to ensure optimal performance.

As a local, woman-owned company, we take our relationships with our customers personal. We work and communicate with you every step of the way to ensure expectations aren’t just met but exceeded. Get in touch with us today for answers to your soil testing, septic tank, or other pumping service questions.

Tanya Wilson

Tanya Wilson

Tanya Wilson is the owner and CEO of Priority Pumping. She loves the wastewater industry and all of the opportunities for consumer education.

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