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Depth of cover

Technical solutions

The minimum and maximum depth of cover depend on the pipe characteristics and the laying conditions.

Definitions

By convention, manufacturers make a distinction between:

  • the backfill area. ;
  • the careful backfill area comprised of:
    - the trench bottom and pipe surround backfill up to at least 0.10 m above the assembly crown for flexible pipes;
    - the trench bottom and surround up to the horizontal diameter for rigid pipes
  • the extant soil.

The backfill zone conditions the pipe stability and/or protection. Its execution must meet variable demands depending on:
- the pipe characteristics (rigid, semi-rigid, flexible);
- the external loadings (depth of cover, wheel loads);
- the more or less rocky or heterogeneous nature of the ground.

The backfill zone varies according to the area involved (rural, semi-urban or urban), and has to take road stability into account.

Other constraints also affect the laying conditions:
- keeping the pipe frost-free (minimum depth of cover),
- passing through critical safety areas (railways, motorways, etc.), which require special arrangements,
- current regulations and local requirements applicable to roadways.

See also

Ductile iron pipelines and unstable grounds.
Earthworks laying recommendations.