Using a process known as potholing, excavation crews can easily locate underground utilities, without risking damage. This procedure is also performed by digging, but it is different than conventional digging technology.
Until now, traditional drilling methods using maps and specialized manual and mechanized drilling equipment were neither accurate nor safe. Today, hydrovac trucks are capable of digging holes as deep as 12 inches, allowing the crew to check the position, depth and type of buried utility lines, before the actual excavation process begins. This technology is based on pressurized water and vacuum, which makes it non-invasive and highly efficient.
Cables and pipes laid using horizontal drilling are the ones posing the most challenges for excavation workers, because this method does not disturb the ground around the line nor leaves a traceable ditch line, which can make it more difficult to see where the line is going. The ground around it is still hard and requires more force to dig. Digging blindly or using force near cables and pipes can make excavation very dangerous.
But the information offered by potholing allows excavating crews to proceed with their projects without fear of damaging underground lines. Besides, digging is much more accurate and faster compared to that relying on potentially inaccurate or outdated maps.
Overall, potholing helps avoid, if not eliminate, the following:
- fatal accidents
- damaged underground utilities
- service interruptions and failures
- equipment damage
- expensive repairs
- liability issues
- frustrating project delays.