The Most Efficient Methods of Potholing

July 21, 2021 4:58 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Potholing is frequently used at construction sites and excavation jobs at the start of any new contract. But what is potholing, and what are the benefits of using potholing to find utilities?

This term refers to the process of digging a test hole in the ground to uncover any potential utilities below the surface. The point is to find exactly where the utilities are located (both vertically and horizontally) so construction or excavation crews can avoid damaging them during the course of their work. There are numerous benefits of potholing, but most notable are that it allows you to avoid expensive repairs and downtime caused by striking utilities and interrupting services.

Let’s take a look at the most common methods of potholing and which are considered the most efficient.

Hand digging

There are some situations in which digging by hand for utilities might be necessary, though this is by far the least efficient method due to how much time and labor it requires. It can save some money in that you don’t have to use expensive equipment, but if you want to complete the work in a timely manner, this isn’t the route you’re going to want to go.

Backhoe digging

Backhoes were once the most common equipment used for potholing. However, you need to be extra-careful with backhoes, because there is a great potential for them to cause damage to utilities below the surface.

Hydrovac excavation

Hydrovac excavation is far and away the most efficient form of potholing, and has become the most popular method. It’s faster, more reliable and significantly less invasive and destructive than the aforementioned methods.

Conventional digging has a much higher likelihood of utility damage, which can result in some very expensive remediation work and delays to your job. Vacuum excavation prevents damage to underground utilities and allows you to continue with your project without those disruptions. This allows for increased revenue, as there is no work stoppage and no need to spend extra money on utility repair.

The process is also highly cost effective. Hand digging requires a lot of labor expense, and it’s very slow going. Backhoe excavation is a bit faster, but also much riskier. The speed and safety of vacuum excavation makes it significantly more cost effective.

Initially, vacuum excavation involved the use of pressurized air to break through dirt and rock, which would then be vacuumed up into a truck and used for backfilling. Now, though, the technique has been updated to use water to clear the dirt rather than air, which allows for more accurate results and a more cost-effective job overall. This process works with a wider range of soil types and minimizes environmental damage and risk to workers in the area.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of potholing for finding utilities and why your best bet is likely to be hydrovac excavation? We encourage you to contact our team at Es7 Comm-2 U, Inc. with any questions you have about potholing and excavation work in general.

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