Ditch Doctor offers a new way to maintain ditches
By Jenny LescohierDecember 06, 2022
Draining ditches is dirty business, and the traditional tools used to perform the task – an excavator and a dump truck – were not exactly designed for that purpose. The result can be an inefficient use of time and resources.
Adam Fisher was raised in the business and from a young age he thought there had to be a better way, so he developed the Ditch Doctor, an excavator attachment made for maintaining ditches. It allows ditch maintenance that doesn’t start from scratch every time, while leaving local soil in place with limited impact to the environment.
The prototype Ditch Doctor was built in the family shop in Nova Scotia back in 2002. Today, there are several models available to fit both small and large excavators.
The Ditch Doctor works in both wet and dry soil conditions and is said to be three times faster than the traditional method, using less fuel and labor and leaving valuable topsoil in place – good news for companies aiming to meet sustainability goals.
It builds two-stage ditches which are kinder to the environment, with natural buffer zones that reduce runoff and protect the water supply.
How does the Ditch Doctor work?
The concept of the Ditch Doctor is a bit similar to a snow blower. The rotary attachment has a set of robust teeth that spin, chewing up rocks, roots and soil, which the
machine shoots out to be dispersed along adjacent land.
“The Ditch Doctor basically cuts the trench, cuts the ditch and clears out the spoil in one step,” says Fisher, founder of Ditch Doctor Drainage Solutions. “You can adjust the RPM to spray the spoil 20 feet or 100 feet, where it stays. You don’t even know that you’ve been there other than you’ve got a nice, clean, flowing ditch.”
Fisher continues, “It’ll work in up to three feet of water to get that ditch flowing. It’ll spray that water and muck all the way up through that as well.”
The Ditch Doctor uses a quick-attach universal coupler that attaches to the regular hydraulics of the excavator.
What is a two-stage ditch?
Most ditches beside a road or between two fields on a farm are a one-stage dip. They’re concave at the bottom. Two-stage ditches are like a one-stage ditch with a smaller trench in the center of the bottom.
“It’s like an inverted ice cream cone with a cherry on top,” Fisher says. “You have the normal conical ditch and then at the bottom of it, there’s another smaller ditch.”
In that case, the smaller ditch handles regular flow and the wider, upper ditch is there for occasional heavy flow.
Who needs a Ditch Doctor?
The Ditch Doctor has been used primarily for farming and agriculture applications, but as stated, it’s also ideal for ditch maintenance, so it can be an innovative solution for municipalities and utilities – not to mention railways – in maintenance and repair efforts.
See the Ditch Doctor at CONEXPO-CON/AGG in Booth N10715, March 14-18, 2023 in Las Vegas.