Civil-Environmental Engineering

Frequently Asked Questions*

6) How do you perform a 'Squirt Test' on a pressure system? ​

This test is best performed after the distribution pipes are in place in the leachfield and leveled, but before any orifice covers have been installed and the field has been backfilled.  Most counties will require that the test be witnessed by their inspector, but if scheduling is a problem, some will accept another witness, such as the project engineer (check with the county first).  Either way it's a good idea to 'already know the answer before you ask the question', as the lawyers say.  In other words, you might consider the wisdom of trying this first, yourself, before you invite the inspector to be present:

  • Turn on the pump and fully open any shut-off or distribution valve in the system.
  • Observe the height of the water from all orifices, and clean out any that are obstructed.
  • Check for absolute height of the lowest one, and the difference between it and the highest one.  Most counties have a minimum acceptable lowest height (usually 5', but check the county requirements to be sure), and many have a requirement that the field be relatively even (often within 10%).  See the illustration on this page.
  • Photograph the water level with a camera that records the time and date, for documentation.  A surveyors rod works well to show the height, but make sure the camera is held on a level with the top of the squirt that you are trying to document.  Holding the camera too low can result in an acceptable squirt not appearing to pass.  Again check out the illustration below.

*The following page is a summary for quick reference only and may not represent the latest standards.  For complete and up-to-date information, see each counties official website.