March 3, 2024

Common Misconceptions About Utility Location Processes


Digging for utilities on your property can often seem like a complicated endeavor. While there are a few different components to the process, you will find that it is a lot easier to get the ball rolling once you clear the air of a few misconceptions. Whether you’re looking to break ground on a big project or simply want to build a small structure on your property, taking a moment to review these foundational elements of the location process can provide you with the insight you need to tackle whatever is in store.

The Call

The first step of this process is actually one of the more straightforward. There’s no need to do any physical work when you’re putting together your plans to dig. In fact, all you need to do is call 811. Calling this number will connect you to the local offices that deal with matters surrounding underground utilities. Typically, contacting this department will help you gain perspective on the location of electrical or power lines, natural gas pipes, and any lines that have been placed in the ground for telecommunication purposes.

The Tools

Another misconception that people have about the process of locating utilities underground is that the equipment involved does not matter to the overall process. This could not be farther from the truth. A quality utility locator makes a world of difference to the way your project plays out. Using an inferior model can fail to provide you with the information you need to accurately know what is under the surface of your property. This, in turn, might cause you to miss a major line and accidentally cut out power or other utility services to your community.

The Requirements

Whether you’re doing the surveying work yourself or hiring professionals to take on the task, you need to understand a few basic points about your state’s regulations before you get into the nitty-gritty aspects. For example, some states require that individuals include an extra few feet in each direction around a utility line while digging. This is meant to help keep a site safe and reduce the odds of an accident, so be sure to learn more about what your state requires before you break ground.

The Future

One final misconception people seem to have about utility location is that it is a one-off process. Unfortunately, this is not true. If you need to dig again in a few years, you still need to go through the process of locating utilities all over again. Time can change the terrain in ways that most people don’t realize. From shifting dirt caused by heavier rainfall to the erosion of older utility lines, there are plenty of reasons why existing utilities could shift in place. Starting the process from start is required whenever you are looking to dig.

The process of locating utilities might seem a bit daunting at first glance, but this doesn’t mean that it is an impossible challenge. Give yourself time to review the ins and outs of utility location processes and see what steps you need to take in order to get the process done without any setbacks.