Utility marking is a crucial practice that should be done before any excavation, drilling, or cutting is performed on your property. Many property owners rely on the 811 “One Call” service for utility marking, but this isn’t always sufficient. Below, we’re going to discuss when private utility markouts should be done, when it isn’t needed, and the risks involved with neglecting to hire a utility locating professional.

What is a Private Utility Markout?

A private utility markout is a service that involves a technician using a non-invasive scanning device to check the ground for utility lines such as GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) and EM (Electromagnetic) Locating Technology. It can give you a highly accurate picture of what is beneath your property’s surface to allow for safe excavation, drilling, or cutting.

What Does It Test For?

Private utility scanning tests for all assets running below grade. These include private electric lines running to outdoor lights or outbuildings, plumbing lines gas lines, septic and sanitary pipes, underground oil tanks, gravesites, and more.

When Is It Necessary?

A private utility location service should be carried out before any private digging project. Public utility companies will mark their lines after you call 811, but they often rely on outdated, inaccurate maps of their lines and DO NOT mark private utility lines.

Knowing where public and private electric, plumbing, gas, sewer, and water lines are can help prevent you from damaging them during everything from large scale excavation to smaller digging projects. It should be done before ground is broken on your project, and even small digging jobs can disturb a utility line, potentially causing severe injury or death, and costly repairs.

When It’s Not Necessary

Anytime you are digging, cutting, or drilling below-grade requires a markout of your utilities. DO NOT dig before getting a utility markout.

What’s the Risk of Not Doing It When it’s Necessary?

Jobs that are large enough to necessitate private utility locating can cause significant damage to your utility lines and, consequently, the rest of your property including the operator of the excavation equipment. The repairs can be extremely costly and may leave you without water, gas, or electric while the repair is underway.

Some lines, like those for propane, natural gas, and electric, can be extremely hazardous to disrupt. They can cause explosions leading to property damage, injury, and even death.

Private utility locating is a relatively inexpensive service that gives you an accurate and clear picture of what’s below your property. It can prevent significant property damage and personal injury and should be carried out in conjunction with public utility marking. For more information or to schedule a property scan, contact one of our highly trained professionals today.