Types of Work Performed by Wet Utility Contractors
Hiring wet utility contractors is necessary when work needs to be performed on underground pipes. These types of contractors are involved with the installation of water and sewer pipes and storm water drainage systems; repair or removal of existing pipes; preparing construction sites for demolition work; and land restoration where pipeline work was performed.
Wet utility contractors also are needed for repair or installation of public water treatment systems, pre-cast pump houses and steel tanks, as well as modernizing freshwater pipelines.
Wet utility construction contractors undergo significant training before they are allowed to work at construction sites. Workers often encounter dangerous conditions that could lead to serious injury, death, or accidental discharge of toxins into the environment. For this reason, contractors also receive training in HAZMAT and OSHA guidelines, along with any special training required for their specific job function.
One resource that is particularly helpful to utility contractors is subsurface utility engineering. SUE makes use of several types of high-tech equipment that is used to produce a 3-D map of the construction site.
SUE methods supply contractors with detailed information pertaining to previously installed pipelines and utilities systems. Being able to obtain precise location on of these pipes has been instrumental in reducing workplace accidents caused by damaged pipes.
All contractors that perform subsurface utility work must take measures to ensure construction safety is a top priority. Whenever workers dig trenches to conduct underground work they must shore up the soil around the trenches to reduce the potential for cave-ins.
Contractors have to be very mindful when performing work close to utility lines because contact to exposed lines could result in severe injuries or even death. Causing damage to existing underground utility pipeline could result in street flooding, discharge of environmental pollutants, or deadly explosions.
Contractors are also faced with the potential for harm when working with the different types of equipment used at the workplace. Performing underground utility work involves using heavy equipment for digging trenches and installing pipelines. Workers run the risk of being smashed by construction machinery or being hit by pipes as they are lowered into the trenches.
Construction excavation jobs present numerous issues and challenges that demand meticulous planning, intensive training, and continual monitoring of the project. The potential for workplace accidents and injuries can be lessened by conducting pre-job surveys to assess potential hazards and making certain laborers have been adequately trained.
Perhaps the greatest challenge that wet utility contractors are faced with is water. These types of jobs often require digging trenches positioned below the water table. In these situations, contractors are required to dewater the jobsite before conducting pipeline work.
There are several methods used to dewater construction job sites. The most common is to siphon or pump water. However, if water levels are too high workers will have to install cutoff walls and wellpoints.
Installing wellpoints is a complicated and expensive procedure. This technique involves attaching wellpoints to a pump that is used to vacuum and release water through a header pipe that uses a series of jet pumps to forcefully discharge water into the ground.
Wet utility construction is one of the most dangerous and technical types of work. It is vital to employ wet utility contractors that are experienced and have a pristine record of construction safety to ensure work is performed safely and complies with state and federal regulations.