close up hand holding soil peat moss

When it comes to septic system installation in Southwest Florida, it’s important to get soil testing completed to ensure that your soil can properly filter the effluent that will be filtered through it via your drainfield. Soil testing in Florida is done prior to permitting to ensure that your soil is properly suited for optimal drainage. The soil that surrounds your drainfield supplies the final purification and disposal of the septic tank effluent. Organisms that feed on the effluent must be present in your dirt and remove bacteria and organic matter before it percolates into the ground or surface water. To support this natural process, your soil must be of a certain type.

Clay soils

While most native Southwest Florida soils are sand soils, clay soils can sometimes be found in subdivisions will filled lots. Clay soils are typically very compact and are usually too dense to allow the effluent to pass through. Clay also typically bonds to sodium molecules in wastewater that blocks the effluent from draining properly and can be a cause of drainfield failure.

Gravel or coarse soil

Conversely, gravel or coarse soils can allow effluent to pass through too quickly. If your effluent is passing through the gravel or soil too quickly, it can mean that your water isn’t being properly filtered. If the gravely soil is deep enough, it can still be effective at filtration, but in the state of Florida with seasonal high water table being so low – this is typically not the case. If soil is gravely, bringing in other soil can typically rectify it.

The “ideal” soil

The ideal soil for septic systems has a good balance of fine and coarse particles that make percolation and drainage ideal. Soil tests help determine whether or not the existing soil is appropriate for your septic system, but that doesn’t mean that if your tests come back with less than ideal results that you won’t be able to have a septic system installed. Oftentimes septic experts can work around soil issues with treatment products or bringing in outside soil to help rectify the issue.

If you’re considering a new septic installation, it’s important to understand how the proposal and installation process works. A soil test must always be done before any permits are pulled for new construction. While the results could potentially add expenses to your system installation, knowing your soil type now and rectifying the situation proactively is much better than waiting too long and risking expensive drainfield repairs.

If you’re unsure whether or not your soil type is ideal for septic system installation, please contact us.


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