Drain Excavation

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Digger working at construction in excavation pit

What is drain excavation?

A drain excavation is in most cases, the final resort of treatment for a damaged drainage system. It involves the actual digging of a hole or trench, thus providing direct access to the affected areas.

Plumbers will generally only recommend excavation as a last resort. It means that the repair cannot be fixed by lining and that either the soil conditions or the layout of the pipes make it necessary to go through a substantial rock bed or an area with unsuitable soil. If this is not possible, the service must be replaced and the excavation re-used for another service.

Excavation can also be used as part of a planned maintenance program. As some piping is buried deeper than others, deeper excavation allows closer inspection of the piping.

Drain Excavation information:

1) Plumbing installation (if built in USA, also see Uniform Building Code)

2) Soil conditions and type (undisturbed, filled-in soil, etc.)

3) Depth and degree of rock or concrete cut (which is usually not known in advance due to lack of information)

4) Depth to water table

5) Degradation, corrosion, cracking, etc. of piping or materials used for insulation

6) Availability of existing utility lines (i.e., type and depth to power cables, gas pipes, etc.)

7) Tendency of soil to cave in, slide, or settle

8) Geographical local risk factors (e.g., earthquakes where rock cannot be cut without sub-surface vibration sensors, tsunami risks on coasts with loose soil etc.)

Utility worker fixing broken water main, top view

    Drain Excavation Procedures

    Excavation procedures can vary depending on the aforementioned conditions and location of piping. Plumbing excavation may involve working in confined spaces, on steep slopes or near bodies of water. In confined spaces, workers must follow strict safety protocols to ensure that they do not get injured from cave-ins or falls.

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