Winter can be slow for seasonal businesses like ours. When the frost sets in the ground and our equipment has a tough time breaking the surface, you may think we pack up our machinery and head indoors to hibernate for those cold months.
In fact, we find winter to be one of our busier times of the year, as we not only perform routine maintenance on our tractors, skidsteers, dozers, and excavators, but some of our services can still take place during the winter season.
Want to know what keeps us busy in the wintertime?
During this “slow” season our first order of business is to assess the wear and tear on our equipment. We perform routine cleaning and waxing to protect the exterior surfaces of the machinery, but in some cases, like with our bulldozer, we tear off all the pans to blow out built-up dirt and sand to keep the internal parts running in top shape. This preventative maintenance allows us to remedy any problems we come across while we are in a slower work time, keeping us from breaking down during high-demand months in spring and summer.
Each year we also perform large-scale rehabilitation on our older models. If you’ve followed our social media pages or our "What's New?" blog for some time, you’ve seen last winter’s John Deere tractor cab renovation. Jobs like this are common in the winter months when we have time to tackle larger-scale jobs that will span several days.
Winter weather can be hard on below-ground piping due to the repeated freezing and thawing of the earth. These cycles can cause dirt and sediment to shift and cause cracks and breaks in water and sewer lines. Repairing these lines for residential and commercial property owners is one of our most important off-season jobs, so these small inconveniences don’t turn into major problems. When situations such as these arise, our crew can come in with our small equipment to trench small swaths through the property and replace small sections of the piping to get systems back to functioning condition as quickly as possible.
Stream Bank Stabilization
In the winter months when the ground is firm and frozen, many of our services grind to a halt, but we can still perform some of our soil erosion prevention services, such as stream bank stabilization. In these jobs, we work to push back the banks along water ways like rivers and streams to stabilize the surrounding property and reduce topsoil loss. Our crew cuts back the bank to an optimal water flow grade and reinforces the new grade with large rocks and blocks of concrete. We also seed the ground to support plant growth and root systems to hold the dirt in place.
Snow Removal and Salt Spreading
One of our busiest wintertime projects is clearing sidewalks, driveways, and roadways for our loyal customers. When the snow and ice flies, we move in to keep you and your loved ones safe by removing snow and spreading salt, lime, and ice melt.
Wintertime work keeps us busy from December through March, and though the winter months can be long, we're excited to welcome the long days of summertime very soon.
Happy Halloween Gravel Grading and Excavating fans! Tis the season for stories that send a shiver up
your spine and leave you feeling a little unsettled. Halloween is all about a little bit of a scare, right?
We have all the spooky stories about septic backups and (dare I say it) top soil erosion!
So settle in with some candy, light a fire, and get ready for some scary stories.
Spooky Story #1:
First up is a story that will have you checking your septic system every day and even through the night.
Typically when septic professionals open the lid to a septic tank, there’s a 10-inch air gap, but during one
inspection, the home inspector found herself looking into a tank filled to the brim with wastewater.
When the inspector walked out to the drain field, where wastewater from a septic tank is slowly
released underground, she found a massive green and black puddle.
“The scary thing was, there were boats and toys in the water,” the inspector says, indicating that the
family’s kids had been playing in that spot.
The homeowner mentioned that the puddle had been there since the last rain – two months prior to the
“I had to explain that was no puddle,” the inspector says. “It was wastewater surfacing and she didn’t
want to let her kids play in it. She was horrified.”
Now that’s a scary situation!
To avoid this happening to you, be sure to pump out your septic system regularly. Timeframes depend on number of people in your household and volume of water used. If your septic system is in need of repair or replacement, contact our crew before it’s too late.
Spooky Story #2:
This is a short and not-so-sweet story that some farmers know all too well.
Soil erosion can lead to lost topsoil that you can never get back.
This equates to potential loss of yield for farmers and investment for property owners. Lost top soil can also lead to inefficiencies with your equipment, inconsistency of input placement, and lost dollars. The effects of soil erosion go beyond the loss of fertile land. It has led to increased pollution and sedimentation in streams and rivers, clogging these waterways and causing declines in fish and other species too. Degraded lands are also often less able to hold onto water, which can increase flooding too.
