5 Essential Steps to Remember in Pre-Excavation Potholing

potholing vacuum excavation method

Potholing, also known as daylighting, is the procedure for safely exposing underground utility lines to get a visual confirmation of their infrastructure.

This process takes on many forms, but the most common is the potholing vacuum excavation method. Small holes around the depth of 6 to 12 feet are dug into the ground to assess the approximate location of utility lines.

These pipes include sewerage lines, electricity lines, water pipes, and gas lines. Utility service lines fall into two categories; public and private utilities. Both are exceptionally important in the day-to-day activities of the surrounding neighborhoods and businesses. Damage to these lines could cause service interruptions, hefty fines, and in worst-case scenarios, accidents.

Gas lines can explode when damaged during an excavation project, while water lines can create sinkholes. This will not only disrupt the project but also pose safety hazards to those on site. Before embarking on an underground excavation project, hiring a private utility location company like Util-Locate is imperative to ensure your successful excavation project.

Let’s dive in at the five necessary steps in pre-excavation potholing.

1. Finding a Qualified Underground Utility Locator

The first and most important step is to hire a professional and qualified underground utility location service like Util-Locate. Partnering with the right team is imperative to ensure the task is handled efficiently and accurately.

A knowledgeable team of utility locators will be able to tell the exact location of utility lines and the soil conditions and excavation depth that may affect your project.  Util-Locate is an industry leader with state-of-the-art location and detection technology.

2. Scanning and Detecting Underground Utilities

Once the utility detector has arrived at the site, they will scan the entire area. A scanner is used to locate utilities up to a depth of 13 feet. This scanner has a 97% accuracy and verifies the actual position of all utility pipes and lines. Once the entire area has been checked, zones with utility lines running underneath will be marked.

3. Understanding the Marked Zones

The next step to follow is to analyze all the marks made. Understanding their placement and how it affects the excavation is critical to avoid accidentally damaging utility lines. This will also dictate the depth of excavation.

4. Establishing Adequate Safety Precautions

When the dig has been adjusted to suit the layout of the land, the risks and dangers of hitting the utility pipe should be assessed. Understanding the purpose of the utility line and what could happen in case of an accident is a necessary step. Mistakes happen constantly, but ensuring the correct safety measures are implemented can help you prepare for every outcome. 

5. Setting Up Location Marks

An additional step that could be taken at the excavation site is to set up clean indicators for the team to avoid. When working on an excavation project, it can be easy to get carried away and forget where certain things may be. As an added layer of safety, mark the locations where excavation should be avoided.

What are the Possible Dangers of Digging Without Utility Location Mapping?

Getting an inaccurate mapping of underground utility lines can result in physical and financial damages. Since these lines all serve a specific function, damaging one or many could put the worker’s life in danger, as well as cause service interruptions.

Gas lines are one of the most dangerous lines to damage as they are exceptionally sensitive. A simple spark can cause the line to explode and damage the surrounding area and property. 

Water lines can cause water damage to the surrounding areas and properties, form sinkholes, and disrupt the integrity of the adjacent structures in the excavation site. Avoiding these common utility lines is imperative in ensuring the safety and well-being of all people involved.

Hire a Professional Team of Underground Utility Locators

Hiring an underground utility location service is an important step before an excavation project because it allows the team to navigate through the site without any risk of damaging lines. As an industry expert, Util-Locate specializes in accurately locating and identifying utility lines while providing the necessary information to excavate safely.

To learn more about our potholing excavation and utility mapping services, contact Util-Locate today!

4 Reasons Why You Should Call in a Professional Private Underground Utility Locating Service

Utility locating

The success of any construction or renovation project lies in proper planning. Utility locating is a crucial part of project planning. With the help of public utility companies, project planners and property owners can avoid damaging underground utilities during projects involving excavation or demolition.

What is the Role of an Underground Utility Locating Service?

Using state-of-the-art technology, a private utility locator can locate underground public utility lines. This is a crucial process as it ensures that the ground is safe to excavate before the project ensues.

