Underground Utilities

Published: | Updated: January 25, 2021

Definition - What does Underground Utilities mean?

Underground utilities are any public service infrastructures installed beneath the ground surface. Underground utilities include, but are not limited to, lines used for electricity distribution, traffic lights, street lights, natural gas transportation, telecommunication, cable television, water/wastewater pipelines, and broadband internet services. These infrastructure elements are typically installed and maintained by the relevant public utility companies.

Underground utilities are also known as subsurface utilities.

Trenchlesspedia explains Underground Utilities

Some utilities, due to convenience, aesthetic, or functional reasons, must be installed as underground systems. The utility companies responsible for their installation must typically seek approval from local government authorities before construction commences to ensure that the intended utility location is within the appropriate right-of-way.

The installation of underground utilities by conventional excavation methods poses many risks to construction workers. Confined spaces, engulfment, electrocution, and unstable trenches are just some of the hazards workers face when installing underground utilities.

For this reason, many governments and municipalities are turning to trenchless methods of underground utility installation. Horizontal directional drilling, in particular, has quickly gained popularity due to its remote steering ability, reduced manual labor requirement, and minimal impact to the surrounding environment.

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