“What you can’t see can’t hurt you” does not apply when you’re talking about underground utility installation. This is an area where integrity matters. We are among several of the preferred go-to utility contractors for several commercial builders. They trust us to install their electrical conduit, water and sewer feeds, or gas lines according to code.
While Rye Beach Landscaping does not install plumbing or do electrical work, plumbers and electricians usually do not dig trenches. The utility trenching is contracted out. Our excavation division takes pride in doing their job to code as much as plumbers and electricians take pride in doing theirs.
Yes, there are codes for digging trenches! The first and most important one is to be sure that Dig Safe has been called before any trench excavation is started.
Town water and sewer. A trench for town sewer and water must come in at a 4 foot depth. There’s not a lot of room to reroute a sewer or water line that must go from point A to point B. It’s not unusual for us to run into ledge that has to be hammered out.
After a licensed plumber has installed the feed pipes, the town inspects it. Although there is no code for backfill soil around waterlines, we always line the trench and fill around the feed lines with sand to protect them from being crushed or cracked by ledge or stone.
Electric. The depth of electrical conduit can vary depending upon the service. 110 amp service requires a minimum trench depth of 18 inches; 220 amp service requires a trench depth of 36 inches. Conduit itself must be set on 3 inches of sand covered with another 6 inches on top. Depending on specifications, a concrete cap may be required. Electrical caution tape also needs to be run through the trench at 12 inches below grade.
Gas Conversions. More and more people are converting from oil to propane or natural gas. Natural gas line depth requirements are determined by the individual town; PVC coated propane lines are required to be only 6 inches below grade. Town may require one or two inspections of the trench prior to backfilling.
The bottom line in installing any utility is to be sure that the piping is not damaged in the backfill process and the backfill is compacted in lifts so as to avoid future settling. When Rye Beach Landscaping is done, your yard is clean and the trench cut has been re-seeded.
While it’s not necessarily a difficult job, utility trenching can have more than its share of headaches. These may be due to subterranean obstacles or bureaucratic ones! If you’re considering a town water or sewer connection, upgrading your electrical service, installing propane or converting to natural gas – call Rye Beach Landscaping to have it quickly, and have it done right. Rye Beach Landscaping’s excavation division has great relationships with local gas companies and town inspectors to help your project go along smoothly.