How does your septic system really work?

Digging Your Own Trench? 2 Reasons to Hire an Excavation Expert Instead

If you plan to dig a trench in your property to repair a damaged sewer line or remove tree roots, you should reconsider and hire an excavation expert instead. Although there are many DIY sites that provide tips on how to dig a trench, the sites may not list the dangers involved by doing so.

Excavation projects aren't always cut and dry when it comes to safety. A number of things happen if you don't follow the correct protocols for excavating, or if you don't know exactly how and where to dig on your property. Before you take the risks and dig your own trench, keep these two reasons why you should hire an expert instead.

You Hit a Gas Line

Numerous lines run through your property, including gas lines. Even if you don't use natural gas as a fuel or heating source for your home, the unused lines lie buried beneath the ground. If you accidentally strike a gas line with your excavating tools or equipment, fumes leak out and place you and your neighbors at risk for carbon monoxide poison. In worst case scenarios, the gas line explodes.

An excavation expert uses special cameras to locate and mark the gas lines hidden deep beneath your property. The cameras show not only show the location of gas lines, they also reveal hazardous conditions, such as tree roots, that block and compromise the lines.

Trees spread their roots over time to search for water and nutrients. Sometimes, the roots cover or encase lines as they pass over or around them. It's possible for tree roots to corrode and weaken gas lines when they cover them. If you unintentionally pull or rip the roots from your gas lines, they leak.

It's essential that you have a professional excavator perform a gas line inspection before continuing with your project.

You Fall into the Trench and it Caves in

Locating and marking your property's hidden gas lines aren't the only things that should concern you. You must also consider the safety of your trench. Trenches can cave in or collapse if the soil surrounding them isn't secure enough. If you're inside your trench when it collapses, it can bury you. It's critical that you perform a soil test on your property before digging.

Soil tests tell you about the condition, type and health of your soil. Depending on your location in Canada, soil freezes and thaws during winter and early spring. During summer, rain drenches the soil with water and moisture. You soil becomes loose and dangerous.

Another problem with digging a trench in poor soil is vibration. Your excavating equipment, such as diggers and jackhammers, create invisible energy waves in the ground. Because of the amount of force they use to break through rock and other solid earth, excavating equipment can weaken soil supporting the sides of your trench even further. Even if you don't feel the vibrations or invisible energy waves, they can travel through the ground and compromise your trench. 

Excavators test the soil because they need to know exactly what type of equipment to use to dig your trench, as well as how deep to dig the trench. In addition, if the soil contains too much water, the excavators remove or dewater it.

The excavators also secure the site with multiple workers for safety. Several workers stand outside of the trench and watch out for crumbling soil and other hazards. If there's a problem, the workers act quickly and pull anyone trapped inside the trench out before it collapses completely. 

Now, that you understand the dangers of digging your own trench, contact a professional excavating contractor for services. Your safety and the success of your project depends on it.