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View Full Version : CAREFUL where you dig!!


cedarcroft
11-12-2006, 10:18 AM
just this week I started a wall job and the owner said he thought there might be gas and utility lines in the area where we were digging the base. we called digsafe and had the utilities marked. in my case they were not where we were working. that is good. check the link below and see what happens if you daon't check. this happened about 3 blocks from my house. I am not sure who the contractor is, but I went by this mornaing and saw the machine and it looks like my friends machine. I will find out today.
BE CAREFUL!!!!!!!!!
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-liexpl1112,0,6039846.story?coll=ny-top-headlines

paponte
11-12-2006, 04:01 PM
Doh! I'd hate to be that guy! Luckily no one was hurt. :nono:

I saw that happen on a commercial building we did. Guy was walking with a trencher when all of a sudden...BOOOM!! Hit a gas line. He was rushed off in an ambulance. Could hardley identify the trencher, nevermind the 2 trees it took with it. Sad thing is that there was a CLEAR marking right on the curb and parking lot.

MOW PRO LAWN SERVICE
11-12-2006, 04:04 PM
I know,we have a house three houses from where i live they sold it, the owner has a gas meter and started cutting the lines to take it to the garbage he did not turn the gas off nothing bad has happened.

Dirty Water
11-14-2006, 10:07 PM
I've hit a propane line with a trencher. Propane is heavier than air (unlike natural gas) and stays in the hole, so the chance of it igniting before you get it shut off is much less.

Natural Gas on the other hand, thats scary.

kootoomootoo
11-14-2006, 10:41 PM
I know a local irrigation contractor who has hit a few gas lines but he told me that the gas would shut off at the street as soon as they were cut because of a sensor that would detect change in pressure and automatically shut off the gas. Terminology may be lacking but makes sense.

The guy could easily have been digging where he thought he was safe.
We had OUPS (Ohio Utilty Protection Service) mark utilities for a sprinkler system a few months ago. (3 DAYS BEFORE WE STARTED) Sure as sheet we slice through the cable, telephone and something else that shall remain nameless. OUPS sends out an inspector and says ...and I quote ....

"well you should have had the utilities marked twice."

YOU KNOW THE RESPONSE THAT GOT THEM :hammerhead: :hammerhead:

Jason Rose
11-14-2006, 11:16 PM
WOW, i must be one lucky SOB. I hit and gas meter the other day with my mower, knocked the meter off the stand pipes. It was low pressure coming out, but still a load of gas spewing at once. the mower was of course RIGHT THERE with the exhaust blowing towards it no less. As soon as I could I moved the mower away and shut it down. There was a little breeze at the time, that may have saved my azz! I called 911 and then tried to shut the valve off myself but it was buried in pampas grass. That's the reason I didn't see it in the first place as it was hiding in a clump of pampas grass...

That was obviously a high pressure line he hit in the news story there, but if it was outside why did the house explode? was it hit and leaking for a long time, long enough to get gas IN the house and to an ignition sourse in the house? Seems like it's hard to ignite natural gas outdoors unless it's really still out and it has a chance to build up in the air. I don't know, just speculating...

Anyone have any info on the ignition temps of natural gas and compared to other fuel sources?

tylermckee
11-15-2006, 04:23 AM
I know a guy that hit a 4" gas main, it ended up sucking too much gas into the machine and reved the piss out of the engine, ruined the motor. Gas company ended up replacing the motor as they had a guy right there locating as they were digging, he told him they were safe, dig away.

I take the locates with a grain of salt. seems like the only people that can mark their lines for the most part is gas. I learned my lesson when i poped a power line. they had the line located with a question mark on it, then they also had a line painted heading straight out of a ped about 10 feet behind where i was digging. I had my labor pothole for it and he said there was 2 conduits and a cable, i figured it was power and cable in conduit, and a phone cable, pretty common around here. we figured the locate with the question mark was bogus, even still i was digging slow because you never know what you will find digging around existing utilities. Sure as **** i take a scoop and right at the end of my trench i pull up the cable. Sparking and throwing **** allover the place. Wasnt in conduit or anything so i didnt feel it, didnt know till it was throwing sparks in the cab. Turned out it ripped it out of the transformer on the other side of the street. had to replace the transformer, have a vac truck out, power company had about 4 trucks and 2 flaggers out there, everyone just had to drive by.

cedarcroft
11-15-2006, 06:34 AM
from what I've heard around town, the site was marked out by digsafe and the contractor was far enough away from the markings that he shouldn't have hit anything. poorly marked, not his fault. I don't understand why the basement would fill with gas if he hit the line outside. but that is what happened. He hit the line, the basement filled w/ gas and the oil burner or hot water heater ignited it. I still don't understand how, but I saw the results and it is pretty crazy.

