sewer excavation

Ultimate Guide to Sewer Excavation in Arizona

Are you planning to have a sewer repair or replacement any time soon? If you are, then you must be curious about the entire process and the basics of sewer excavation. 

We have prepared the ultimate guide to everything you need to know about the sewer line excavation process in Arizona.

What Is Sewer Excavation?

Sewer excavation is the process of digging up and removing the soil and other materials above and around a sewer pipeline, manhole, or underground sewer. It is usually done to conduct sewer line repair or installation of a new sewer line. 

It is commonly done by an excavation company together with other professionals like plumbers, or sewer repair services. The main purpose of excavating a sewer is to make sure that a sewer system like the septic tank is functioning properly, repairing issues like blockages, leaks, cracks, or collapsed pipes.

Process of Sewer Excavation

sewer excavation

The process of sewer excavation typically involves the following steps:

  • Site preparation: Before the sewer line excavation process begins, the site must be prepared. This may involve removing tree roots, bushes, and other obstacles, as well as establishing access points for heavy machinery and equipment.
  • Excavation: The next step is to dig the trench that will house the sewer line replacement or repair. The trenches dug have to be around the damaged sewer line for the plumbers to have access to the broken sewer line. This may be done using hand digging, excavation equipment, or heavy machinery, depending on the size and complexity of the project.
  • Installation of the sewer line: Once the trench has been dug, the sewer line repair or new sewer line installation can now be done. This may involve laying the pipe and connecting it to the existing sewer system and the city sewer system.
  • Backfilling: After the new sewage system has been installed or completely repaired, the trench must be backfilled with soil. This helps to ensure that the sewer line is properly supported and protected.
  • Restoration: The final step is to restore the site to its original condition. This may involve re-grading the ground, planting grass or other vegetation, and making any necessary repairs to sidewalks, driveways, or other structures that were impacted by the excavation.

Why do you need sewer excavation?

There are a few necessary reasons why you might need sewer excavation for your home or property:

Construction of New Home or Property

If you’re planning to construct your brand new home, excavation for your sewer line is needed to install the new sewer line, which will be connected to the main server line of your community. This process is also necessary to meet the local regulations and building codes that are related to the sewer systems and construction of new homes and properties.

Repair or Replacement of New Sewer Lines

Sewer excavation is needed to repair or replace your home or building’s current sewer lines. The damage can be caused by corrosion, clogging, physical damage, or due to the very old sewer system of a building. To do the repairs and replacements, it is necessary to access the damaged sewer lines through excavation.

Installation of a New Septic System

There are times when your city or residential area might require you to change your old septic tanks into a new sewer system. These regulations have to be followed, and sewer excavation is needed to be done to install the new pipes and other sewer system components.

Types of excavation for sewer line repair

There are currently three types of excavation that you can do for your sewer line repairs. Your excavation contractor will let you know which technique would be best for your location; while factoring in the cost and efficiency of the excavation technique.

Here are the most common types of sewer excavation:

Internal Excavation

The process of internal excavation requires digging a hole to access the sewer system from the interior of a building or a home. It might be an invasive type of excavation, but it gives faster and easier access for plumbers to fix leaks or do a sewer line repair. However, this process is not usually ideal for fixing multiple leaks or severely damaged pipes.  

External Excavation

This method is the most common way to do sewer line excavation. As opposed to internal excavation, external sewer line excavation involves the process of digging soil and material to access the sewer lines from outside the building. The excavation contractor will dig trenches around the sewer line until the pipes are exposed.

Trenchless Excavation

Just as the name implies, trenchless excavation requires no digging of trenches on the surface. It allows the sewer lines to be repaired or replaced within the existing pipes to reduce the damage in nearby landscapes.

Commercial Sewer Excavation Cost

sewer excavation

On average, the cost of commercial sewer excavation can range from $50 to $200 per linear foot, but it could be higher or lower depending on the factors listed above. It is best to consult with a contractor for a detailed cost estimate specific to your project. The cost of commercial sewer excavation can vary widely depending on several factors, including:

  • Location: The cost of sewer excavation can be higher in urban areas due to the need to navigate around existing structures, including complex underground utility systems.
  • Size and complexity of the project: The cost will significantly increase as the size and the project’s complexity increase, such as in the case of a large commercial development with multiple buildings and underground utilities.
  • Accessibility: The cost for the entire excavation method may be higher than usual if the sewer line is difficult to access.
  • Depth of excavation: Deeper excavation typically requires more time and equipment.
  • Type of sewer line: The cost of sewer excavation will vary depending on the type of sewer line being installed or repaired, including the materials used.
  • Labor and equipment costs: This can vary depending on the local market and the availability of skilled workers.

FAQs About Sewer Line Excavation

sewer excavation

How do you excavate a sewer line?

Excavating a sewer line typically involves locating the sewer line, marking the excavation area, removing the obstructions from the excavation area, digging the trenches, repairing or replacement of the sewer line, backfilling the trench, and restoring the site.

How deep should sewer lines be buried?

In general, sewer lines are typically buried to a depth of at least 5 feet below ground level. This depth is considered to be deep enough to protect the sewer line from damage due to heavy machinery or heavy loads, as well as to provide adequate protection from freezing in cold climates.

What are sewer tunnels called?

Sewer tunnels are commonly referred to as sewer tunnels, sewer pipe tunnels, or sewer pipelines.

How do you fix a broken sewer pipe without digging it?

Nowadays, there is a technique called the trenchless method wherein contractors can repair a broken sewer pipe without having to dig the soil up.

What Are the Questions You Need To Ask When Hiring Sewer Excavation Contractors?

  1. How long have you been working on sewer excavation projects?
  2. Is your company licensed and insured as a contractor?
  3. Do you have references from your previous clients?
  4. How can you do sewer line repairs without doing much damage to my property?
  5. How long can you complete the project?
  6. What sewer line repair methods can you offer?
  7. What are your safety measures for your workers and people living near the excavation site?
  8. After you repair the sewer lines, how can you restore the excavation site?
  9. Can you provide a detailed quotation for all the expenses I need to pay for the project?
  10. How will you communicate with me throughout the process to keep me informed about progress and any changes to the original plan?
trench digging

Looking for a Professional Excavator in Arizona?

If you are facing a sewer line issue and need professional excavation services, look no further. Specialty Grading’s team of experienced excavators is equipped with the latest technology and expertise to handle any sewer excavation project. 
Contact us today for a project quote!

About the Author
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Specialty Grading

We are a family-owned and operated business in different areas of Yavapai County such as Prescott, Prescott Valley, Dewey, and Chino Valley for over 20 years since 1995. With the help of our certified and licensed excavating and grading contractors, we take pride in providing our customers with efficient services and excellent value.

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