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Why You Should Not Do DIY Excavations on Your Property

Would you like to lay some water pipes on your property? Are you considering doing the excavation by yourself? Read on and discover the measures that excavation companies use to prevent damaging underground utilities. Use this information to help you to make an informed decision about your ability to take all those precautions as you excavate to lay that utility line on your property.

Calling Utility Companies

Some municipalities have a number that you can call so that personnel is sent to locate all the underground utility lines on your property. Such personnel may use different gadgets (electromagnetic scanners, for example) to map each of the utility lines within the area where excavation work is planned. This information helps the excavation company to know which areas to excavate carefully in order to avoid hitting those buried utilities. You can also contact the relevant authorities so that underground utilities are mapped before you start excavating.

Soft Excavation

The excavation company may also perform soft excavation using a water jet to dig small holes in order to confirm the location of a utility line. This precaution is necessary in order to verify that no error was made during the marking process conducted by the personnel sent by the municipal authorities. You may use a shovel to perform this verification. However, that manual approach is risky because you may accidentally hit a power line or any other buried utility as you dig a small hole to confirm that the mapping was accurately done.

Reliance on Utility Laying Standards

Excavation companies also use their knowledge of the standards used when companies are laying utility lines, such as the depth at which different types of utilities (electricity, for example) are buried within that jurisdiction. You may not have this knowledge as a layperson, and you can end up hitting a line that you thought was deeper in the ground.

Use of Spotters

Another technique that excavators may use to avoid hitting buried utility lines is the use of a spotter. That person's role is to watch the excavation work and point out any clues (such as gravel or soil that isn't similar to the soil in that area) that signal that a utility line may be buried in a given location. This spotter can help the crew to avoid hitting a utility line in case the line mapping performed had an error. It may be hard for you to identify a helper with the relevant experience to work as a spotter as you excavate.

As the discussion above shows, there are many risks of hitting a buried utility line since you do not have all the capacity to implement all the precautions above. It is therefore better for you to employ professionals to excavate trenches for the utility line that you wish to install. For more information, contact a local civil works company.