Arkansas Perk Test Requirements

Jen Davis

The Arkansas Department of Health requires a perk test, otherwise known as a percolation test, before a home septic system is installed. The test evaluates the absorption rate of soil to make sure a septic system drain field will function well. A property must pass this test before a septic tank permit will be issued.

The soil surrounding a building location must past the Arkansas percolation test before a septic system can be installed.

The state imposes several requirements for administering and passing the perk test.

Designated Representative

The Arkansas Department of Health specifies that an officially certified Designated Representative must administer the perk test. The Designated Representative is qualified to analyze the soil and has been licensed by the state to perform soil percolation tests. The Designated Representative must file official paperwork related to the soil test, and must be able to chart out the septic drain field plans, for a building permit to be approved.

Soil Percolation

Soil percolation rates must be considered acceptable by the Arkansas Department of Health. The percolation rates are based on information gathered and submitted by the Designated Representative. Primary and secondary absorption areas must be designated. Information gathered must include the depth to rock, impermeable soil layers and information regarding seasonal water tables in the area.

Passing the Perk Test

To pass the Arkansas percolation test, the soil around the intended septic system location must absorb water at what the Designated Representative considers to be an acceptable rate. Acceptable rates may vary due to the consistency of the soil and the number of field drainage lines the Designated Representative feels should be used.

If the soil around a proposed site does not pass the percolation test, alternate septic drainage systems may have to be installed prior to getting a permit to install the septic system. These options include sand filters and aerobic treatment plants.


The Arkansas Department of Health says no construction can begin until the proper permits are issued. The Designated Representative drafts a complete set of plans and drainage system information, including information about the percolation test, before construction permits can be issued.