Multiple issues can arise from damaging public utility lines, such as water, electricity, and gas. Aside from delaying the project, damaging utility lines can result in hefty fines and even fatal accidents. So before you embark on any project, consulting a public utility locator like Util-Locate can help you avoid these worst-case scenarios.

Let’s look at the four reasons you should call an underground utility locating service.

1. It Reduces Risk and Saves You Money

Some project managers see hiring an underground utility locator as an unnecessary expense. However, skipping this crucial step can cost you more in the long run. If any underground utility lines are damaged during the excavation project, this could cause additional unforeseen costs.

When a pipe or line is destroyed, it is often more challenging to repair. In the case of water and gas pipes and electrical lines, these could cause explosions that can harm the workers in the vicinity. Similarly, water lines and septic systems can burst and cause sinkholes to form. These damages can sometimes be catastrophic for the surrounding area and cost a fortune to fix.

By calling in a professional underground utility locator, you run a lower risk of damaging underground lines. 

2. It Ensures Workers’ Safety

On a more important note, the safety of anyone working on the site is paramount. During ongoing projects, managers and contractors should ensure the safety and health of the workers. Legal ramifications could occur from any injury that may happen on-site, and in order to avoid this, the correct procedures should be followed.

Most accidents can occur if the excavators or workers are unaware of the location of utility pipes and lines. If a water line is struck, not only can it burst, but depending on the depth of the site, it can cause a cave-in and submerge the workers in a layer of sand and dirt.

With a gas line, the danger is extremely serious. Since gas lines are very sensitive, drilling through the pipe or damaging it could cause a spark that could cause an explosion. If the explosion does not occur, there is still the added risk of a gas leak which is detrimental to the worker’s health as well as the surrounding area.

3. It Provides Accurate Mapping

Using state-of-the-art technology, an underground utility locator is able to accurately pinpoint and locate any utility lines or pipes that may be underground and buried. The sensors pick up pipes up to a depth of 13 feet with an accuracy of 97%.

These are all important factors during utility mapping because the higher the accuracy, the better and easier it is to work on the site without risk of damage or injury. If an underground utility locator suspects that something may have been missed during the inspection, which is quite rare, they often go back to the site to ensure the integrity of the findings.

This provides you and the diggers with the confidence needed to undertake an intense project without the added pressure of damaging utility lines.

4. It Prevents Service Interruptions

When you damage or destroy a utility line, depending on what line it is, you could cause a serious inconvenience to the schools, medical facilities, apartment complexes, or surrounding neighborhoods due in the area.

These lines and pipes could include sewer lines, sprinkler systems, home water pipes, and propane lines. Accidentally damaging these lines will not only cause inconvenience to the surrounding areas but also cause delays to the project as a whole. 

Work With a Reliable Underground Utility Locator

To avoid costly damages, hire a private locator you can count on. As proven through testimonies from our previous clients, Util-Locate is an industry leader in underground public and private utility locations.

With years of experience and utilizing state-of-the-art technology, our experts provide accurate utility mapping for any project. With our expertise and precise results, you can rest assured knowing that your utility mapping project is in good hands.

For the best utility detection services in California, get in touch with Util-Locate today!

What is the Best Method for Pipe Location?

utility locating service

Doing any type of digging in your yard without knowing the location of utility lines will increase your risk of damage. This can result in flooding your yard or even your entire home, which can be extremely costly to fix. Therefore, hiring a utility locating service can ensure the safety of everyone and your property.

A utility locator with a metal detector won’t work for most water pipes because they are made of PVC or similar materials. PVC pipes aren’t easy to find. In addition, not every underground utility locator is able to perform this task because of the use of a special process.

Finding and mapping underground pipes is challenging without the right information and tools. A property diagram with an incorrect property location, an outdated utility map, and an unreliable tool can all be in conflict with each other.

When you must locate pipes and cables without disrupting the soil of the site, it’s especially frustrating. Our infrastructure is so complex that it’s a wonder anything gets found so deep underground.

How Do Underground Utility Locators Work?

Various utility locators use similar techniques, but they do differ in some ways. They provide a strong signal that can be detected by handheld locators from the surface through induction by injecting an electrical signal, either directly or indirectly.

