Before an excavation or construction project begins, it is necessary to perform potholing for utilities. Professional utility potholing is a non-destructive method of determining the exact placement of all underground utility lines.
This utility location method is usually carried out by excavating carefully-planned areas around and above utility wires using a portable vacuum excavator that removes dirt and debris. During potholing, utility crews may come across gas, water, electrical, and sewage lines.
Small test holes may also be created in the earth for finding underground utilities like sewer pipes and utility lines. Potholing techniques eliminate risk by informing builders of the precise location of utilities before breaking ground.
Why Do You Need Professional Utility Potholing Services?
To give you a better understanding of potholing services and why you need them, we’ve broken down three benefits below.
1. It Helps Prevent Damages in Utility Lines
While digging, there’s a huge possibility that you may damage underground utilities. That will require a lot of labor and money to fix, not to mention the service outages that will inevitably occur in the digging process. You can be proactive and easily prevent service interruptions through utility potholing and utility maps.
2. It is Required in Many States
Many states prohibit the operation of heavy machinery within a certain distance of buried utility lines. Doing so exposes employees to a multitude of dangers. That is why most businesses must hire utility potholing services before the excavation starts.
3. It Ensures the Safety of Your Business Location
Understanding and maintaining your work site begins with potholing. Whether you’re laying new foundations or rerouting existing utilities and underground lines, you must know how things stand with your underground infrastructure.
Most Popular Potholing Technique
There are two popular potholing methods commonly used in the construction industry.
Hydro excavation is the preferred method of many due to its accuracy compared to other methods. This potholing process moves the soil carefully using high-pressure water and a hose. The excavated material is then dumped into a debris tank.
Additionally, hydro vac excavation is advantageous because it uses water, which serves as a non-conductor. This becomes all the more critical when considering the safety of crew members while working with live electrical wires.
Another method of potholing is vacuum excavation, also known as air excavation. This technique uses a portable and pressurized device that utilizes air to extract soil via high-speed suction. Once the dirt is removed, it is either dried out or stored in a holding tank until it may be reused later.
An excavator’s fuel tank capacity can be anywhere from 100 to 1,200 gallons. Some potholing professionals believe this is the most secure means of excavating near utilities since they use low-pressure air.
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