A Perc What?

As the stumps are removed and off to help save some fish (see previous post), crews are in the process of testing our soil to be sure we are able to build those beautiful new bathrooms and shower houses laid out in the Norcal Adventure Area master plan. The process of testing the soil is called a “perc test.”

What’s a perc test and why do we need to do them when our camp already has bathrooms, you may ask?

Because our camp is not connected to any municipal sewage treatment, we provide our own septic system – as some of you may do for your own homes. I think the whole process is pretty fascinating – a septic system is a highly efficient, self-contained, underground wastewater treatment system consisting of a septic tank that collects all the camp sewage. That’s right, anything that goes down a drain or flushed away goes into the septic tank, a big concrete box buried in the ground! There, the sewage separates into a solid (sludge) that settles to the bottom, and a liquid (effluent) that then flows into a leach field for final treatment by the soil. Essentially the soil needs to percolate this effluent down into the earth and not “puddle up.” It sounds pretty gross, but the good news is that with a properly working septic system, no one even knows that it exists. It’s Mother Natures magic at work!

When building one of these marvels of biological amazingness, a percolation test (aka, a perc test) is done to determine the water absorption rate of soil (that is, its capacity for percolation) in preparation for the building of a septic drain field (leach field) or infiltration basin.

Translation: In order to build our new bathrooms we need to build new septic systems and drain fields at each new camping site, the training center and other buildings and areas around camp. The existing septic systems will not support the plans we have to build out the camp. In order to do that…perc test time! Because…“A Scout is Clean”!

All part of the nitty gritty, sometimes yucky, details of building a state-of-the-art camp for our Council–I can’t wait to use the new bathrooms!

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