Utility location Marked incorrect

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by AWJ Services, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    So I finally got to start a job that has been sold for at least 2 months and 3 hours in to it I pull up a mess of primary electrical service wires where no wires are supposed to be.Hmmm.

    Well I check my location ticket and find that it expires today(which was yesterday). I forgot to call and have it re staked so I am now in a pickle. The new ticket will not be active till Dec 28 so now what? Well I call the UPC and ask them to come and remark the yard. Well I might as well have been asking for a winning mega million ticket. I call the power company and they come out and look at the wires I pulled up. He says there should not be any wires there since it is not in the ROW unless the locator's mis marked the house line.
    I ask him can you locate those wires and he says nope. Well I then tell him that on the other end of my trench I pulled some red electrical warning tape up which normally indicates a primary electrical line but it is about 30 foot off the ROW. So he says they do not use the tape for marking the drops to the houses just the main neighborhood lines. So it now appears that this line goes across my yard and to the neighbors house right where I need to dig but no one knows where and no one will locate it!
    My ticket expires today so if I hit it I am not responsible. If I wait for someone to come do the second emergency location they may show up today but if they do not that means I cannot work till after Christmas and my nice window of clear sky's will be gone.

    So what would you do?
  2. Junior M

    Junior M LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,553

    explain this whole ticket thing, I am not understanding how yalls system works..

    but if I do understand it right, your ticket hadnt expired when the wire was hit and it wasnt marked. So you shouldnt be at fault as long as you took the correct precautionary steps when crossing supposed marked utilities

    but you also say you arent responsible once the ticket expires. That is what is confusing me. I would just be super careful around it, if it was a dead line, who gives a dam. But if its powering someones home, I'd be even more careful and just keep digging with the machine.
  3. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454

    Pretty easy really......although inconvenient. Do NOT dig with out a proper ticket and marks - period. The liability is too high and not in your favor. Call for an emergency mark, they should respond. Call several times - take notes. Go to site and take measurements and take pictures........alot of pictures. While you are at it, make another quick call and make sure your insurance is still good (you know, murphy's law kinda thing). Get the location marks and then proceed.......do it legal so you have some type of cushion. In this case, patience and cya.
  4. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,129

    I am trying to get a handle on this so forgive me. You were digging and the locate was expired when you hit the line? Here the time limit is not as big a deal as long as the marks are clearly visible. Did you cut power to someone? I ask because it might be primary power that was abandon in place and the line rerouted, this would explain no one picking it up on the locate. I am assuming you dug up the bury tape then hit the line at the other end of the trench? I would have stopped and brought out the power company for a Pow wow. While normally bury tape is only used on main power, I have seen it on commercial jobs and even some residential. Either way, I come across bury tape and it is shovel time or if its not where it should be, I get a remark. I have hit one major line it was back in 96. It was a 7600 volt subdivision line. I wielded the bucket on a 580 Super L. I try to make sure that does not happen again. It was my fault, but the power was routed between water tie in and the house. The others were between the water and the street. I was young and dumb.......er

    I am with RSG on his recommendations. What kind of work are you doing?
  5. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    The ticket was still active and I was digging legally.
    The ticket would expire that night which was last night. All of this happened on a legal ticket and it was a unmarkeded line. I calledm and tried to get a remark to no avail.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. dirthog

    dirthog LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    I know in Pa the ticket is still active as long as you are either working on the site or have equipment there just because it is the last day as long as you have started the job before end date.
  7. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454

    Ok.......I will still stick adamantly to my first post BUT, get a copy of the ticket and call each of the utilities and have them come out to the site. Generally, you can renew a ticket number online 24-7 or call the 800 number. Since it has expired, stop dig until you get a new ticket, yet in the meantime, get the local utilities out there asap to discuss this little piece of magic. It happens quite often, it happened to me on a dig several months back........thank the big man above the 3" electrical line that I severed in half was a dead and old abandoned line. I had everyone run away from me, get out of the trenches, shut my machine off and stayed in my seat not touching a thing until the power company arrived, tested the line, and told me it was ok to get out of my machine that the line was dead and abandoned. I also took pictures and got the power guys business card and the work invoice number for that particular call......which I have kept in the job file to this day.
  8. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    Here is how it works in Ga.
    You call the location in and within 3 buisness days the property is located.
    You are given a ticket number and that is how you track your positive responses. The ticket has to have positive responses within 3 buisness days of your call to the utility protection Com. If you do not have postive responses from all utility providers then you have to call the UPC and they have an additional 24 hours to give a positive response. The ticket is issued with an expiration date. You have to call in for a restake no latter than 3 buisness days from the expiration date to keep the ticket valid. Your location expires at midnight of the expiration date. Once it expires it is expired.
    You can request an emergency locate but it is strictly voluntary and not guranteed nor is there a time frame issued.

    RSG is dead on in everything he said. Excellent advice.

    I guess this post was designed to see how other contractors would react to this situation and how they would handle the job so that it could be completed.

    Back to the original post.

    I called the UPC and they would only gurantee a response from the locator by the 28th.
    I called the power company and they came out but did not have location equipment available( at that time) nor could they give me any time frame whats so ever when they could locate it.

    So I can legally dig that day with no legal ramifications against my company by law or wait till the 28th , however there may possibly be a service line in the area I am digging. I was assured by the power company technician that there is no possible way there can be a service line in the area that I dug up the red tape.

    So what now?
  9. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    Oh I forgot to add that the original septic system is no longe rin service and the tank was pumped last thursday so that means it will hav eto be pumped maybe Friday. Thats another 350 bucks.
  10. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    No bites so I will tell the whole story.

    I decide to dig and hit power where I had told the power company guy there was power. I knew that if I did not I would be down for a week. The system is really screwed up.

    This is the kicker. The neighbors power was crossing the middle of the yard I was working on rather than the ROW.
    The funny thing is after that I had the locator's and the power company there in force. LOL

    If I would have used better judgment as RSG suggested the locater would have not found this line on the remark. It was marked for the county , me and re staked twice for my company and no one found it. I have had no less than 8 people come out from the power company investigating this. Everyone gets out of the truck and commences to tell me that that line is not there even after there tech repaired it and the locater properly marked it.
    So if I had not damaged it then it would never had gotten marked correctly.
    The locate company had marked the property a half dozen times and never found it. The only reason they found it this time was because I damaged the line so far away from the transformer and no where near the properties power meter. Oh and the original lines I pulled up where dead?

    Nothing to Septic work. You just dig and drop them in.

    Crossed the gas line( which the marks where a full 2foot off) 5 times.
    Crossed the power 4 times with one pot hole 4 foot deep.
    Cable and Phone crossed multiple times.

    Rain coming in Thursday , jobs backing up, trying to explain no septic to the homeowner and no one wanting to take the time to avoid a power outage to 3 houses.
    Life's Good!!!!

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