Contact our crew at Gravel Grading & Excavating to install ag tile, waterways, and detention
ponds to preserve your precious dirt.
Don’t let your Fall and Winter months get scary, contact our crew today so you don't become the next scary story we share with our followers!
Over the past few years, we’ve shared a lot about our passions and projects, but this month we wanted to bring it back to the basics to share what our business is all about. Our crew at Gravel Grading and Excavating has been moving earth for two decades. We provide a broad spectrum of residential, commercial, and agricultural grading and excavating services to Cascade and the surrounding areas. From site preparation, to sewer and septic installation, and tile and drainage of farm fields, our crew is prepared to do just about anything for you!
Most of the year, our crew is busy with any number of projects. Our residential and commercial jobs center around foundation work, septic, leveling ground, and grading.
In the agricultural sector, our crew works closely with farmers helping with erosion control measures and ag tiling. Some of our favorite work has been with pond building and dredging in rural areas.
During the off season, you can find us in the shop completing routine maintenance, fixing equipment, or doing snow removal for local businesses and people.
Our crew is passionate about the work we do for all our clients, but particularly those with local farmers and ag workers. The agricultural industry is essential to our community and they work hard to provide for others each and every day; our crew loves completing projects that make farmers’ jobs easier and more efficient.
Give our crew a call today to see how we can move earth for you!
Our crew at Gravel Grading & Excavating is dedicated to moving the earth for our clients and customers. We jump at the opportunity to assist with any project that we can, especially those that consist of waterway or sediment basin work because the efforts can benefit future generations of Iowans. Maintaining a sediment basin or waterway is essential to preserving Iowa’s most precious resource, black dirt topsoil.
To help aid water drainage for a local community in the summer of 2020, our Gravel Grading & Excavating crew was called in to help clean out an existing drainage basin that had reduced efficiency after years of silt/sediment collection. Years of rain events had moved so much dirt into this drainage area, that all you could see of the outlet's 10-foot structure was the cap (pictured below). This told us that it was more than time for the silt basin to be cleaned out.
Sediment basins are ponds with open water that capture coarse sediment and litter carried by stormwater or runoff. They intercept the runoff before it reaches the waterway, and slow it down to allow the coarse sediment to fall to the bottom.This way the cleaner water stays at the top of the pond and flows through the outlet source.
A well-designed sediment basin should be just large enough to allow time to capture most of the target coarse sediment. It should only capture a small amount of finer particles and contaminants, the majority of which should be treated by a constructed wetland or raingarden downstream.
In order to maintain a sediment basin, it needs to be cleaned out regularly, usually every two to five years.
For our project in question, almost 10 feet of outlet pipe had been covered up with sediment over the years. Using our dozer, excavator, and wagons, our crew was able to clean out all the dirt that had settled in, and used it to build up the sides of the existing berm structure. See the photos below to watch our crew unearth and relocate years of sediment.
Our guys then relocated the dirt and shaped the berm and drainage areas to facilitate future runoff and soil preservation efforts.
Contact our team at Gravel Grading & Excavating today to see how we can assist you!
Our winter projects typically consist of cleaning and maintaining equipment and planning for the upcoming year. However, this past winter we decided to tackle a big lake dredging project for a customer. Our dedicated crew spent hours in the cold working to get this job done!
Dredging is the removal of sediment and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, ponds, and other bodies of water. It is a routine necessity for maintenance of waterways. Over time, the accumulation of sediment and muck reduces water quality and impedes water navigation and recreation. Lake dredging is a tried and true solution that can give years back to your waterbody. There are many benefits of lake dredging including:
Our crew used our long reach excavator to dredge out this lake for our customer. This piece of equipment allows us to cover a wide range of land and lake. Several spots of sediment can be tricky to maneuver with large machines and the extended arm can reach those areas without the risk of getting stuck and losing hours of work time. Once the sediment is removed from one area we move along to the next spot to steadily complete the project. This particular project took our crew a little over a week to complete and the customer was extremely satisfied with the results. If you are needing a lake dredged or have another project in mind, give our crew a call today!
