The Top 4 Myths About Utility Locating

September 23, 2020

Utility locating is an essential form of research before doing any kind of digging. There are quite a few misconceptions regarding its purpose and necessity, so below, we’re discussing the top four myths about utility locating. Arming yourself with this knowledge will ensure a safe and worry-free dig.

Calling 811 Will Locate All Utilities

While calling 811 is a critical part of the due diligence you should carry out before a dig begins, it isn’t the only step you need to take. 811 is a national service that contacts your local utility providers after your call to alert them of your intentions and have them mark out where utility lines lie on your property. However, some utility providers may not mark your ground quickly, and they may not account for private utility lines that are on your side of the meter, box, or transformer. In most situations, you will need a private locating company to mark the communication, gas, electric, water, or sewer lines you have running throughout your property.

The Utility Map Shows Everything

You may feel like you can rely entirely on a utility map of your property, but many of these are outdated and don’t include older utility lines that weren’t on record when the map was created. Any new utility lines since the map was drawn might not be included either. You should never rely solely on a utility map because they’re not always entirely accurate and can be misread. Even if you believe the map to be accurate, a utility markout should always be performed before any excavation or drilling occurs.

Only Metallic Pipes Can Be Detected

Many people believe that metal is the only material that would show up during utility locating. In actuality, when utilizing ground penetrating radar (GPR) technology, plastic, concrete, fiber optic cables for internet or cable service and all other non-metallic lines and objects can be detected.

Once You Do a Utility Check, You Never Have to Do it Again

Any time you have a new excavation or drilling project, an accurate markout of the existing utilities and conditions should be performed to ensure the safety of all involved in and around the project. A new electric or gas service may have been added since the last excavation or utility survey was performed. Always call for a markout before digging.

Utility locating can save thousands of dollars in damages to utility lines, and having an accurate picture of what is underground can prevent injury and even death when digging. For a highly accurate, thorough scan of your property using GPR, electromagnetic technology (EM), and ferromagnetic locating (FM), contact one of our highly-trained utility locating professionals before you begin your digging project.


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