Electrical wires

How Deep Am I Allowed to Dig Under My Yard?

Written by: Quintin Bentley Crevling

Before you bring in an excavator and accidentally dig up your main water line you should know how deep you can dig into your yard. It’s easy for people to get caught up in the hype of owning a home, and forget that they still need to consider their neighbors wants and needs. Digging into the ground without a permit could cost you thousands in repairs and lawsuits. It’s important to consult a utility mapping service that find and mark the locations of important underground utility lines. This will give you clear parameters to work within. To give you an idea of how deep you can safely dig around your home you should consult a utility mapping service, know how deep each line may lay, and know some basic safety tips to avoid striking an important line.

There are several utility lines that run under your lawn to connect you with public supply/waste lines. A simple utility mapping of your property will save you the headache of finding these lines in your yard, and make your construction project easier. For example, you have pipes that provide fresh drinking water to your home, pipes that remove wastewater to the public sewer system, gas pipes that provide heat, telecommunication lines from the phone company, and electrical powerlines. These are all crucial supplies that make your home suitable to live, and damage to these pipes/lines will cost you hundreds to repair. A broken main water line could cost you as much as $3,000 just to fix, let alone all the other damage it can cause to you, and your neighbors properties.

Having your yard mapped is incredibly important because the pipes are only buried 225 mm into the dirt. If you were digging in your yard to plant a small tree you would strike your shovel into the pipe with your second jab into the earth. This is deep in the ground compared to pipes underneath concrete slabs, which are only 75 mm underground. This is when it’s important to know the history of your home, and ensuring it has been kept up to code when renovations occur on the property. Electrical wires lay deeper into the ground, and are buried to a specific depth depending on the voltage of the power supply. These wires are a minimum of 450 mm deep, and at most 750 mm underground.

Digging is a relatively easy job that requires strong muscles, and a good work ethic to get a task completed. There are a few safety tips that will keep you safe and protect your pipes from devastating errors. Once your utility pipes are marked you should outline the boundaries with chalk and flags to make is absolutely clear where the restricted zone is located. If you are digging within a meter of the restricted zone you must use hand-held tools to limit the chance of striking an important line. If you follow these tips, your job will go off without a hitch.

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