If a local authority wishes to reduce the amount of existing road, curb, sidewalk, or landscaping disturbance that comes with trenching in water service laterals, they will often specify that the lines be jacked or drilled. This refers to a relatively small drilling rig which bores underneath the road, walk, curb and other features.

Depending on the location of the water main (in the road, in the tree lawn, etc) a the drilling rig will be positioned in the location that makes the most sense logistically to reduce disruption of existing features, achieve the depth desired, and to maximize the efficiency of the drilling rig. Sometimes a small pit will be required to achieve the proper depth needed.


Depending on the location of the main, drilling a proposed ‘Long’ service often makes more sense logistically than drilling a ‘short’ service especially when the length of the short service from the main to the right-of-way line is less than 10′. In this ‘short’ service situation, open-cutting the trench makes the most sense.

Most often, the drill rig will set on or near the right of way and face the road, aiming the drill towards the water main. Often a drilling pit must be excavated so the depth of the service pipe has at least 4 or 5′ ground cover (for frost resistance) or can be manipulated by hand later to achieve that depth. Once drilled, one must excavate down to both ends of the service pipe, expose the recently drilled pipe, and attach to the corporation stop (water main side) and curb stop valve (right-of-way line side) with the proper flared or compression fitting.