Purchasing or building a new home is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime. So each and every decision you make from the building to the maintenance phases of your home’s lifespan is important. We have had the opportunity to help our customers at various stages of the process. From the planning of the foundation to final grading and seeding of the lawn, we are always delighted to help local couples and families through construction to build the home of their dreams. When it comes to your home, Gravel Grading & Excavating can help with site and yard prep, leveling and grading around the property, installing your septic system and drain field, and much more.
We want you to get the most out of your home and enjoy all that your property offers! One of our most memorable residential projects was from the summer of 2018 when we had an opportunity to work on a residential property high atop a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River town of Bellevue, Iowa. Unfortunately, this family found themselves unable to fully enjoy their outdoor spaces due to the steep hillsides and overgrown timber areas. We assisted them in cleaning up the overgrown trees to enhance their view. In that same year, we worked with another homeowner to improve and widen her driveway to help prepare a foundation for a horse arena.
Another large project took place In the summer of 2019. For this project, the homeowner wanted to protect his 1970s-era home from water leaking into the foundation. In order to successfully complete this job, we utilized our excavator to dig out a trench around the house. Next, we installed tile lines to collect water and divert it away from the home to a designated drain field. Once that was finished, our crew reinforced the foundation through damp proofing to create a water barrier and then applied a tar membrane for additional water protection to keep moisture out of the home’s foundation. At the end of the project, we finish graded the lawn to provide even more protection to the home’s foundation for years to come.
A septic system is essential in the daily functioning of your home. With all the water the average family consumes, it is of the utmost importance to have confidence in your home's wastewater collection and treatment system. We pride ourselves on our meticulous work when it comes to installing your home’s septic system and drain field. Our crew works closely with the family, the state of Iowa, and EPA codes and regulations to make sure the new system will be both functional and environmentally sound. To learn more about how the installation process works, see our blog about our previous work at a local family farm:
If you are looking for residential services from our Gravel Grading & Excavating crew, get on our remaining 2020 schedule or book for early 2021 by calling 563-542-6610.
This past summer our crew was hard at work on another pond construction. This was a large project to undertake, but our experienced crew was perfect for the task at hand.
The early days of the job were spent clearing land of shrubs and vegetation, then we quickly moved into the earth-moving phase to make the beginning shape of the pond. An essential element of a man-made pond is a core trench. It's constructed by digging the length of the pond and establishing a solid base. To start this step in the process, our Gravel Grading and Excavating earth movers dig down through top soil, rock, sand, or any other material, until they find a good clay soil layer that water won't seep through. Our crew then packs the clay to ensure a solid base for the pond so that it will retain water.
Next, our crew forms up and pours around an inlet drop pipe. Inlet structures are built to control the water level in the pond and keep it consistent at all times. The galvanized material we used here will provide a durable option that will keep the pond filled for years to come. After the inlet pipe is formed and installed, it's time for the outfall pipe to be placed. This pipe will take excess water out of the pond and divert it elsewhere to drain away. This phase of the process is labor-intense as it requires lots of packing of the soil to support and reinforce the man-made components. Our crew takes extra care to complete this phase so our structures can withstand future water erosion once the pond is filled.
Below, our crew fills around the outlet pipe to create the base of the pond. This is a time and labor intensive process to ensure that the dirt is firmly packed to prevent water seepage and to move around the man-made structures our crew has placed.
The final phases of this pond construction includes closing the earthen dam. With this dyke closed, it will create a barrier for the water, and soon the pond will be able to fill.
Thanks to our hard-working crew at Gravel Grading and Excavating for all their hard work on this project! With years of experience in building water features for our clients and working in the Eastern Iowa surroundings, we've got the knowledge and the portfolio to give you what you want. Give us a call today to see how we can help you!
Today we bring you the process of rural pond making. We're going to show you how our crew can move the earth for you and your family to create a retreat you can enjoy for years to come!
In 2019, we were called in for a pond expansion job south of Cascade. Our client had the beginnings of a recreational pond on his property, but what he had and what he envisioned for the property were two different things.... and that's when he called in our crew at Gravel Grading & Excavating! The project was soon looked over and discussed, as the property had an overgrowing of trees and shrubs and a shallow pond not suitable for the recreational fishing he was looking for.
