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How long does it take to dig by hand a 1m deep, 20cm wide trench in clay

We need to replace the 80 year old clay sewer line that connects our house to the barrel sewer. The line is cracked, tree roots have got in, there's a break. The plumber recommends poly as a replacement. I had a guy in with a camera and transponder who's videoed the pipe interior and located it for me. As an aside, that is great technology.

The line is about 25m from the outlet on the house to the back of the garden. Access is difficult. The sewer line is 1m deep. I haven't checked with the plumber but I guess the trench will need to be perhaps 20cm minimum width. It's only 1m deep and in clay so it won't need shoring.

We could get a small bobcat or similar in but as we have a lot of established trees we are worried about the potential collateral damage. The local hireplace has walk-behind trenchers that wil go down to 60cm. I thought I could perhaps hire this trencher to go down 60cm and do the rest by hand. Or do the lot by hand. Either approach would save money and fuel compared to a bobcat.

I don't have experience with trenching to this depth using a shovel. How long might it take to dig a 25m trench 1m deep in clay? Is this realistic to do by hand?



Asked by David Coote
Posted Nov 26, 2012 3:28 PM ET


1 Answer

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Get the Bobcat.

And get ready for a series of jokes that will be posted by GBA readers...

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Nov 26, 2012 3:40 PM ET

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