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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Soil Test?

A Soil Test will show the properties of existing soils and groundwater and how they relate to design and construction. Soil Tests can be for geotechnical (building and drainage) or environmental (contamination and remediation).

Why Do I Need a Soil Test?

A Soil Test, known in the industry as soil boring, is used by architects, engineers, and contractors to design foundations and sanitary systems, swimming pool foundation design, bearing capabilities of retainment and sea wells and bulkheads, and pile design for house lifting.

Also, used with stormwater runoff management and wind protection for cell towers and ground-mounted solar panels. It is also used for Suffolk County’s new alternative onsite water treatment systems. Our soil tests can be for residential and commercial property.

What Is It Going to Tell Me?

First Look is the groundwater level.  How deep can my foundation be placed and how deep can my cesspool or leaching field be set before we are in groundwater.

Second Look is the soil profile.  Are the soils made up of sand and gravel, clays or silts, or organic material known as Peat?  Clays and silts will affect how well the soils will drain (i.e. percolation) and the stability of a foundation since these materials will wash out when exposed to water.  Sand and Gravel combinations offer maximum leaching and maximum density in the right combination.

Third Look is the “blow counts.”  This relates to the number of times the sample spoon is hit with an industry-standard 140-pound hammer to advance the spoon within the borehole. The higher the blow counts,  the greater the density.

Who Requires a Soil Test?

Architects and engineers when planning a building or a residence require this information to determine the design of the foundation.

Is a standard poured concrete footing appropriate, or will we need an oversized footing or pile-supported footing?  They can relate the load of the structure to the available bearing values of the soil.  With respect to Sanitary Design, do we need one cesspool or five cesspools or a septic tank and leaching fields?

State, County, and local towns differ on their requirements. It is best to contact the Building Department of your town for this information.

How Many Borings and How Deep?

The depth and number of borings will vary on the proposed site development. The bigger the footprint of the building, the more test borings may be required. Small lots require fewer borings.  Our firm is very client-oriented as to not “over-drill” a site. Residential new construction is usually 1 – 2 borings whereas commercial development can exceed 25 borings depending on the acreage to be developed.

Depth of boring varies by location. A minimum of 25.0 feet is recommended and is the industry standard in order to allow for a full vertical boring report. If within 25.0 feet, suitable soils are not encountered, the boring depth is extended. Depth of borings can range from 20.0 feet to 100.0 feet depending on the information required. Again, most residential borings range from 20.0 to 30.0 feet.

Will the Test Destroy My Property? How Much of a Mess? How Long Will It Take?

The Geoprobe rig is remote-controlled from a transport vehicle.  It weighs in the area of 6,000 pounds.  You can expect ruts or tracks across grass areas.  We offer plywood service for an additional cost; this will limit lawn damage.

If a boring is through driveway or cement slab, once complete, the hole is packed and closed with an asphalt patch. We are equipped to use plywood to limit the damage. The drilling operation creates a 4- to 6-inch opening which is closed and packed at the end of the boring. It will not create a hazard.

A typical boring can be completed to a depth of 25.0 feet within one hour.

Contact us for more information.

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