Utility Potholing: Preventing Bumps in the Road

As the leading provider of professional underground services near Manhattan, NY, GPR One Call understands that underground utilities present a significant hazard for work crews. Digging without knowing the exact location of utility lines is both challenging and dangerous. But thanks to modern excavating methods such as potholing, project sites are safer for both the individuals working on them and the utilities buried underneath.

What Is Utility Potholing?

Potholing, also sometimes referred to as “daylighting,” is an excavation process that includes making a series of small test holes to pinpoint underground utility lines accurately. Potholing utilizes vacuum excavation to verify the location of lines below the surface or other obstructions surrounding an expected bore path.

Potholing can tell workers a great deal about buried utility lines, including the following:

  • Horizontal position
  • Type of line
  • Depth
  • Signs of damage

These days, more and more work crews regularly use potholing to avoid hitting water, gas, electric, telecommunications, and fiber optic lines and keep projects within budget and on schedule. It’s also a useful technique for applications that need boring holes, such as:

  • Signage installation
  • Telephone or utility pole placement
  • Fence posting

The information gained from potholing allows construction and excavation project workers to proceed without fear of striking any underground features. It is also much more accurate and fast than relying on charts or utility maps that may be incorrect or outdated. Potholing helps avoid, if not completely eliminate, the following risks:

Vacuum Excavation and the Potholing Process

When potholing, crews use a portable vacuum excavator. First, test holes that measure 6-12 inches deep are made along the line where they plan to dig or otherwise begin construction. They excavate soil with high-speed suction until the utility line is partially uncovered.

Both air and hydro vacuum excavation could be used for potholing by utilizing pressurized water or air to rapidly move ground contents out of the way, allowing operators to have a clear view of subsurface fixtures and features. These methods safely dig through hard, compacted dirt, rock-heavy soil, and clay. Unlike the traditional techniques of incorporating a shovel or heavy equipment, it will not cut a utility line hiding below the surface. Instead, vacuum excavation is a non-invasive, non-mechanical process that leaves a relatively small site footprint.

For more information about our hydro vacuum excavation services near Queens, NY, contact GPR One Call today!