If you need to excavate a pit for a new landscaping feature or swimming pool, you might opt to try this work yourself. A homeowner can typically rent a bobcat and, in many cases, handle the job successfully on their own. However, you might want to consider when it's good to stop excavation work and call a professional so that the dig is safe and you don't have any property damage. Note when this is and why a professional excavator may be needed.
When your dig gets very muddy
If you're digging a pit or trench and it suddenly seems very muddy inside or there is obvious water seeping into the pit, it's good to call an excavator to handle this work. That mud or standing water typically means that the moisture in the soil around the pit is running into your dig site; if the walls of the dig should then get soft and muddy themselves, this can be dangerous, as they may then collapse.
It can also be very difficult to keep digging without more water seeping into your excavated area. A professional will be able to use a hydrovac, which actually vacuums out the soil as well as that added water and moisture, keeping the dig site safe while finishing the job without that standing water getting in the way.
When you notice very foul odours
If you suddenly start to notice very foul odours during your dig, this can mean that a nearby septic tank has a leak or that there is damage to a sewer pipe on your property. Runoff from either of these may have affected the area of the dig, and you may not have realized this until you started to remove the soil.
Continuing to dig in this case can mean allowing that runoff to seep into your dig site. In turn, your landscaping or pool area may be contaminated with bacteria and other harmful elements. An excavator can note the cause of the odour and if repairs need to be made to a nearby septic system or pipes or how to protect the dig site from contamination.
You hit unexpected wires or cables
Your city or other municipality may mark off buried wires and cables before you dig, but if you should find any type of line, you want to stop digging immediately. Those wires are probably carrying electrical power so that if you should sever it, you could actually be electrocuted. If you come across anything unexpected while digging, stop your work and call a professional rather than thinking you can work around it, as you may actually be in danger.