A basic distinction must be made before we can compare location techniques and signal types. A locator typically connects to a network using a receiver and a transmitter. This handheld receiver is easy to sweep above the ground.

An electrical supply or pipe is connected to the transmitter, or the transmitter is fed through the pipe. This way, the cable or pipe is located with the devices by sending a low-frequency radio current that establishes a connection.

Different Methods for Pipe Location

Utility line locators can both detect metal and plastic pipes underground, so you will need one to find underground water pipes. This material could be made from either metal or plastic, depending on where you’re currently working.

It is, therefore, important to use equipment that can locate both if you want to get the best results.

Acoustic Method

Workers tried to trace PVC water lines by banging on aboveground structures with their ears to the ground without using advanced technology. PVC pipe vibrations were detected more easily with ground rods and probes, and rods could be manually inserted into the ground to locate and trace the pipe.

Using a sensitive ground probe, the length of the PVC pipe will be listened to and followed. Since this method uses acoustics, ambient noise in the area may limit the ability of the operator to hear the signal. Huge machinery, busy roads, and busy streets can all interfere.

Ground Penetrating Radar

Due to its ability to locate both metallic and non-metallic objects, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) can be useful for finding underground water pipes. It requires some more time due to installing a leak detection device at the access point, removing the hydrant’s cap, and pressurizing it correctly.

Unlike traditional radars, ground-penetrating radars transmit electromagnetic radiation using antennas attached to rolling carts. You can apply the same principle if you are familiar with how sonar frequencies work. An antenna receives a wave that bounces back after hitting an object. Visual feedback is provided to the operator by the system based on this reflection.

Why Should I Use GPR for Locating Pipes?

There is an increase in the density and complexity of underground infrastructures nowadays. No matter how well plans are laid, diagrams, maps, and schematics don’t always reflect the truth. The non-destructive yet highly effective technique of GPR is extremely useful in these challenging situations.

A company that utilizes a pipe locator and cable locator to locate underground lines has a razor-sharp advantage over a company that doesn’t. The most important benefit of GPR is its ability to provide accurate information concerning what lies underneath the ground.

The data is available in real-time and shared with other project participants. No matter what kind of construction project you’re planning or digging a hole in, reliable data facilitates decision-making. A GPR system can deliver accurate 3D data of the subsurface without ever having to sink a shovel, delivering unprecedented clarity.

Consider Hiring Professionals to Locate Your Pipes

In every job, our team ensures safety, accuracy, confidence, and efficiency. Planning well, adhering to safety practices diligently, and maintaining quality compliance are important factors contributing to the success of any project. If underground obstacles threaten you and the people in your community, we can help you find them in time.

All home or business service requests are handled promptly and efficiently by our highly skilled and experienced technicians. If you have any questions or if you are in need of CCTV pipe inspection or utility locating service, don’t hesitate to call us at 888-88 56228 at Util-Locate today!

​4 Benefits of a Private Utility Locator

​4 Benefits of a Private Utility Locator

Property owners must follow their state’s regulations when it comes to maintaining underground utility lines. To prevent interference with those belonging to others, they may require the aid of private utility locating services.

Mapping technology and the expertise of skilled technicians can be utilized to achieve this.

This method helps developers and owners easily manage utility records, as well as prevent potential damage to both public and private utility lines from new foundations, posts or structures.

The focus of this post will be exploring the advantages of utilizing private utility locating companies, including:

1. Trained and Certified Utility Location Technicians

The specialized tools used in locating the position and depth of underground utility lines need to be operated by skilled and trained technicians.

The same goes for the data they generate—which need to be collected, assessed, and analyzed by licensed eyes.

Certified utility line personnel can also discern significant data from what could be a piece of plastic or metal buried underneath.

2. Sophisticated Potholing Utilities

Private utility locators use high-technology scanning tools to identify the exact location of utility lines in an area.

