View Full Version : The things you find excavating

03-18-2005, 07:36 PM
Started a new hardscape job Tuesday, 1700 square feet consisting of three small patios, one circle kit and some walks. Tore out with the mini Ex. and jackhammer attachment, all the old sidewalks the first day. Started digging for the base the next day. Dug down about 10 inches and checked the soil under foot before spreading my stone base. It was like a sponge. Kept diggin and checking the soil every six inches till I was about two feet down and hit fabric covering 2B where the large patio was to go.

Did some investgating with the homeowner and my boss to find out an inground swimming pool was just filled in about 5 months ago. They filled it in correctly but none of the soil would compact over it, even with a jumping jack. Took out two feet of soil finally for the main patio area, and a strip of sidewalk I had to take down nearly three feet for junk fill that was used just outside of the old pool area. Nothing like having to spread the geo fabric and get another 50 ton of 2A modified and then bring everything back up in 3-4 inch lifts.

I can usually count on finding some wires or drain pipe, but a swimming pool caught me off guard.

03-18-2005, 10:04 PM
Found a 20x10 driveway that was buried under fill when the old house was knocked down. No buried treasure yet but I keep my eyes open. payup

03-19-2005, 02:22 AM
A sewer lid that the previous contractor had covered with the wrongly installed driveway

03-19-2005, 10:12 AM
I ran into an old buried blacktop driveway on this job also that ran back to the one house extension where a patio is going. That part of the house looked to be a garage at one time.

The other thing that made for a slow start on this job was a 50 year old sewer vent and cleanout that needed moved for this job. Plumbers got there the same day I did, and ended up diggin a massive hole which I filled with 12 ton of 2B. Of course, part of that hole is under one of the paver patios areas I am to do.

03-19-2005, 09:29 PM
Was moving a large Sugar Maple (maybe 9") once with a tree spade. We were able to get 3 of the spades in the ground but one was getting hung up half way on something very hard. Between the spade, a backhoe, and some hand digging we got the tree out and transplanted on site. That was 3 years ago and it's doing beautifully. The tree was being moved to accomodate a huge addition onto an existing hotel that was very very old. It turns out their addition actually existed years ago and below the whole area (about 15,000 sf) was the remnants of the foundation walls and floors. It turned out to be quite a project for the site guys. Pretty funny what you find in historic areas

D Felix
03-20-2005, 10:48 AM
Along the tree spade line of thought, my father found a 12" high pressure gas main with a 90" Big John several years ago..... I think I've told the story before, but he was lucky and didn't puncture it....

I can't say I've found anything as interesting as you guys have...


03-20-2005, 09:58 PM
It is amazing when you go to plant a tree in and existing yard that has irrigation, that where you are planting the tree, there always seems to be a sprinkler line right were you are digging. Talk about a pain in the ***.

Or when moving an existing tree how many times there is a sprinkler line right under the root ball.

This summer we were excavating for a paver patio and about six inches down, we hit all kind of electrical wire and conduit. Thought we were going to have a big mess on our hands, but after a couple hours of trying to get ahold of the homeowners, it turned out that it was all old wiring from the house when they add on. Turned out the the contracotr just decided to bury it instead of disposing of it. Always makes for a good time. And yes we did have a locate done on the place.

03-20-2005, 11:11 PM
I found a concrete pad, I made the owner jack hammer it out. :)

03-21-2005, 11:16 PM
We were doing some excavating for a patio in the back of a home and as we were digging the ground seemed to cave in at one spot. After a couple feet of digging we found 12 sheets of drywall covering 12-15 large tree stumps. :angry: I guess the builder never heard of a dumpster. After all was said and done we had a 12' wide by 8' deep hole to fill back in....... :realmad:


03-23-2005, 01:23 PM
We have also found alot of old Beer bottles, not broken, old pop cans that we in pretty good shape. All way before my time. Couple guys on the crew remember them.

03-24-2005, 11:07 AM
I forgot to call diggers hot line and hit a pipe! no just joshing you. I found a bumper at a retaining wall job horseshoe at another thats about it no swimming pools yet.

03-24-2005, 11:53 AM
I found a bomb, like the kind dropped from an airplane, when I was working at the golf course. After calling the bomb squad, it turned out to be a dummy bomb. Found out from some old timers that the property the GC was on was part of a field the Army used to practice their bombing prior to the start of WWII. Kept it as a conversation piece.

AL Inc
03-24-2005, 10:27 PM
I found a Michigan license plate from 1957 while doing a planting about 8 years ago. Pretty unusual.

03-25-2005, 03:31 PM
Uncovered a 500 gallon fuel oil tank 36" from the foundation of a pre 1950's single story ranch. Had 125 gallons of oil and water in the tank. What a pain in the back side that was.

D Felix
03-27-2005, 09:56 AM
I forgot I found an old abandoned septic tank once. Broke the lid with the mini-x I was using (we were putting in downspout drainage), and ended up having to get it pumped out and then we filled it with gravel... It turned out to be a PITA too.


03-27-2005, 10:45 AM
nothing very interesting here.
lots of concrete, etc.

i do however often fing the old pull off soda/beer can tabs. The older guys here will know what i'm talking about.

it's always funny. NONE of the kids that work for me are ever able to tell me what they are......

guess i'd better start taking my geratol.