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Q: Do I need a permit to replace my water or sewer pipe on my property?
A: Definitely! Excavations are costly and you want to be sure the work is done properly. Having this type of work inspected is not only required, it is smart. Believe it or not, inspectors are there for your protection. Galaxy Plumbing & Drain has all excavation work inspected by the local plumbing authorities and guarantees all their work.



Q: When would a typical homeowner or business owner need an excavation?
A: The 2 biggest items requiring excavation for both residential and commercial properties are the replacement or repair of the main sewer line and the replacement or repair of the main water line. The main sewer line is the drain that connects the house or commercial building drainage system to the public drainage system. In a house, for example, all the drains from the different fixtures connect to a single pipe called the main sewer line. That line exits the house and goes underground to a sewer that is located (typically) under the street. The main water line is basically the same except that water flows to the house not away from the house, and the line is delivering fresh water not discarding used water. Water line depth in Maryland and DC on average is about 4 ft. to 5 ft. Sewer lines vary considerably. The sewer lines in Howard County usually average a depth of 10 ft. to 16 ft. Other places can average from 6 ft. to 10 ft. No matter how deep your lines are an excavation of this sort almost always requires machinery



Q: How deep in the ground can a person be working before they have to have some sort of protection against the ground caving in around them?
A: According to OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) at a depth of 5' a worker must be protected against cave-ins in class 'C' soil. There are several options for getting this protection but the most common type that Galaxy Plumbing & Drain uses is called a 'shoring box'. It is a large box set into the ground and the worker works within the box to accomplish his task. The box is strong enough to protect the worker should a collapse of the surrounding soil occur. Keep in mind that if conditions are poor, protection can be required at depths under 5 ft. The 5 ft. rule is not absolute.



Q: What should I do if I see someone working on an excavation sight and I believe they are unsafe?
A: If an emergency occurs you should call 911. However, if you believe the worker is unsafe or in danger, call the fire department immediately.



Q: A friend of mine had their water line replaced and you could hardly tell anyone had worked in thier lawn. How is this possible?
A: There is a method called "trenchless excavation." For an underground water line it is sometimes possible to insert a steel cable through the existing water line. A new water line (usually copper) is attached to the end of the steel cable and as the cable is pulled through the ground the new water line gets pulled underground as well. An excavation is required at one end of the property to pull the cable through the ground and then make the final connection. However, a trenching of the entire water line is not required. Sewer pipes can also be replaced using the same method. Sewer pipes can also be relined using a rather sophisticated method whereby an epoxy resin is applied to the inside of the sewer pipe and then cured to a hardened finish. The new finish is smooth and any inconsistencies in the existing pipe are covered over. The new relined sewer is as good as new! Galaxy Plumbing & Drain performs some types of trenchless excavations so call us today.




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