Gone are the days when utility locating services used manual utility maps and did a lot of guesswork. In modern times, they use equipment such as:

  • Electromagnetic equipment
  • Electronic or radio frequency (RF) pipe and cable locating tools
  • CCTV-guided mapping tools
  • Ground-penetrating radar (GPR)

GPR tools are the most common and advanced. They can detect electric, water, gas, oil, communications, and drainage lines without the need to break ground.

3. Reduced Utility Line Locating Time and Cost

Often, private owners deploy excavating professionals to locate utility lines. While they are experts in digging the ground, they often are not equipped to map out unseen lines.

This may result in having to dig before knowing the actual positions and may cause damages along the way.

4. Protection for Underground Utility Lines

Property developers and owners need to maintain their respective utility lines as part of the law. And the only way to properly do so is to know where they are located under the ground.

Private potholing utilities can obtain an overall view of the placements and connections of buried lines—regardless of whether they are part of the current construction or renovation project or not. 

This information can serve as an FYI for any future real estate change that will be made.

Risk of Not Calling for Private Utility Location Service

Private utility locating is crucial to:

  • Reduce the risk of existing utility line damage
  • Prevent injury to personnel who will be exposed to water, electrical, and gas pipes
  • Avoid expensive repairs that happen when blind digging

Call Util-Locate!

Private utility line locating ensures the safety of workers and prevents costly damages to underground lines. This is a project that should not be DIY-ed.

Instead, you should let the experts get the job done. Util-Locate serves clients in Southern California. We use the combination of licensed expertise and high-tech ground mapping tools to generate accurate data.

Our potholing portfolio includes universities, schools, military bases, theme parks, correctional facilities, stadiums, shopping centers, hospitals, hotels, telecoms, and water companies.

Let’s discuss what our services can do for you, contact us at (866) 638-1075 at Util-Locate today! 

3 Best Underground Utility Locating Systems

utility locating service

The job of utility locating service involves the use of a wide range of equipment. Depending on the type of work being done and the utility type being sought, locators choose the appropriate locating tool. Methods that locate utilities accurately ensure that excavation crews and communities are safe from injury due to striking utility lines. 

Locating underground utilities, such as sewer and gas lines, is a process of finding and marking these assets—all of which protect the public from accidents like explosions caused by buried gas lines or electrocution caused by striking buried utilities. 

Anyone planning to do any kind of digging in the U.S. is required to contact the state’s 811 centers to locate public utilities before digging a site. Excavators must also hire professional location services to locate all non-public assets due to the presence of private utilities on most construction sites. 

 3 Best Utility Locating Systems

Underground pipes, water lines, cables, batteries, power lines, metallic objects, and non-metallic objects can’t all be found by the same utility locator device. The key to detecting all types of underground utility infrastructure is the choice of tools that complement each other. Utility locating equipment in the market can be broken down into three types.

1. Ground Penetrating Radar Technology

Utilities buried underground can be located using ground-penetrating radar (GPR). A transmitter and a receiver are usually included in different types of utility-locating equipment units.

Radiation from the transmitter penetrates the ground through ground-penetrating radar. The receiver receives a signal when it is reflected off of something in the underground path, while signals are translated into images of objects beneath the surface by the receiver’s software.

2. Electromagnetic Profiling Locators

A conductive utility can only be located with an electromagnetic (EM) locator. The frequencies are transmitted from the equipment’s transmitter onto the ground. The receiver begins to identify and track the location of the asset once the frequency is transmitted through a metallic utility.

Additionally, it is capable of establishing the difference between different lines as well as finding utilities in many cases.

Tracer wire is commonly run along or atop gas pipelines to make them easy to locate because most are constructed from medium or high-density polyethylene pipe. An operator in these situations can make a connection and induce a current on a tracer wire and locate it by having access to the system.

3. Radiofrequency Pipe and Cable Locators

The use of radiofrequency (RF) locators for locating conductive utilities is also common. In the same way that EM equipment uses high frequencies to locate buried assets, a radio frequency locator uses high frequencies to gain access to such assets.

There is also the possibility that pipe locators can detect non-metal utilities buried alongside one if tracer wires are buried with them.

What is the Best Type of Utility Locating Equipment to Use?