Dirty Water
11-15-2006, 10:35 AM
Most likely he caught the line and lifted it, but didn't sever it. But by pulling the line, I bet he ripped it off the gas meter in the basement.

DBL
11-15-2006, 10:38 AM
from what I've heard around town, the site was marked out by digsafe and the contractor was far enough away from the markings that he shouldn't have hit anything. poorly marked, not his fault. I don't understand why the basement would fill with gas if he hit the line outside. but that is what happened. He hit the line, the basement filled w/ gas and the oil burner or hot water heater ignited it. I still don't understand how, but I saw the results and it is pretty crazy.

was it your buddy's company

AL Inc
11-15-2006, 12:19 PM
Cedar- Do you know who it was?

jbailey52
11-15-2006, 10:04 PM
Now I may be wrong but for the most part, like in this story, were talking about big machines digging here.. if were planting a tree lets say, we may hit a cable of phone line, maybe even a power line if its not in conduit... but you could never break a gas line with a shovel right?

Drafto
11-15-2006, 11:52 PM
Now I may be wrong but for the most part, like in this story, were talking about big machines digging here.. if were planting a tree lets say, we may hit a cable of phone line, maybe even a power line if its not in conduit... but you could never break a gas line with a shovel right?

You can absolutely break an exterior gas line with a shovel! It is only flexible vinyl tubing, and YES you can be fined/charged by the gas company if you hit one for ANY reason if you did not have the line marked.

If you do not have a job schedule laid out things like calling before you dig can be easily overlooked. It is FREE!!!! That is the cheapest insurance you can BUY!

Dan

RockSet N' Grade
11-16-2006, 12:29 AM
I was digging for a "happy home-owner" with my excavator in his back yard digging pockets for his new trees. Had him sign my contract/waiver. Right smack dab in the middle of one of his pockets was an 18" irrigation line that the farmers downstream use to water their fields. I told him to call the Irrigation Company, and he was gonna have to pay. He called on his cell to the Co. and as he was talking, my cell phone rang from the Irrigation Company to go fix/repair an 18" line that had been hit by a homeowner and send them a bill for the homeowner to pay. Worked out great for me.....oh yea, forgot to tell the homeowner that I do all the Irrigation Company's repairs in our town........That is the only time in my life that I have hit some kind of underground line and got paid to fix my own boo-boo.

jbailey52
11-16-2006, 04:28 AM
So the irrigation company calls someone to fix a line? Isnt that why they are an irrigation company?..

hoskm01
11-19-2006, 06:38 AM
Maybe as thier repair-person, you should have advised your customer that perhaps a line runs through his yard. But hey, thats on your shoulders.

TPnTX
11-19-2006, 10:08 AM
I did a job at new house recently. This LP tank was buried about 40 feet from the house. Digsafe did not help so, I called the LP company and they would not help with a locate. The phone guy did a locate on it for me which of course I didn't have complete confidence in.

Sure made me nervous.

Grn Mtn
11-19-2006, 10:48 AM
Man do I hate digging near lines, I call Dig Safe when I believe it is necessary. But one time I was rototilling 3-4" in a back yard when all of a sudden a copper tube got caught up in the tines?!! Turns out it was an improperly laid (by a company no longer in business) gas line to a pool heater. No gas was leaking so the next day a company came out and shut it off, I trenched a 30" deep...trench... and they relaid it properly.

I hit a cable line the otherday but it wasn't marked, the guy comes out and says that they would rather fix for free a few lines than install them the correct way:nono:

DanaMac
11-19-2006, 11:29 PM
I was once working on a jobsite when the landscape company was also doing some work. One of the workers was pounding in an edging stake, and he hit the electric feeding the house. Those stake are only 8"-12" max. He was taken to the hospital but was ok.

cedarcroft
11-20-2006, 06:31 AM
Turns out it wasn't the guy I know. the contractor who hit the line is a local guy, but I don't know them personally. apparently the line was hit and it pulled the line from the inside and thats why the basement filled with gas. somebody said that earlier and they were right.

