Utility companies are known for providing outdated and inaccurate mapping information regarding the location of their underground utility lines. To avoid damage to underground utility infrastructure, in addition to calling 811, it is important to have a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey completed by a reputable company.
Subsurface Utility Engineering
Public and private utility companies lay infrastructure throughout cities and municipalities. These utility services include electrical lines, water pipes, gas lines, telecommunication lines, and much more. Often, when infrastructure is improved, many of these services are moved or completely replaced, leaving the old service in the ground. The original maps of underground utility systems quickly become outdated and useless.
Danger To Construction Crews
With a useless utility map, construction crews run the risk of hitting a utility line that could cause delays, injuries, and even death. Each year, according to the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), about 700,000 subsurface public utilities are hit during digging and construction work in North America. The time and money wasted in these accidents add up quickly.
Over the past 20 years in the United States, there have been more than 2400 injuries caused by striking unknown utilities during excavations. Some of these instances resulted in the death of members of the construction crew. With an up to date utility map, these deaths could have easily been avoided.
Dangers To The Public
Let’s take a moment to review the case of the deadly “Firestone Blast” that occurred in Firestone, Colorado. This home explosion claimed the lives of the homeowner and his brother in law. It was caused by an undisclosed, unused, gas pipe leaking a volatile mix of methane and propane into their home through french drains and a sump pit.
Because of this tragic disaster, then-Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, called for inspections of all subsurface gas lines within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings. Recognizing the damage to property and to human life is a vital step in understanding the true dangers of the unmarked utility lines that run through (nearly) every city, town, and residence in our country.
Underground Utility Damage
Mapping the location of buried utilities can save a significant amount of time, money, and frustration. Utility owners gain peace of mind knowing their systems are more easily discovered, marked, and mapped. They understand the damage outages can cause to the bottom line as well as customer satisfaction.
Having an accurate underground utility map allows for better planning of future municipal projects. City Managers know that there is a lower likelihood of damage to subsurface utilities during city infrastructure projects. City planners can also more easily identify areas that need more attention. Overall, underground utility damage prevention is important to us all.
Who Should You Call?
Whether you are a city planner, part of a construction crew, or simply a homeowner planning to dig on your property – it is vital to contact 811 for a survey of the proposed dig site. For a much clearer understanding of the infrastructure buried beneath your land, hiring a GPS/GPR mapping company to provide you with an as-built or survey-grade utility map is the best way to go. Contact the trusted technicians at Omega Mapping Service to get started on your project today.