How Do You Know After Utility Locating, You Need Vacuum Excavation?

How Do You Know After Utility Locating, You Need Vacuum Excavation?

Private utility locating is an essential service if you need to update blueprints, install a new utility line, or construct a new building. The technicians at Trinity Subsurface leverage ground penetrating equipment to deliver comprehensive, aboveground mark outs with spray paint and flags. However, these deliverables are not always enough to move forward with your construction project. In some cases, vacuum excavation is a necessary additional procedure to work safely and make better work site decisions.

Private utility locating is a great method for determining the underground placement and type of utility. Yet, there are limitations to the service if you are looking for more data to understand what’s underneath. Trinity Subsurface utilizes vacuum excavation to safely obtain critical subsurface utility data including:

  • Utility Depth/Elevation
  • Precise Horizontal Location
  • Utility Condition
  • Precise Utility Size & Material Composition
  • Subsurface Conditions & Backfill Composition

The method in which Trinity Subsurface obtains this information is called potholing. Technicians excavate a small test hole approximately 15 inches in diameter over the crown, or corner, of an underground utility. Test hole excavation verifies the condition of buried utilities and identifies conflicts with blueprint designs. The depth and width of all lines must be found through potholing.

Vacuum excavation is a non-mechanical and less invasive method of excavation. The method breaks up soil and underground material using pressurized air then suctions it up to clear the area with a high-powered vacuum. Some common scenarios when vacuum excavation is necessary include: 

  • Conducting landscaping projects such as installing a fence post or a mailbox
  • Tying a new utility line into existing utilities for a new housing development or commercial project
  • Cleaning valve boxes and catch basins
  • Repairing sewer/sanitary lines
  • Surveying a project site
  • Installing a new utility line underneath a highway
  • Completing geotechnical coring and drilling
  • Determining the pitch of a sewer line
  • Verifying the condition of buried utilities
  • Identifying conflicts with blueprint designs



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