Last Updated: February 12, 2018

Definition - What does Trenching mean?

Trenching is a construction method that involves digging a trench in the ground to install, maintain or inspect pipes, conduits or cables underground. When the installation of the pipe, conduit or cable is completed, the trench is backfilled and disturbed grounds are returned to their original state, insofar as possible.

Trenchlesspedia explains Trenching

Trenching as a means of installing supply and sewer pipe goes back at least to the Roman Empire. The Empire's builders had a mandate to protect the water supply, as well as ensure it arrived at its destination. The answer to that was to dig a trench, install pipes and fill in the trench, burying the pipes underground, beyond a potential enemy's reach. This cut-and-cover method is still in use.

The advantages of trenching are that many municipalities are accustomed to the process and have the appropriate equipment. The disadvantages of trenching to install municipal or private infrastructure include disturbance of plantings, trees, businesses and homes in their vicinity. Wider trenches present a fall danger to passersby, as well as danger of collapse to any workers in the trench. Even the narrowest trenches present a danger of falls and injury. Increased municipal liability resulting from open trenches is a disadvantage that often offsets additional costs - such as hiring contractors or the cost of purchasing equipment and obtaining training - that may impede municipalities' use of trenchless technology.

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