NJ Utility Locating FAQ February 13, 2013
Atlantic Leak Detection and Utility Locating was called last minute yesterday to perform a private utility locate for a large solar power company. They already had utility markouts done from the boys at 811 leading to and around the property but there was a small area on the private property where they were going to excavate that was unmarked for utilities… since it was on private property of course. When we arrived we surveyed the property as we normally do and hooked up our utility locate equipment to an old gas line attached to the abandoned existing structure. We did not get a signal which was strange since there is almost always a tracer wire attached to underground utility gas lines. We then decided to took take out the heavy guns… our GPR (Ground Penetration Radar) so we can actually see where the underground line ran since this utility locate technology does not care about signals.
Wouldn’t you know that when we picked up a visual on the gas utility line with our GPR it took us clear across the private property DIRECTLY through the small unmarked area where they were about to dig. When the project manager saw us spray that yellow paint on the ground right over the planned dig area he ran over to us and said “how could that be? why aren’t there any marks on the public side leading to this?” The answer was simple to us as private utility locator’s, never trust what you cant see and never assume when it comes to underground utility locating.
After hand digging the area and uncovering the hidden underground utility, it was apparent that the boys at 811 missed this deadly LIVE gas line because the tracer wire was non-existent at the surface… which must have happened when the trench it lays in was back-filled and therefore buried. Unable to directly connect to a tracer wire, their utility locator’s couldn’t get a signal so as far as they knew, there was no underground utility gas line in the area in question.
At the end of the day, the project manager called us heroes for finding that hidden underground utility line. My partner turned around to him and said, “All we did was our job today… your the hero for making the decision not to put your guys in harms way and calling Atlantic Leak Detection and Utility Locating to make sure it was safe first”