The Value of Experience in Excavating Projects: Navigating Challenges in Yamhill County, Oregon

Excavator prepping a construction site

Excavating projects in Yamhill County, Oregon, present unique challenges and considerations. From navigating diverse terrain to adhering to local regulations, experience plays a crucial role in ensuring the success and efficiency of any excavation projects across the valley. While Oregon Utility Notification Center (OUNC or Oregon 811) exists to provide assistance with these matters, it is not always perfect, and often cannot replace the vital role that hands-on experience and application born from years of working on excavation projects can give.

Understanding Oregon 811: A Vital Step in Excavation Safety

While it should not be the only place to turn to, Oregon 811 is still a great place to start.  Here are some basics on the program:

What is Oregon 811?

  • Oregon 811 is a “Call Before You Dig” program designed to prevent damage to underground utility lines during excavation projects.
  • Excavators are required to notify Oregon 811 at least two business days before digging to allow for utility line marking.

How Does Oregon 811 Work?

  1. Notification: Excavators must inform Oregon 811 of their excavation plans either online or by phone.
  2. Marking of Utilities: Utility companies mark the locations of underground lines within the excavation area.
  3. Excavation: Excavators proceed with caution, avoiding marked utility lines to prevent damage and ensure safety.

Real-World Example: Experience Saves the Day

Here are some examples provided by the Dirt Guys of why experience is crucial to any excavation project in Yamhill County:

1: The Dirt Guys had a request to install an underground electrical wire from a solar array to the client’s battery house. The client had already called the “Call Before you Dig” helpline and they had found nothing in the field.

Now, at the time, the field was being leased to a grass farmer in Yamhill County.  Due to previous experience, the Dirt Guys knew that farmers often put in a drain tile to keep their fields from flooding. The property owner hadn’t heard of it, so the Dirt Guys asked to speak with the farmer. Sure enough, the farmer had installed drain tile right across where the client wanted to dig. If the trench had been dug without further assessing the situation, it probably would have cost the farmer thousands of dollars to repair.

2: Another time, a lot owner had secured approval from the town for building a home and installing a new septic drain field on their fresh lot.  However, things took a costly turn when an inexperienced excavator was tasked with preparing the site for construction.  The excavator unwittingly dug out the home site and deposited all excavated soil onto the designated drain field area.

This seemingly innocuous mistake had significant repercussions: by piling soil atop the drain field, the ground was rendered “disturbed,” jeopardizing the integrity of the approved septic system.  Consequently, the initial plan for a $12,000 gravity drain became unfeasible.  Instead, the client now faces the daunting prospect of installing a $30,000 septic system to rectify the situation.  Had the excavator been more seasoned, they would have known to go about the excavation in a much different manner.

3: In a final instance, a client required the creation of a driveway over their existing utilities.  Prior to commencing any excavation work, the Dirt Guys adhered to the necessary protocol by calling to request utility line marking through Oregon 811.  Despite the machine’s initial assessment suggesting a considerable depth for the trench, the Dirt Guy’s experience and commitment to caution prompted them to take additional measures.  They decided to manually excavate the area to verify the depth and ensure avoiding any potential damage to the underlying utilities.  To everyone’s surprise, the utilities were much closer to the surface than anticipated, which underscored the importance of hands-on verification.

In Excavation, Experience is Invaluable

In Yamhill County, Oregon, experience is paramount in the successful execution of excavating projects. While accessing services such as Oregon 811 is a great place to start, seasoned excavation professionals are necessary to anticipating hidden challenges.

Looking for experienced excavation professionals?  Contact the Dirt Guys here.

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