Restoration Options

“It’s a small detail, but I get more callbacks from the pits I dig outside the home that sinks over the course of the next year after I lined the sewer lateral. It doesn’t take much to throw a little dirt and grass seed or whatever is needed to bring the soil back up to even again. But it does cost me time and money. Any options you could offer would be helpful”.

Morning dew on the green shoots of oats.

Backfilling a ditch or pit using the native soil excavated challenges most excavations to restore them so they don’t settle and leave an indentation. Even piling the final spoils over the top of the cut usually display a divot in the ground over a period of time. As an old excavating contractor as well as a lining contractor, here are the methods I used on past jobs.

Your first option, if possible, would be to avoid the excavation pit altogether by finding a usable clean-out to line the pipe from. If the clean-out will fit into the pipe you need to line – meaning you won’t need any excavation – you are golden and your job won’t require any restoration. If that isn’t an option and you need to excavate, here are some useful tips that may help.

Depending on the soil spoils you are working with may require special handling. There are several stabilizers on the market that will solidify the soil you are working with to help pack it back into the hole. Soil tampers that pack the soil as you are filling the pit or excavation can compact the soil to minimize future settling. These come in air-powered, hydraulic-powered and gas-powered. Vibratory rods help repack sandy soil conditions. You are striving to reach a 100% compaction test, and these tools should be able to help you get there. 

However there are times that reusing native soil, particularly expansive soils, may need to be hauled away and replaced with other materials. Expansive soils are those types of soils that expand and contract with moisture. After a rain, the soil expands and during dry spells the soil shrinks. Once disturbed this type of soil may be too difficult to match undisturbed soil that remains in place surrounding the cut. This expansion and retraction process will inevitably cause a difference in elevation between the undisturbed soil and your replaced soil.

When we talk about other materials to use to replace the native soil you are removing, we’re talking about such materials as decomposed granite, gravel, and slurry. These materials are readily available and are options you should consider when needed. Short of performing pot holing testing for each pit you dig, familiarize yourself with the different types of soils found in your area, and in particular where the locations are that may contain one type of soil over another area that is different.

Flood plains usually have softer soils that have been carried into the plain while just up the hill may lie clay. Some soil conditions have rocks in the composition of the soil that may be easier to remove and replace with other materials than dealing with replacing the rocks and getting soil all the way around the rock placements.

Remember it’s the little details that can cost you money, and this is a prime example. Returning to add a little soil and grass seed every year for 2 or 3 years to a settle excavation doesn’t make you any money and each trip subtracts from what you counted as profit before.

For more information regarding soil restoration, contact us at +1-888-354-6464 or email us at

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