4 Problems Professional Potholing Services Prevent

4 Problems Professional Potholing Services Prevent

A huge portion of underground utility damages in the US are caused by failure to create potholes. It’s difficult to begin an excavation project without knowing where utility lines are. Potholing is a type of underground utility location that involves digging a small area or soft excavation to check where utilities are located.

Potholing relies on a vacuum excavator, which uses high-pressure air or water to break down soil, then vacuum the soil into a tank. To conduct thorough utility locating, a technician creates several test holes via potholing. As a result, you can determine:

  • Where utilities are located
  • How long the utility lines are
  • How deeply they are buried

This information is invaluable in any excavation procedure to prevent a slew of problems ranging from property damage and injury to financial and legal headaches.

Accidental Damage To Utilities

In most cases, excavating without creating potholes can lead to disasters. One of the biggest problems of excavation projects is accidental damage to utilities because builders can’t identify their location and depth.

With so many utility companies around, utility lines can overlap and run through any area underground. Not to mention, underground utilities change position over time due to changes in temperature and soil density.

Failure to conduct potholing before an excavation is similar to going into a battle blind. You can hit a utility line at any moment. Depending on the type of utility you destroy and the severity of the damage, you are not only causing damage to public property, but you may also cause power outages, floods, water interruption, and fires.

With potholing, you can identify the actual location of underground utilities. Knowing their location and depth tells you what area is safe to excavate, preventing any accidents during your project.

Working Hazard For Excavators

Another problem that comes with excavation projects is the risk of injury. Excavations are prone to accidents since they expose excavators and other workers to hazardous conditions, which may lead to injuries.

After accidentally hitting a pipe or an electric line, an excavator may get injured from the burst pipe and get electrocuted or burned from a damaged electric line. Potholing helps solve this problem as it tells you which areas to avoid in order to keep everyone safe for the duration of the project.

Additional Costs 

Getting injured while accidentally damaging utility lines will result in piling medical bills and expensive repairs, which incur additional costs. Though potholing prior to an excavation project may seem like an additional step, think of potholing as a cost-efficient approach that helps prevent accidental damage and minimize work hazards. Therefore, potholing will prevent unnecessary repair and hospital bills in the future.

Legal Trouble

Not only will you incur additional costs when you damage utility lines and injure people, but you’re also bound to get in trouble with the law.

According to state laws, everyone is prohibited from using mechanized equipment within 18 to 30 inches of marked utilities. Without potholing, you’ll be excavating blindly and run the risk of breaching the allotted tolerance zone. On the other hand, potholing using vacuum excavation helps you comply with this law.

Potholing Services

Before starting any excavation project, it’s recommended to mark all utilities in the area to avoid the problems mentioned above. Consult skilled professionals from Util-Locate, a South California-based digging company that offers utility locating services. Reach out to Util-Locate today for potholing services!

How Does Utility Location Work?

How Does Utility Location Work?

When conducting excavation projects or renovations, the first thing to do is locate utility lines. This is crucial in avoiding unwanted accidents such as burst pipes, power outages, gas leaks, and injuries. Not only will these accidents delay your project, but they are also costly.

Utility location determines the location of public utility lines like electricity, water, sewage, and telephone lines. With today’s technology, there are several ways of conducting utility locations to track the vast underground network of utility lines. Depending on the situation, one may be a better method than others.

Electromagnetic Locating

Electromagnetic locating is a non-invasive method of underground utility location that relies on an electromagnetic locator, also known as a pipe and cable locator. This helps locate, trace, and map out utility lines through electromagnetic frequency.

An electromagnetic locator consists of a transmitter, which sends out signals, and a receiver, which receives the frequencies reflected by objects that are metal or conductive materials. Thus, electromagnetic locating is best to find metals such as pipes and electrical ducts, making it one of the most accessible utility locating methods today.

Ground Penetrating Radar

Ground penetrating radar (GPR) locates utility lines using high-frequency radio signals. The GPR sends out radio signals onto the ground, and anything underground reflects the radio frequencies to the radar’s receiver, where they are stored in digital media.

Similar to electromagnetic locating, ground penetrating radar is a non-invasive utility locating method used to detect underground utilities. However, it has stronger underground detection capabilities than electromagnetic locating.

It can determine the size and depth of underground objects, making it the preferred choice of utility location when pipes are beyond 10 to 15 feet deep. Most commonly, this technology is used to locate buried pipes, tanks, utility holes, and cables that typically cannot be located using ordinary methods.

Vacuum Excavation

Salt, shale, or clay in soil interferes with non-invasive underground utility location methods like electromagnetic locating and GPR. In such cases, it’s better to do vacuum excavation.

Also known as hydro excavation, soft digging, or potholing, vacuum excavation is a type of mildly-invasive utility location procedure that uses high-pressure water or air to break soil apart and vacuum it into a tank in order to clear a path toward utility lines.

Utility Locating Services

Whether you’re doing a small project or major home renovation, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Rather than trying your luck and accidentally damaging utility lines, hire professional utility locating services.

Utility location requires the use of special equipment that only professionals can properly operate. Not to mention, good utility locating services come with technical advice on how to distance yourself from pinpointed utility locations when excavating. 

Avoid unexpected and costly accidents by reaching out to Util-locate, the best underground digging company offering private utility locating services in Southern California!