Benefits of Backfill Separation

Direct Benefits

  • Reduces damage to the pipeline coating and pipe from rocks and rugged materials that may be situated in the spoil pile;
  • Ensures better and more consistent compaction during the backfill process, which contributes to preserving the integrity of the pipeline by securing it in place;
  • Facilitates maximum ditch spoil replacement and soil compaction during the backfill process;
  • Eliminates soil contamination, what comes out of the ditch goes straight back in during the backfill process – the Green alternative; and
  • For underground electrical cables, mechanical padding reduces cable damage from rocks and hard material in the spoil pile and facilitates even heat dispersal through consistent soil compaction.

Better Pipe Support

  • A pipe that is surrounded by high quality compacted material will support loads and better resist deflection; and
  • The shorter the time frame during which the ditch is open, the less likely the possibility of:
  1. Pipe shifting out of line due to cave-ins;
  2. External damage (e.g., falling debris, natural causes);
  3. Pipe lifting due to flooding; and
  4. Backfill material becoming frozen in cold weather.​


  • Mechanical padding is not just a specialty item for backfilling pipelines where there are known deposits of rock and hard material;
  • Mechanical padding is the optimal method of backfilling a pipeline ditch; and
  • Proper use of mechanical padding can virtually eliminate any risk of damage to the pipe coating or pipe during the backfill process.

Backfill Considerations

  • ​Availability of backfill;
  • Cost of backfill;
  • Quality of backfill material;
  • Terrain;
  • Environmental conditions;
  • Project specifications; and
  • Productivity/time constraints.


  • Backfill is the final critical stage in the pipeline construction process after lowering in the pipe; and
  • If the pipeline is not backfilled correctly, all of the earlier steps, such as coating the pipe, welding the pipe, scanning the welds, coating the joints, etc., to assure the integrity and long-term viability of the pipeline are at risk.