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The Importance of Utility Locating Before Excavation

utility locating
May 25, 2023

At first glance, it may seem like a quick and safe thing to dig a hole and start an excavation project. After all, we see construction sites every day that seem to run smoothly. However, what you may not know is that failing to properly locate utility lines before you start digging can result in some severe damages and inconveniences. This is why utility locating before excavation is so important.

The Dangers of Blind Excavation

Electrical Cables

Tearing up the ground near electrical cables can cause serious electrical shock and injury, especially if one is unaware of the proximity of a live line. Before any excavation project begins, it is critical to locate the surrounding utilities by contacting a local utility provider to confirm the existence and safety of an electrical line before any excavation can be done. Failure to do so may lead to potential injury and hefty fines.

Gas Lines

Breaking ground near a gas line can have both immediate, and potentially lasting, consequences. Not only can a natural gas leak threaten the safety of everyone in the vicinity, but it can also ignite combustible material if exposed to a source of heat or flame. 

An accumulation of gas in an enclosed space can be explosive, and even spark an explosion if the right conditions are present. To avoid any risk of an explosion, it’s important to have your excavation area checked for proximity to any gas lines before digging.

Water Lines

In addition to the potentially explosive and electric hazards, excavations near water lines can ruin the water supply, cause flooding, water outages, and can contaminate local water sources. To avoid these potential hazards, always verify the location of any water lines if you plan to dig.

How to Avoid Utility Damage During Excavation

Though there are a number of intrinsic dangers associated with blind excavations, there are precautions one can take to avert disaster. Locating utility lines before digging is the best solution for this. 

A utility locate is an important process performed by professional workers in order to protect the public from potential safety risks associated with underground utilities. Utility locates must be completed before digging to identify the exact location of existing buried utilities so that potential damage is avoided during the construction process.

How Utility Locating Works

First, the project must be analyzed and surveyed by a professional. During this survey, the technician will measure the area and take note of utility marks that indicate existing underground utilities. This includes any type of wires, pipes, conduits and the like. 

Once a survey of the area has been taken, the next step of the process is to use specialized utility location equipment like ground penetrating radar (GPR) to detect the presence of those underground utilities.

Once the technician has used underground utility locators, they should report the findings to the customer, and provide a map or drawing of the area that accurately displays the location of the underground utilities. The technician should also provide a written report of the results and a detailed description of the process used to find the underground utilities.

Call UtiliSource

Don’t take chances with the safety of your work crew and property when it comes to excavation. Contact UtiliSource today and take advantage of our expert utility locating services. Our highly-trained staff will ensure that your digging project is safe and free from the risks of hitting underground utility lines. UtiliSource gives you the peace of mind that comes with best-in-class reliability and accuracy, so don’t delay—call before you dig!

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