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CAREFUL where you dig!!

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by cedarcroft, Nov 12, 2006.

  1. cedarcroft

    cedarcroft LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 442

    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!!!!!!!!!
  2. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,366

    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 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,566

    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.
  4. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    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.
  5. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,369

    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:
  6. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    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?
  7. tylermckee

    tylermckee LawnSite Member
    from wa
    Posts: 248

    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.
  8. cedarcroft

    cedarcroft LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 442

    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.
  9. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    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.
  10. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,219

    was it your buddy's company

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