Soil and Groundwater Management

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Excavation Best Practices

Responsible Soil and Groundwater Management for Optimal Project Outcomes

At Orb Excavations, we firmly believe that ethical, safe, and environmentally conscious management of soil and groundwater is an indispensable element of all excavation projects. Handling these essential natural resources demands proper practices that protect our workers, minimize long-term environmental impact, and ensure compliance with established regulations. From initial site evaluation to project closure, these principles guide our operations.

Understanding the Risks – It's Not Just About Moving Dirt

Excavation means working within Earth’s complex subsurface dynamics. The risks extend far beyond moving cubic yards of earth and include:

  • Contaminated Soils: Past industrial activity, illegal dumping, or even naturally occurring materials may necessitate remediation, specialized handling, and disposal options at approved facilities. Contaminated soils jeopardize safety and incur significant project costs.
  • Groundwater Disruption: Dewatering procedures or altering groundwater flow carries environmental implications. Negative effects on adjacent wetlands, wells, or the wider local water table are unacceptable long-term consequences.
  • Soil Erosion and Runoff: Compromised soil can erode easily during storms, creating mudslides or polluting downstream waterways with sediment and potentially harmful materials. This can lead to regulatory actions and damage our reputation.
  • Unsafe Trench Conditions: Wet conditions dramatically increase the risk of collapses. Groundwater management isn’t simply an environmental mandate; it forms a cornerstone of effective excavation safety practices.

Proactive Planning: Prevention as the Best Strategy

Responsible soil and groundwater management shouldn’t be an afterthought, but a key aspect incorporated into project planning:

  • Site Assessment: Pre-work surveys must encompass a thorough study of soils, hydrology, and possible contamination history. Soil boring, testing, and historical land-use analysis are essential to identify concerns upfront.
  • Regulatory Understanding: Navigating permit processes, reporting requirements, and limits on specific materials requires preparation to avoid costly delays. Local agencies are often a valuable resource to consult early in the planning process.
  • Tailored Methods: The “right” technique isn’t one-size-fits-all. Groundwater may require dewatering strategies, filtration to remove contaminants, or diversion using temporary barriers. Each scenario demands its solution.
  • Contingency Plans: Weather, equipment failure, or uncovering unexpected contamination create a need for adaptability. Pre-determined responses keep projects on track, and safety paramount.

Best Practices in Action: The Orb Excavations Commitment

We’ve integrated these actionable steps into our work processes and project plans:

  • Dewatering: When necessary, we rely on engineered dewatering systems that include appropriate containment, filtration, and controlled flow rates to manage extracted groundwater, ensuring water quality protection.
  • Erosion Control: Silt fences, erosion blankets, and the strategic timing of earthwork (i.e. avoiding work during rain-prone seasons) reduce erosion risks. These steps protect both nearby waterways and ensure site stability.
  • Soil Stockpile Management: Covering stockpiles, controlled placement, and, when necessary, testing of excavated soil to minimize exposure to wind or runoff dispersal.
  • Material Tracking: Manifests for hauled material, especially on known contaminated sites, document where waste soil is deposited and demonstrate our commitment to proper handling procedures.

Beyond Just Operations: Environmental Stewardship

Orb Excavations is more than just earthmoving. We recognize a wider responsibility:

  • Innovation: Staying updated on new technologies for water filtration, on-site soil remediation, or efficient water control is a commitment to continuous improvement.
  • Industry Participation: Contributing to trade associations and regulatory dialogues allows us to promote sensible guidelines and responsible practices, shaping the future of our industry.
  • Openness to Learning: Each site has its own “lessons.” We debrief after project closeouts to glean knowledge and refine our techniques with every completed job.

The Benefits of our Approach – Protecting Our Legacy

Proactive soil and groundwater management has tangible benefits for clients, Orb Excavations, and the communities we serve:

  • Controlled Costs: Early hazard identification prevents budget-disrupting surprises after a project is underway.
  • Safe Worksites: Dry trench conditions, stable soils, and minimal risk of exposure to contaminants translate to increased crew well-being and adherence to safety protocols.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Avoiding costly fines or work stoppages is good business and builds trust with governing agencies.
  • Protecting Our Reputation: Ethical, environmentally sound practices create goodwill in the community and attract repeat customers.

At Orb Excavations, we don’t view soil and groundwater as obstacles, but as resources to be responsibly managed alongside the successful execution of every project. It’s an approach grounded in science, adherence to best practices, and a commitment to leaving a positive environmental impact. In doing so, we honour our promise to both current clients and future generations.

New Years Break

The team at Orb Excavations wishes you a safe and joyous holiday. We are currently on leave till the 15th of Jan, 2024.

We are unable to take phone calls for the time being. Please leave us an email through our contact form and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Happy New Years!