To keep down the visual clutter, many utilities bury their lines or pipes underground. For some utilities, such as water, burying the pipes deep enough means that the earth’s very stable temperature below four feet (50°- 55° F) keeps water from freezing and bursting pipes, and this reduces repair costs. So what happens when you want to dig a trench for a new sprinkler system or build a kitchen addition onto your home? You need to get someone with experience in utility locating in South Carolina to tell you where lines and pipes are buried to prevent an accident. Why is this necessary, and how is it done? Read on.
Why Call 811?
You’ve seen the commercials that instruct you to call 811 before digging. When you call the number, you are connected to a company that will come to your location and find and mark underground lines. Though it might seem like a hassle to put off your project until the utilities are marked, you can do some serious damage to yourself and your wallet as well as inconveniencing your neighbors by cutting into one of multiple types of utility lines. With so many of them buried every which way beneath your lawn, it’s always a good idea to make the call first and start digging later. Severing a gas line, for instance, might require an evacuation of your home and neighbors, as well as a lengthy repair. You also don’t want to start a geyser by cutting into the water line. And shoving a metal shovel or digging tool directly into a live electric wire could leave you dead. So even if you’re frustrated by the delay, call 811 before any major digging project. Besides, it’s a free service. Fixing severed lines and cleaning up the resulting mess can be very expensive.
How Are Utility Lines Located and Marked?
Once you make the call, an expert will show up with the proper equipment to locate buried utilities. Using electromagnetic equipment for buried metal pipes and cables as well as ground penetrating radar for non-metal lines and pipes made of plastic and concrete, each of the utilities buried in your yard will be unearthed, so to speak. Once the expert has located a line and determined what it is, he will paint the ground a specific color to identify the type of utility, marking the direction of the line. He will do this as far as is needed for the scope of the project.
Permanently Marking Buried Utilities
When you lay new pipe underground, it’s a good idea to have it marked in a more permanent manner. This is especially true for commercial or industrial applications. The markers, when placed correctly into hard ground, will provide information about the type of pipe that is buried and who to call if repair is needed. When your company needs to remain Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) compliant, this is a crucial service. So, before you start digging the trench for your new sprinkler system or scooping out the dirt for the foundation of your new kitchen addition, get utility locating in South Carolina completed first.