10 Things To Know Before Getting a Perc Test in St. Mary’s County

10 Things To Know Before Getting a Perc Test in St. Mary’s County

Are you buying land in St. Mary’s County and are interested in your future Septic Easement Budget? Or do you own a house and are looking to see if you can add an addition to your home? Do you have a Septic System that went bad and now requires a repair? What information must you have prepared before you embark on your mission to get a perc test?

For those that may not know, a perc test is short for Percolation Test. It basically means that you dig a hole in the ground, often very deep, whereafter a local Health Department representative pours water down the hole and measures the speed at which it drains away. Either too quick or too slow and you could have problems. 

Lets begin:

1)Find out the general quality of the soil in your area.

Call someone at the health department that can help you know if your chances are high for having a successful perc test in that area. In St. Mary’s County and Charles County the soil is usually less sandy than in Calvert County. There seems to be more soil on the Patuxent River Basin than the Potomac River Basin. Ask the personnel at the St. Mary’s County Health Department: ‘How difficult is to have a successful perc test in my particular area due to soil types or high water tables?’ If you are buying land very close to the water, it is imperative that you get a successful perc before you purchase. Another option is to talk to someone who is experienced in implementing perc tests like the folks at Eddie Guy Septic Inc.

2)Know the impact of bad perc results before you request the perc test.

A good perc test can result in permission for an installation of a Drainfield. A lack-luster perc can result in a more expensive Mound System or an INA System (short for Innovative and Alternative). A complete fail with no options may mean that you can have no system at all or perhaps just a holding tank that needs regular pumping, a costly expense over time. Knowing this before you purchase the land will make you a more aware land investor. Having no system or a bad perc can render land unusable for building a home.

3)Know what time of year to get a perc test in St. Mary’s County.

In the industry, “Wet Months” are the months to do a perc test. These fall between Feb. 1-May. 1 depending on the county. You can do it outside of those months, but it will be more difficult to get it to pass. You can do a repair perc test whenever the system needs to be repaired. It doesn’t have to wait for ‘Wet Months’. This will help you know if you need a Mound System or a Drainfield (Leechfield) or another type of Septic System.

4)Property lines need to be located.

The perc test needs to be done within the property boundaries. Call a local surveyor if you need clarification on where these boundaries are.

5)Know the size of your house.

The size of your septic system will vary greatly depending on the size of your house and the amount of bathrooms and bedrooms it has. Know your square footage before you request a perc test, this includes knowing if you will have a basement, a single story home or will be building a two or three story home.

6)Have an idea where you want your house to go.

Try to envision where the house will be. Have an idea of where you want to put it in relation to the property borders. And if it doesn’t perc in that location, try somewhere else. Perc it where it’ll pass!

7)Know what is required if you have an existing house on the lot.

Perhaps you have one house on your lot, and want to build a second one on the same piece of property. In these situations, two perc tests will need to be done. One for the new lot and one for the existing lot, since this may not have a recorded sewage easement. It is required that for the existing house, you have a passed perc test thats been approved by the health department, located by a surveyor. If you are building an addition to your existing home, you have to treat it as a new lot, and a new structure. It has to have an approved drainfield or mound system or sewage easement. Any new addition will be treated as a new dwelling.

8)What do you need to to have when you apply for the Perc Test?

There are things you need to take with you when you apply for a perc test. You will apply to the “Land Use and Growth Management” Department of the St. Mary’s County Health Department. You will need, as a general rule, a copy of your deed. If possible also, a copy of the surveyor plat. Call the Health Department to be sure before you go. Be aware that there will be a fee for applying, separate from a bill for the perc test.

9)What will the ballpark cost of the perc test be?

Call us at 301-884-3306 for a free quote! Rest assured that we care that your lot percolates and we will bend over backwards to accommodate you.

10)Know your in the right hands

Eddie Guy has been taking Perc Tests in St. Mary’s County, Charles County and Calvert County for 50 years now. Not many men can say that. With his grey hair comes experience and wisdom. Make sure that when you are doing something as important as perc’ing a lot for your house, you go with someone you can trust.

They don’t call him the King of Dig for nothing.

Just sayin’.


We service St. Mary’s County, Charles County and Calvert County – including these towns:

  • Charlotte Hall, MD
  • Mechanicsville, MD
  • Chaptico, MD
  • Morganza, MD
  • Hollywood, MD
  • Cobb Island, MD
  • Avenue, MD
  • Colton’s Point, MD
  • Leonardtown, MD
  • California, MD
  • Lexington Park, MD
  • St. Marys City, MD
  • St. Inigoes, MD
  • Piney Point, MD
  • Ridge, MD
  • Scottland, MD
  • Solomons, MD
20659, Perc Test, Septic, Eddie Guy Septic, Mechanicsville, MD

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