Pennsylvania Private Utility Locating

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Recently Completed Private Utility Locating Job in Pennsylvania

Atlantic Leak Detection and Utility Locating were hired to clear several boring locations in Eastern Pennsylvania for an environmental company today at a manufacturing plant. This was a really complicated area to clear since all of the main electric, communication and gas lines were running in the vicinity of the test boring locations. Of course, there were no utility maps or any sort of as-builts to refer to so it was going to be one of those “peel away the layers of the onion” jobs. My client directed me to talk with one of the superintendents of the building that has been working there for 25 years. Now don’t get me wrong, it is very valuable to gather as much info as possible while performing a utility locate but I have learned to take all if the info with a grain of salt.

My biggest concern was the gas line coming into the property. The super explained, “the line is at least 7 ‘- 8′ deep, runs over here along the building, across the middle of the field then makes a 45 degree over there right into the building.” Looking at the 6″ main coming out of the ground I was hoping my GPR would give me good clean data so I can markout the utility accurately since it was said to be 8′ deep with NO tracer wire. As I started my scan in an unrelated area I saw a perfect hyperbola (on-screen data representing an anomaly) on my screen that was running along the rear fence line. I asked the super what it could be and he said “probably an abandoned old water line.” I knew he could not be correct since this line was barely 3 feet deep and most water lines are a minimum of 3′ – 4′ deep in PA; below the frost line. So I stayed focused on this line which took me across the entire test area and made a 90 degree turn which led me directly to the 6″ gas main. As I went over it again and began to mark the ground it all made perfect sense to me. The only thing that didn’t make sense was the bad information.

My client and the super came up to me and asked why I was painting an old abandoned water line yellow? I felt bad explaining that this line was in fact the gas line, and that it WAS NOT 7′ – 8′ deep, and that it DID NOT run along the building, and that it DID NOT run across the middle of the field and that it did not make a 45 degree turn in. After a painful silence the super looked at us and said, “WOW….. Why did I think the line was that deep and ran that path?” My client and I said nothing but definitely wondered the same thing. Just goes to show, sometimes that old saying absolutely applies to utility locating… “Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see”!! (Thanks Benjamin Franklin)