There are certain steps and precautions that you need to take before, during and after you excavate a trench. You cannot simply use a shovel to dig a trench, there are many steps that go into a project this large. Follow these steps to help you dig the best ditch.
Photo Credit: The U.S. Army on flickr
Plan The Excavation Carefully
1. This step is where you will decide to dig and what set of tools and heavy equipment will be needed for the job. You want to try and choose a route that will not damage any valuable plants or other valuable property in the route. Make sure you know the type of soil you will be digging, different soils require different equipment.
2. Check For Major Pipelines
Call the local government/utility location to be able to find where electrical, gas, water and other important pipelines are so you do not damage them.
3. Get Proper Equipment
Shovels, pickaxes, handtools and heavy equipment if needed. Try renting a mini excavator if you are looking to save a lot of time.
4. Remove Vegetation You Want To Keep
You can safely remove vegetation you want to keep alive and replant it after the job is done.
5. Remove Topsoil
You want to remove the topsoil to a depth of about 10-20 centimeters. Store the topsoil away from the site to avoid contamination. To avoid compaction, make sure the heap of topsoil does not exceed 1 – 1.5m in height.
6. Being Digging
Line up with the ditch and begin digging! Make sure that all the workers and equipment are placed to line up with the ditch.
7. Dig To The Desired Depth
Make sure you follow through with the plans you made and cut the dirt to your desired depth. If you are benching, make sure the first cut is dug to the depth of the first bench.
8. Spoil Soil
Get rid of the bad soil to be sure it does not encumber you while you reinstall everything like the utilities or doing whatever work the trench is being dug for, this will also make it so that the trench does not have an “overbending” problem.
9. Laser and Depth
Use a laser to check the depth of your trench to be sure it is all even and all the areas are dug to the exact measurements you planned.
Install the material that you dug the trench for.
11. Backfill Trench
Make sure to fill the trench, try renting a gasoline plate tamp to help you pack the dirt tight.
12. Replace Topsoil And Complete Job
By this point you should be able to replace the topsoil and finish the job!