How Much Does a Perc Test Cost?

Typical Range:

$750 - $1,850

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated December 30, 2020

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Perc Test Costs

Perc testing typically costs $750 to $1,850 or $1,300 on average. On the high end, you might pay as much as $3,000 depending on local regulation and the size of the leach field or infiltration basin needed. A basic assessment costs $150 to $300 for a hand dug hole without specialized equipment.

A perc test measures the ground’s ability to absorb and filter water. A basic assessment involves digging a hole two to three feet deep then filling it with water. Then timing how long it takes for the water to drain. The process usually takes one to six hours. A failed perc test devalues the land or means it’s far more costly to develop for residential purposes.

Average Perc Test Cost

Average Cost$1,300
High Cost$1,850
Low Cost$750

Cost of Soil Test for Septic Systems

Using a perc test to determine a ground’s suitability for septic systems and leach fields costs $750 to $1,300 on average. Large parcels of land might need multiple assessments in multiple areas to find a good place to install one. That doesn’t include septic installation costs of $3,000 to $10,000.

Most land purchases in undeveloped rural areas use this report. It helps determine the suitability of installing a septic tank and leach field. Without access to municipal sewers, you’ll need them for residential development.

Perc Tests for Septic Repairs or Replacement

Perc tests for septic repairs cost the same for new installs, or $750 to $1,300 on average. That doesn’t include septic system repair costs of $500 to $2,500. You’ll need an assessment for any septic or leach field repairs or replacements. If it fails, or shows slow drainage, it’ll increase the price of repairs and replacement.

Infiltration Basin Land Perc Test Costs

Perc tests for infiltration basins cost the same as for any other purpose or between $150 and $3,000. For extremely large areas, you might spend over $3,000.

An infiltration basin, also known as a recharge basin or percolation pond, manages stormwater runoff. It prevents erosion and localized flooding. At its most basic, it’s a low spot created for rainwater to collect. It then drains slowly into the soil before it floods landscaping, homes or roads.

Percolation Test Cost Factors

Cost factors for percolation tests include:

  • State and local regulation: In some places, a shovel and a timer is all that’s required, others need detailed reports with soil composition and drain rates.

  • Distance: A pro often charges more the farther they must go to cover fuel and travel time. The actual increase depends on the company.

  • Accessibility: You’ll pay more for hard to access land with little or no developed road access.

DIY Perc Testing vs. Hire a Pro

If you understand the process, it’s something you may want to screen on your own. You’ll need a shovel, some water and a stopwatch. However, the difference between a failed and passed assessment might mean a difference of thousands of dollars in a land’s value.

It’s also not an official report. Some local regulations require a licensed professional. Official assessments tend to use a backhoe and dig deeper into the ground while using technical soil testing equipment. For land sales that require an official assessment by a professional, you’ll need to hire a pro. Find a local perc test professional.


What is a perc test?

A perc test measures the drain rate of the ground around a potential home site, septic tank site or infiltration basin. A simple one involves digging a hole and filling it with water then timing how long it takes to drain. Official versions tend to use a backhoe and soil testing equipment to measure soil saturation and composition.

Why do I need a perc test?

You need a perc test to determine if you can install a drain tile, infiltration basin or septic system and leach field.

What is an infiltration basin?

An infiltration basin is a human made low spot with vegetation that attracts stormwater runoff and then slowly drains it into the ground. This prevents erosion and localized flooding around homes and roads.

Who does a perc test?

A soil testing company, a local soil engineer or a government-employed engineer usually does a perc test. Your local health department or building code enforcement agency oversees the process and any permits required.

How long does it take to do a perc test?

A perc test takes anywhere from 1 to 6 hours, depending on the size of the land and soil composition.

How much does soil construction testing cost?

Geotechnical testing costs $1,000 to $5,000. You’ll only need this for new home builds since a perc test is only a small part of a complete survey. These reports look at a wide range of physical properties of the land. You don’t need this full report for septic, leach fields or infiltration basins.

How much do soil contamination tests cost?

Testing for soil contamination costs $600 on average. Perc tests don’t do this, but you may want to get it done if you’re leach field or septic is close to your groundwater.