In the first phase of this project, our crew came in to help grub out the area surrounding the pond and grade up the banks to allow for a deeper water feature.
After we had the new banks laid back, we needed to clear out the sediment and plants that had accumulated at the bottom of initial basin. Our excavation team got right into the thick of it, clearing out the debris and allowing the spring/water table to fill the new pond basin.
After much anticipation, the pond we helped our client with was full and stocked last fall.
It is now more accessible since our crew grubbed it out and laid back the banks. And with the additional depth we were able to give it, this pond can stock additional, healthier fish to provide hours of relaxation and recreational fishing for our owner.
We so appreciate our client asking us in to help with this fun project!
If we can give you your own retreat like this one, call us at 563-542-6610 or email email@example.com !
While many areas of our lives have slowed down over the past few months, we at Gravel Grading and Excavating have continued to stay busy and work hard for our valued customers in many different areas and services.
One of the services we offer is laser grading for both farmers and commercial buildings. This service aids in leveling land and foundations for livestock facilities, feed bunkers, and other buildings requiring a concrete foundation.
When prepping for concrete, it’s essential that the ground is as level as possible before pouring to prevent heaving, cracking, inconsistencies, and proper drainage in the finished product.
What is laser grading?
Laser grading is when we use specialized laser attachments on our equipment to ensure accurate slope and leveling on our projects.
Our team uses a laser grader attachment for our Bobcat Company skid loader so we can precisely level out the base of the building to prep for foundation pouring. These attachments help us work smarter, faster, and more profitably with highly productive equipment.
Operators increase their efficiency and reduce fatigue since they can focus on operating the machine’s travel, rather than the blade position. Fewer people are also needed because, with near-perfect accuracy, there is no need for a crew to continually check grade on the jobsite. It’s as simple as clicking a button on the loader controls to activate the automatic system.
How does it work?
Our laser grader attachments deliver more accurate grading results with less time and less labor. A laser transmitter is used to emit a plane of laser light across the job site. The plane mirrors the completed job site and is used as a reference point to ensure the blade is on-grade at all times. The blade moves up and down automatically to keep the base materials on-grade. Laser transmitters and rod-mounted laser receivers can also quickly determine the amount of material that needs to be added or removed from the site.
A few years back we were contacted by George Knepper, a local beef farmer, to help prep for a new cattle building at the family’s farm just north of Cascade, Iowa. By using our laser grader attachment for our skid loader, we were able to level out the base of the building to prep for foundation pouring.
Thank you to the Knepper family for choosing Gravel Grading & Excavating, JP Scherrman, Inc., John Deere Dubuque Works, and Martin Small Equipment for supplying our equipment needs, and for our hard-working crew who always move the earth for our customers!
Want to get on our 2020 schedule?
Get in touch with Gravel Grading and Excavating here on Facebook or call us at 563-451-9330 to get on the schedule in 2020.
We would love to move the earth for you!
Our crew at Gravel Grading and Excavating has been hard at work cleaning and rehabbing our equipment to get each piece ready for the 2020 season.
Every winter we make sure to complete routine maintenance on our fleet of tractors and equipment, including washing and waxing them for protection from the harsh Midwest weather seasons. This past winter we focused a lot of our work on our bulldozer. In addition to removing the dust and dirt from the belly pans of the John Deere 750J dozer, we replaced the tracks and added a fresh coat of paint.
When it comes to maintaining bulldozers, the undercarriage is always first priority. Daily inspections should look for wear points, abnormal wear, or anything that could reduce production and increase downtime. It’s also essential to keep the roller frame as clean as possible with a regular clean-out schedule. Once material is packed into the undercarriage, it can cause a tight track and increased wear rates on the undercarriage components. When considering the aforementioned, our crew decided this winter would be the best time to remove and replace the tracks as well as the rollers.
In addition to replacing the track and rollers, our crew gave the bulldozer a fresh coat of paint once we had thoroughly washed and waxed the machine.
With spring officially here, let us know If you have a job for us in 2020 by giving us a call today!
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