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Dirt Dumping - ways to save?


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By Darren on 8/11/2003


Hi.

I am building a project on the side of a hill. There is a massive amount of earth that needs to be dumped (about 10-15 truckloads). The excavator says that 2/3 of my excavation cost will be in dumping the dirt. Are there any creative strategies people know for saving money in the process (legally, I mean!). Is there a way to sell the dirt? Or buy a flat property somewhere and put the dirt there? Any ideas?


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By Jc in Rockport, TX on 8/11/2003


Darren,

If I read your inquiry correctly, you'll be excavating a hillside and looking for somewhere to dump the material.

Check with your local landscaping folks that do large projects. They may come and haul it if it's clean and FREE! Otherwise, your local city maintenance dept. may be interested as well. Check with any builders doing large projects in the area, too. I have about 80+ tons of rubble concrete on a prospective property my wife and I are looking to buy and I have found that there will be any number of folks looking for good fill dirt or "rip-rap" materials if you live near the water. Let us know what develops.

JC


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By Jim in Maple Grove, MN on 2/15/2007


Hi Darren,

I recently had the same problem, but my soil was clay and I had over 60 truckloads! What I did is go on to the Craigslist website (craigslist.com), chose the city I live in, and then put an ad on their "stuff for free" part of the website advertising that I had a lot of fill available. I got an email from a guy who wanted it hauled to his lot 6 miles away, so I saved a ton of money on disposal and trucking costs!

I also had a lot of trees to cut down so I did the same. Put an ad on Craigslist and said that anyone who wanted to come and cut it and haul it could have it all! Worked great!


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By Phillip in Tampa, FL on 2/20/2007


Bring it to Central Florida and we'll pay about $200 per load (18 cu yds) for it - clean fill dirt is hard to find and expensive here. I'm spending over $20K just in dirt for my project! I'd love to have your problem.... :)

Phillip


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By Homewithaview in Mountain View, CA on 6/3/2007


This may sound silly, but I'll also be facing that problem. We're tearing down a house on a slope and rebuilding. Given that we'll be adding another story, I'm guessing they'll have to excavate more for a foundation. There's a pool in the backyard that we're probably having filled in, does anyone know if they can just dump the dirt in the pool? Isn't that how they fill in a pool anyway? Or is it different dirt?
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By Michael in Cave Creek, AZ on 6/5/2007


Typically when filling in a pool, the first step after draining the pool is to jackhammer out the deepest part to allow water to permeate through the bottom. A foot or so of gravel to facilitate drainage may be a good idea after that. It is likely the building inspector will want to see the hole before the backfill operation starts.

Next, I would fill the pool in 6" lifts and water and compact. If you are building on top of the site of the former pool, you may need to do some compaction testing. This work is normally done by a technician working for a geotechnical engineering firm or materials lab.

Unless your site has 12" or greater diameter boulders, expansive soil or soil with a heavy clay content, the borrowed soil from other portions of the site should be suitable for backfilling your pool. To confirm you need to check with a local permitting official, a local soils engineer and/or a local excavator.


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By Shirl in Shingle Springs, CA on 6/12/2007


If anybody in Sacramento wants to get rid of fill dirt, we need a huge amount near Garden Highway.

Shirl
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By Anonymous on 8/7/2007


Always remember for every person who builds on a slope there are usually just as many people building on awkward terrain who could use the fill to level out their land. Here in Pennsylvania you can't drive five miles in a rural area without seeing signs posted "Clean Fill Wanted" they are more than happy to take dirt, stumps, rocks, etc...
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By Steven in MN on 9/13/2007


Great ideas. I'll start building in Minnesota in the spring. It will be on a slope and I will have a lot of fill.
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By Asim in St Louis Park, MN on 9/20/2007


Steven,

I will be in the same situtaion. Where in Minnesota are you building?


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By Steven in MN on 9/20/2007


Lake Minnetonka on Priest's Bay. 

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By Steven in MN on 9/21/2007


I am designing my home now on a terraced sloped south-facing lake lot. I want to incorporate passive solar and am trying to decide whether to dig into the hill (especially walkout basement level) or build more along the terrace contour with stepping back exposed structure on the different levels.  

In general for construction costs, is it cheaper to build into the hill with more excavation and poured/ICF basement walls or exposed wall construction (structure, insulation, siding)? If one way is significantly more it will sway me towards more affordable option.

Thanks.
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By Richard in Rancho Cordova, CA on 12/31/2008


Hi Shirl:

I am digging out a gravel driveway so I can concrete it. I am also emptying out a raised garden. The stuff from the drive will have some gravel and small cobble in it. I think it will be four or five full pickup loads. P.M. me.

Richard


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