Utility Considerations for Excavation

November 4, 2021 6:16 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

You’d be surprised at the sheer volume of underground utility lines in our city. If you’re planning to do any excavation work, being aware of these utility lines is crucial to your safety. Hitting an electrical, sewer, water or gas line can cause serious injury, not to mention interrupt service to the rest of the neighborhood.

Locating utility lines prior to digging is one of the most important excavation considerations to keep in mind. Here’s what you need to know regarding best practices for utility location before excavation.

Rely on a utility locator

Before excavation begins, use a utility locator to pinpoint the precise location and depth of any underground lines. This is a very convenient tool to have on hand. While you could rely on maps of utilities in the area, you need to keep in mind that lines can shift over time. Rather than take your chances, use a utility locator for accurate locations.

Mark utility locations

Carefully mark all utility lines near your proposed excavation site. You could use flags, stakes or simple paint indications on the ground. Remember that one of the most essential excavation considerations involves keeping a 4-foot clearance on both sides of the line for your safety. In special situations where you need to dig closer to the line, use hand tools rather than heavy machinery, and proceed with extreme caution.

Create a master plan

If you’re planning to dig near utility lines, you need to create a comprehensive plan before you start shifting earth. Detail where you’ll do your digging and the equipment you’ll use, then follow that plan throughout the process to ensure safe digging.

Call 811

When in doubt regarding the location of utility lines, give 811 a call. They’ll come to your premises to pinpoint and mark utility lines. Call at least two business days prior to the start of your dig and you’ll have all the information you need to proceed with confidence.

Be responsible

Sometimes, even the best of plans come with unexpected surprises. There are some situations where buried gas or electric lines on the property may not belong to local utility companies at all, such as lines running to outbuildings, including workshops or garages. Make sure you have a plan in place if you do happen to run into an underground utility line, whether it’s calling the property owner or your local utility company.

You should also create a new record if you do run into a line. It’s not only beneficial for your company if you come back to work on the property in the future, but it’s also helpful information for other contractors and even property owners to have for future reference.

Utility location before excavation is necessary for safe digging. Not only do you pose a risk to yourself and others if you hit a utility line, but it could also bring your entire construction project to a halt. For all excavating work, rely on Estes Excavating Inc. We take our time with each project and always follow best excavation practices, ensuring a safe and efficient dig every time.

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