How does soil impact the septic system you can have?

soil inspector testing the soil

When constructing or replacing a septic system, one of the first things that will be considered is the soil. The depth, permeability and saturation of the soil all play a role in deciding the type and size of the septic system that your property can have. Learn the process of getting your soil tested and how the results will impact your septic system.

Getting your soil evaluated

Soil inspectors are trained to describe and map soils. They will observe and test your property’s soil to ensure it’s suitable for building a septic system. There are three components that soil inspectors must review; depth, permeability and saturation.

Depth of the soil 
Soil that is greater than three feet deep is suitable for septic systems that use soil treatments, also known as leach fields or drain fields. Up to 84% of Ohio’s soils are under three feet so depth often needs to be considered when picking a septic system. There are also limiting layers in soil that may transmit water too slowly or too rapidly to provide treatment. Limiting layers include solid or fractured bedrock, sand, gravel and compacted glacial till. 

Permeability of the soil
Permeability is the soil’s ability to transmit water. This is measured by the texture and structure of the soil. The soils best suited for wastewater treatment are mixtures of sand, silt, and clays referred to as loamy soils. When it comes to the structure, granular soil is ideal for a septic system because it promotes soil separation and internal drainage. Platy, prismatic and massive structure types are not suitable for conventional septic systems.

Saturation of the soil
Saturation is another important factor to consider because if the soil is saturated with too much water, it will not be able to accept the wastewater and remove contaminants. If your soil is saturated, you also run the risk of transferring microbes that can contaminate surface and groundwater.

How to find a soil inspector

Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3701-29-07 requires that inspectors shall have the knowledge and experience to facilitate the review of site and soil conditions. Soil evaluations must be completed by a professional that fits one of the following credentials;

  • A soil scientist or soil classifier certified by the soil science society of America (SSSA) completing the soil evaluation while acting as an independent agent of the owner or board of health.
  • An SSSA associated professional soil scientist that is supervised by an SSSA-certified soil scientist completing the soil evaluation while acting as an independent agent of the owner or board of health.
  • A soil professional registered by a state or national organization with equivalent minimum qualifications and/or demonstration of competency for soil evaluation as approved by the director of health.
  • Other persons approved under a certification program or other training program as approved by the director of health.

To locate a qualified soil inspector for your property, you can use the following search tool: Click here

Contact Supeck Septic Services

Need more information on soil evaluations for septic systems? Our knowledgeable team members at Supeck Septic Services are happy to answer any questions you may have. Give us a call at (888) 725-0209.