The primary method of utility location is by using electromagnetic locators. Ground penetrating equipment is much slower, easier to operate, and less accurate than electromagnetic equipment, which is limited to finding metallic objects only.

However, GPR can also locate non-conductive materials, but an experienced locator in the field needs to be able to properly identify all kinds of assets.

Together, GPR and EM tools maximize their potential and provide accuracy and complete location of underground utilities with ease. The type of equipment to use for utility locators must also be determined by the environmental and area conditions.

A number of factors play into the performance of locating equipment. For example, soil conductivity and soil moisture levels.

Make Your Next Project Easy with Utility Locating Services

You can save tons of time and make challenging projects simpler with an underground utility locating service, regardless of whether you’re a professional or a novice. The most important benefit of using these devices, however, is that they can help avoid any electrical or natural gas disturbances during the project.

This is something you should leave to the professionals. At Util-Locate, we generate accurate data using high-tech ground mapping tools, CCTV line installation, and licensed expertise.

To find out what our services can do for you, get in touch with our team at 866-638-1075 at Util-Locate today!

The Future of CCTV/Pipe Inspection

CCTV/Pipe inspections

Without the use of pipe inspection cameras, most sewer pipe damage cannot be determined how severe it is and where it is located. Globally, closed-circuit television (CCTV) has been used for a variety of purposes throughout history. The plumbing industry has benefited greatly from this breakthrough technology.

Domestic as well as commercial plumbing systems can be examined using CCTV-based pipe inspections to ensure maximum performance. In order to prevent leaks, cracks, blockages, corrosion, and other defects in pipes, surveyors must regularly inspect them.

Traditionally, sewer inspections have been time-consuming and inefficient. As a result, they may miss defects due to the use of manual processes on-site to check for defects.

What is the Function of CCTV Cameras For Sewer Inspections?

Surveyors usually use a robotic CCTV camera crawler transportation unit since they cannot inspect pipes above ground or physically access them underground. By inserting a CCTV camera crawler through a manhole, you can inspect and record sewer lines. Crawlers have CCTV cameras mounted on them that can rotate or change directions as necessary.

In addition to capturing high-quality images and videos, these devices come with user-friendly applications that promote safety and quality while enhancing productivity. Computer-controlled CCTV cameras transmit real-time information and images back to the operator along with the ability to store the information for later reference.

Innovative Technologies in Pipe Inspection

Generally, CCTV pipe inspections are more expensive because of the equipment, the site setup, and the back-end processing. In order to drive down the overall cost of CCTV/Pipe inspections, CCTV contractors and asset owners can utilize new technologies.

Sewer Camera Inspections with VR

Traditional surveying solutions could be replaced by VR. VR solutions let operators move crawlers forward and then capture VR video from any direction by simply instructing them to do so. A 360-degree video that has been captured on-site can then be reframed in editing software to simulate panning and tilting. In this way, operators can save time on location by working in an office setting.

Analytics Powered by Artificial Intelligence

There are multiple uses of artificial intelligence (AI) in pipe inspection, and it can be used in many different areas. The CCTV inspection package can be tailored based on statistical models that predict pipe degradation. Using artificial intelligence, the inspection workflow can be simplified both on-site and back-office, as manual processes can be eliminated.

Computer Vision Tools

With computer vision, it is possible to comprehend what is happening in a picture by using the pixels in the picture. Edge detection and noise filtering are some common computer vision applications. Images can also be measured using computer vision, and changes can be tracked over time using computer vision. 

Online Tools and Cloud Streaming with 5G

It was often time-consuming to transmit a large amount of data between locations before 5G was introduced. With the expansion of 5G coverage and adoption, cloud streaming services are likely to become more prevalent in wastewater networks.

For CCTV Pipe Inspection and CCTV Sewer Inspection, Trust Only The Best

The CCTV sewer inspection and CCTV pipe inspection services offered by Util-Locate will solve your underground sewer problems.

Our team of experts at Util-Locate can identify buried materials in your excavation without guesswork. We’re here to help if you need us at Util-Locate! Feel free to call us at 888-885-6228.