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May 2011 - Posts - Mud Hound

Mud Hound

The life of a Land Drainage Contractor

May 2011 - Posts


I found some more photos, thought I would share








Judging by the number of hits each post gets, photographs are popular and there has been a lack of them later, so I thought I would post a few. These photos show how it was done many moons ago. The old drainage machines look strange to me and I can’t help but wonder just how hard to was to install drainage in those days.







Excavating trenches is our bread and butter, operating large excavators and trenching machines is an everyday task for us. Life would be simple if only someone else had not been trenching happily before we got there. The ground is criss-crossed with gas pipelines, electric cable, water pipes and fibre optics. All of which have to be indentified and crossed.


Crossing any service is a pain, the trencher has to pull up and we have to scrape back the top soil  then probe and dig by hand until we are confident that the service is deeper, clear the trench with the excavator being careful not to excavator any deeper than the hand dig, and then repeat the process. Often a trench line is visible in the soil structure and sometimes the soil is softer where the old trench is, but not always and if the service was installed many years ago it can be hard to see the old trench line.


But not all services are the same, a mistake which severs a small diameter water pipe, may be a major inconvenience to the home it supplies but it can be fixed quickly with fittings brought from most builders’ merchants. Damage a gas or electric supply and peoples life’s are in danger.


Most people tend to know what services are in their ground even if knowledge can be sketchy on the details, so it is important to ask. The utility companies are, understandable, keen that no one damages their infrastructure and most provide plans and details. Some do it via the post but most now use web sites and e-mail which speeds things up. Companies like National Grid have plant protection departments, and have staff trained to find services and supervision contractors like us who are working close to their apparatus.  A CAT (Cable Avoidance Tool) is able to pick up electric cables and metal water pipes, so we scan before we trench.


Unfortunately sometimes we do hit services, but we do so very rarely and we make every effort to know what is in the ground before we trench.




A couple of agricultural facts about the Midlands were sent to me the other today, I thought I would share them...


More than 2.1 million hectares of land are farmed in the Midlands generating £3.9 billion a year for the national economy.


The Midlands includes 675,000ha of cereals - one quarter of the national crop.


Some 900,000ha of farmland in the Midlands is grazed by livestock.


The Midlands is the home to 1.25 million cattle - almost one fifth of the national herd.


Farming is a major employer - around 87,000 people in the Midlands work in agricultural.


More than two-thirds of the land in the Midlands is used for farming.





Sorry for the lack of posts recently, I will use the bank holidays as a feeble excuse and some nasty technical hitches as a more substantial reason. Annoyingly there was an issue with our Broadband, only when you don’t have something do you realise how much you use it. Thankfully it has been fixed and I have slogged through the spam, filtering the junk from the genuine.


It has felt like mid-summer around here for the last couple of weeks. The weather has allowed us to race through the contracts, and complete work which was not expected to be available to us until far later in the season. Of course this is good, but it is impossible not to wonder about the weather. We had the cold winter spell I can remember and now we have had the driest spring. A couple of days were very hazy, more like August than April. Anyway it rained on Saturday so I expect in a couple of weeks I will be moaning about the constant rain!