As a homeowner, you may be reluctant not only to switch from septic to sewer systems—mandated by county updating—but you may not want to shell out more money to professionally excavate your connection. But connecting to a sewer line requires you to expose an area of earth that can be physically difficult and dangerous to manage, as well as risky to trench if you aren't positive where buried utilities are located. So when you begin the process of connecting your home to a municipal sewer system, there are a few reasons why you need to hire a professional excavator.
Connecting to a lateral sewer line, or one that's installed for multiple residential hook-ups can be done with a shovel (and capable manpower), but it's better to use a professional excavator. The type of terrain you'll be digging through determines the difficulty involved in trenching—so living on soft terrain may make your project more manageable, but heavy equipment is required if you live on top of cap rock.
Outlets for your residential connection vary by square footage, which is normally delineated by sewer and aqueduct services when you begin the process. You can also expect to dig up to several feet across, as well as deep, trying to avoid other buried utilities while trenching. An excavator has the equipment and know-how to expose only the area needed for line connection, so hiring one to finish your home's hook-up will ensure that any unexposed pipeline doesn't become damaged.
Safety and Code
There are safety and code requirements that need to be followed when excavating. Even residential sewer line hook-ups can pose danger if the walls of your trench aren't properly supported, or if banks aren't sloped without shadowing to remove the possibility of getting buried alive in the process of digging.
For safety, OSHA, and county code requirements, it is always best to hire a professional excavator. An excavator can finish your connection job without compromising safety during hook-up, and will help to ensure that your opening meets standard requirements.
Using an excavation contractor to dig your sewer line can cost anywhere from about $500 to $3000, depending on the extent of excavation and equipment needed to trench. Though this cost can seem high, using a professional will ensure your connection space is adequate, safety is maintained, and no damage occurs to either an existing sewer line or other utility aspects—any of which can be costly to try and remedy after the fact.