What Is Dewatering?

Construction projects typically require the movement or removal of significant amounts of soil. As the earth is disturbed, water surfaces. This liquid must be removed in order for construction to continue. The process of removing surface and groundwater from the site is referred to as dewatering. But how does dewatering work?

There are several dewatering strategies contractors will typically use. There are also several precautions they must take to ensure the safety of the site and the surrounding community and environment. Following are the basics on how dewatering should work.

Dewatering strategies

Contractors usually dewater a site through pumping, draining or evaporation methods. This happens before excavation for footings is completed, to minimize the potential for problems during the construction process:

  • Gravity: The simplest of dewatering strategies is to put gravity to use. Contractors create a drainage channel that will allow the water to flow away from the construction site to a designated discharge area.
  • Pumping: For some projects, pumping the water is necessary. In these situations, contractors use machinery to pump the water out of the ground at the site and discharge it elsewhere.
  • Siphoning: In certain scenarios, siphoning, rather than pumping, is possible. Contractors siphon off the water at the site to make the area accessible for construction.
  • Scoop and dump: Contractors may also use machinery to scoop up the water at the site and dump it in another area.

Dewatering precautions

As contractors remove the water from a site and place it elsewhere, it is crucial that they follow proper procedures to protect the discharge site and the surrounding area. No matter which dewatering strategies they choose, contractors must take the following precautions:

  • Slopes: When dewatering, contractors must not pump the water directly into slopes.
  • Erosion: If signs of erosion or other ground instability appear, dewatering should cease.
  • Buffer: If possible, contractors should direct dewatering strategies to a wooded buffer.
  • Vegetation: If channels are used for dewatering, it is best to choose channels that feature vegetation or grass for protection.
  • Rainy conditions: Contractors should not attempt to employ dewatering strategies during heavy rains, as the strategies will be ineffective.
  • Contamination: If water has been contaminated with chemicals, oil or grease, it should not be discharged.
  • Permits: Contractors may be required to obtain permits from local or federal agencies to implement certain dewatering strategies. A local dewatering specialist can assist with obtaining the proper permits.
  • Water table: Before attempting any dewatering strategies, contractors should research the local water table conditions and choose a strategy that will work with any challenges the conditions pose.
  • Appropriate method: It is important to choose dewatering strategies that fit the job, based on the amount of water present. For example, certain sump pumps cannot handle large volumes of water.

We know dewatering strategies

For safe, efficient dewatering strategies, contact the professionals at Gullett Sanitation Services, Inc. We offer mobile dewatering to get your site ready for success. From permits to wastewater transportation to sludge removal, we are your go-to dewatering experts. Reach us today with any questions or to get started on your next project.