Real estate blog

A Guide to Septic Site Evaluation in North Idaho

So you want to purchase raw land in North Idaho, but you’re not up for complete off-grid living? If your parcel has not been approved for septic you’ll need a Speculative Site Evaluation, commonly referred to as a “perc test.” These site evaluations are carried out in Kootenai, Bonner, Boundary, Benewah, and Shoshone counties by Panhandle Health District.

Here are the basics of how it works:

  • Start by reviewing Panhandle Health’s current licensed installer’s list. In order to save yourself a little on costs, it’s a good idea to select an installer (excavator) that is local to the subject property.
  • You will work with the installer to fill out a Speculative Site Evaluation Application. The application fee is currently $400.00, and the installer will charge you for his labor and time as well.
  • The installer coordinates the site evaluation appointment with the Panhandle Health inspector assigned to that area.
  • At the appointment, the installer excavates two or more 6 foot deep holes at least 50 feet apart. The inspector then determines the size of the drain field and type of septic system allowed for that parcel, depending on soil type, site slope, proximity to water bodies, and other local regulations.
  • The inspector will write a report, and if deemed suitable for septic, you will be able to move forward with the permitting process.

Visit Panhandle Health District’s website for details about permitting and further septic installation information.