In construction and civil engineering, a borrow pit, also known as a sand box, is an area where material (usually soil, gravel or sand) has been dug for use at another location. Borrow pits can be found close to many major construction projects. For example, soil might be excavated to fill an embankment for a highway, clay might be excavated for use in brick-making, gravel to be used for making concrete, etc.
In some cases, the borrow pits may become filled with ground water, forming recreational areas or sustainable wildlife habitats (one such example is the Merton Borrow Pit, near Oxford in central England, excavated to provide materials for the nearby M40 motorway). In other cases, borrow pits may be used for landfill and waste disposal.
A regional variation of this is termed "barrow pit" in the western United States (especially the Rocky Mountains). The localism—sometimes pronounced "borrer pit"—describes the ditch along a roadway. These ditches were created to provide the fill to level and crown the roadway and subsequently provided drainage for the road.
An excavation lake (also a flooded gravel pit) is an artificial lake, which usually has its origins in the excavation of gravel or sand for construction materials or in some other kind of surface mining. In many cases, the excavation holes are landscaped according to the land restoration required by law. Because the excavation reached a point below the water table, lakes form naturally. Less frequently excavation lakes are intentionally created, especially as recreation areas.
In Germany the lakes are almost always used for fishing, since a fishery is created by law with every surface water. At some excavation lakes, beaches are added for swimming or other water sports, in particular boating, water skiing or windsurfing. To support these uses, large parking lots, changing areas, and eating areas are also set up. In some cases, the excavation lake serves as a nature reserve, as in the case of the lakes in the Attenborough Nature Reserve.
- Design of a monitoring protocol/plan for sand borrow areas, Dredging News Online, 7 January 2000
- Cassidy, Frederic Gomes, and Joan Houston Hall (eds). (2002) Dictionary of American Regional English. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.