What Are the Benefits of Potholing for Underground Utilities?

November 18, 2021 11:44 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Utility potholing is a technique used to gather visual information from underground. It’s used to ensure that new buildings or infrastructure won’t impede the utility lines that already exist. A small hole is dug into the ground so the utility workers can ensure all is clear.

Read on to learn why potholing services are used, and how they can protect utilities.

How and why potholing services are used to protect utilities

Excavation is the leading cause of damage to underground utilities. Utility strikes aren’t just inconvenient for the neighbors they happen to affect. They can also be dangerous for the workers. That’s why the industry promotes potholing.

Potholing provides insight into the depth and length of underground utility lines, and can pinpoint their exact location. The excavation team makes a series of six to 12 small holes in the ground, usually utilizing a vacuum excavation technique. Vacuum excavation allows excavators to remove hard or rocky soil without harming the lines underneath. They may use either water or air to achieve this. This lets them know where the utility lines are located, how deep they are and if there are other obstructions that could block further excavation.

Once the lines are found, they’re marked. The soil is replaced, and the project can continue once the new information is assimilated.

Benefits of potholing

In addition to the obvious objective—identifying utility lines—potholing can provide a number of benefits:

  • Hazard mitigation: Excavation and construction are inherently dangerous occupations. Every year, workers are killed in digging-related accidents. These can include trench collapses and striking utility lines, especially gas lines. Utility potholing services are used to prevent these types of accidents, and ensure workers’ safety as much as the success of the project itself.
  • Efficiency: You might think that adding another step (in this case, potholing) would unnecessarily derail your schedule. However, utility potholing actually saves time in the long run. Imagine if your project hit an underground line. Not only would your project be delayed as the utility lines are repaired, but you may even have to move the entire project’s location. It’s much better to take the time at the outset and inspect the area. Once that’s finished, you’re practically guaranteed to avoid underground utility issues.
  • Cost savings: Similarly, taking the time to excavate and gather information will save you more money over the course of the project. Not only will you avoid paying for damaged utility lines and fines, but you’re less likely to wreck your equipment and need to replace it.
  • Legal compliance: Finally, utility potholing can be used to ensure you’re in compliance with all state and federal regulations. Should you be found non-compliant, you may be liable for hefty fines. That cuts into your bottom line.

It’s easy to see why potholing services are used. Next time you start a project, make sure you have an excavation team on hand at the outset.

When you need utility potholing, Es7 Comm-2U, Inc. is standing by to help. Call us today to learn more and get a quote.

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