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Underground Utilities

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by snap12.5, Mar 27, 2005.

  1. snap12.5

    snap12.5 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 288

    what situations dictate locating underground utilities??? 1.renovating a lawn with skidsteer 2.planting large trees 3.grading 4.installing patios or retaining walls 5.installing small (3gal) shrubs???
    i think that gas lines are usually 30in below the surface. what about all other utilities???
    if u do hit something, what are some steps to take to correct the problem? -try to fix yourself or call gas company or elec comp etc.
  2. Groundcover Solutions

    Groundcover Solutions LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,254

    Well any time you are digging period you should call to have them located. It costs nothing, at least hear in Michigan. Other utilities such as cable can be only centimeters from the surface. Also when it comes to repairing... don't even think about trying to do it yourself you will be slapped with one nice bill if you do. If you hit a gas line you better call the gas company and quick as well as 911 that is one big fire hazard as well as a health hazard. Always call the utility that you hit so they can get out and get it fixed or take needed precautions!!!! But to be safe just make sure you plan out a few days before you plan to dig call the place, in Michigan it is miss dig, and then dig!!! Always better to play it safe and not be sorry in the long run.
  3. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    Call Before You Dig

    Accidentally hitting utility lines is extremely dangerous and may result in serious injury or death. Such accidents also endanger others and can disrupt utility services for customers. Be safe -- protect yourself and those around you by avoiding underground utility lines that can injure or kill.

    Underground power lines, communication cables, gas lines, water lines or other utilities may lie at various depths below the surface of your property or areas of planned excavation. It is important to be safe before excavating by calling the appropriate state notification center and allowing time for the utility companies in that area to mark the location of their underground facilities.

    It also is important to respect the marks indicating the presence of underground utilities. Excavation should be carefully performed only after confirming that all utilities have marked the location of their facilities. Remember that the locating of underground utility lines is not an exact science and location marks have varying bands of required accuracy, depending on a particular state's requirements. These can range from 18 to 24 inches from the actual facility.

    Each state has its own notification center and legal requirements regarding the location of underground facilities. Select the appropriate state below to learn more:

    North Carolina
    West Virginia
    Other States (national directory)


    Call, toll-free, 1-800-362-2764 at least two working days before digging. The Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS) will alert Dominion East Ohio and other member utilities of your plans to dig, then ask the utilities to mark any underground pipes or cables at your location.

    They'll also tell you about any other companies that you must notify before you begin digging. This is a free service.

  4. Lawnchoice

    Lawnchoice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 781

    We New Englanders are very lucky with locating the underground utilites. Hopefully everyone here takes advantage of this great service http://www.digsafe.com/ Check them out and maybe there is something in your area that you can utilize for location.

    I never dig without a quick phonecall to them. You can also submit online which I haven't done yet.

    Have used them for years!
  5. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,619

    Every state probably has a central number to call if you are digging. Digging also includes aeration. If you don't call the central utility number to get the lines marked and you hit a cable line or whatever you can be held liable for the damages.
  6. AintNoFun

    AintNoFun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,807

    we call for pretty much everything, like someone said above it doesn't cost anything... a contractor here last month was digging without a market, hit a gas line next thing you know the store exploded they were working outside of... local guys probably saw it on the news, the petco... people got seriously hurt...
  7. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,619

    In Missouri and probably everywhere else you must also stay 2' on each side of the marked lines (total of 4'). Even then the utilities could be off where the lines are marked but at least you are covered if you hit something since they marked the lines.
  8. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    Sad part is...it was mismarked by the gas company...operator thought it was all clear...no flags, no paint, then WAM!!

    Talk about a lawsuit...
  9. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    Sad part is...it was mismarked by the gas company...operator thought it was all clear...no flags, no paint, then WAM!!

    Talk about a lawsuit...

    We had a similar instance on a large commercial job we were doing. We were digging down about a foot give or take a little to install a series of patios, walls, granite stairs, and plantings. Our top equipment operator was digging along in the backhoe and all of a sudden he stopped and asked us to do a little diggin by hand because he thought he felt something unusual. After a couple seconds we exposed a gas main within that one foot. We were told the line had been put in so many feet below grade and that digging down a foot or so was no worry.
    What happened? In the initial phases of the site work the line was installed at the proper depth but they then came in later and graded around the condo removing nearly all of the material that existed leaving the line only inches below ground. We did have it marked and did hit the line with the backhoe but our operator new that he hit something other than a rock or stump so he backed the bucket off slowly and we exposed the line by hand. It was not broken but it was hit so they had to replace the whole line and then bury it again at the proper depth. Damn commercial jobs!!!
  10. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    Long story short the gas and electric guys marked the wrong property on me ~2 weeks ago. He explained he would be fined and responsible if something had happened when I digged because I did in fact make the call and he did in fact mismark the house...that's nice but theres a good chance I'd be dead or seriously injured.

    Anyways...He said the same thing you did...what happens is the gas guys come in, dig to the proper depth and then the contractors wind up taking more soil away and the line becomes only inches deep...PHEW! I was under the impression the gas lines were metal...no sir...they are PVC...he said oh ya...if your not carefull you could crack one with a hand shovel... :help:

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