MGV
11-25-2006, 02:36 AM
WOW...Hope the contractor had a good insurance policy. But as with everything he may have called digsafe. We had a local contractor that called digsafe, they came out and marked out all the utilities but marked them wrong. The contractor hit a underground electric line and ended up getting severe burns to his hands. Lucky he is alive. Also I know in the area of NY that I live in there is no sensor in a natural gas line that shuts off the flow if there is a break.

Adam's Lawn and Garden
11-27-2006, 02:45 AM
My history teacher last year for 10th grade is a landscaper on the side. he was telling me a long time ago when he was younger and working for a company, he was digging with a back hoe and hit an electric line. He said it blew the bucket off the back hoe and launched him off the operators seat. another friend of mine who does construction said his uncle was using a backhoe and knocked the corner post for a front porch and it collapsed the overhang porch the people had.

sucks for that guy though.

adam

murray83
11-28-2006, 08:01 PM
Digging near the power generating station about 5 years ago an operator I was working with hit a cable feeding something to do with the plant and actually split the stick and blew off the bucket on the 300 Kobelco excavator right up the center.He's never ran equipment since.

One of those things you had to see to believe.

Mark Hutchison
12-08-2006, 06:43 PM
Yes, that is exactly what happens. If your backhoe snags a gas line and you "just stretch it" chances are you have pulled it lose from one of the ends. This is what happened in our town and it doesn't take long to fill a basement or crawl space with gas, then the gas furnace trys to heat the house and BOOM. In our case, it blew the roof off the house in one piece and it landed on the neighbors house and they both went up in smoke Be careful out there!!!

PLM-1
12-08-2006, 07:09 PM
I've had them maked and them hit them. NOT EVEN CLOSE to where they were marked We're talking 20 feet. Good thing it was just cable tv and phone.

jamo1911
12-12-2006, 11:52 PM
Don't even get me started on poor markings. I have hit main feed cable lines that were not marked, cable lines that were over 5 feet off etc. Around here some of the utility companies use an outside contractor called blah blah utility locating. I was on a job a day early a few months back doing non related work for the customer (cleaning the gutters) and the guy from the locating service showed up and was asking the homeowner where to look for the phone lines. I was like wtf??? Like this stuff is not funny. I'm just glad he was locating phone and not gas, power or water.
jamo

PLM-1
12-13-2006, 01:48 AM
I like how they bury cables now-a-days. I watched the cable tv company "bury" cable up to a residence when I was mowing an HOA. They just used this shovel/spade and just cut a line up to the house and stuffed the cable in there. No wonder all the cables/wires are surfacing everywhere. I was on another site working when the water company was across the street. They were digging around a manhole, just barely below the soil and hit electric less than 6 inches below grade.

jbailey52
12-13-2006, 08:58 AM
Ha Im in a new Development now with million + Houses.. the cable and phone company come, flip up my sod, lay the wire, flip down the sod.. needless to say we have hit the wire 3 diff times now, and everytime they change where they put the wire, and dont mark it.. its weird sometimes when we know where the wire is, seems they put in a new one for no reason, and dont mark it... also... for the main electric lines for houses.... are they in conduit usually? Im really worried about hitting one someday

cedarcroft
12-13-2006, 09:58 AM
the cable guys are the worst. I hit cable on a regular basis. I just did a wall and there was a fiber optic line laying in the dirt. it really looked as if they just layed it there and kicked some dirt over it. the other guys that suck are the invisible dog fence guys. They really do just drop the wire on the ground. I cut them regularly while mowing lawns.

LB1234
12-16-2006, 08:20 PM
called 'call before you did' cause we were ripping out shrubs and replacing in front of this house. Noticed gas line wasn't marked out. Call back CBYD and get a hold of someone and they contact gas company. Company calls back and stats homeowner doesn't have any gas lines. Call homeowner and homeowner wants to know why he has to pay a gas bill every month.

Call CBYD back and state theres gas here come mark it now. Within a hour or so they do...it was on the opposite side of where the gas line came in.

I've had nothing but problems with these darn markouts. The only reason I call is CYA in case we actually DO hit something.