The Importance of Private Utility Locating Services

Beginning a project that requires digging without knowing the location of underground utilities and storage tanks can not only be costly, but dangerous. It sometimes isn’t enough to use the 811 “Call Before You Dig” system, which is a public service offered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This service notifies the participating utility providers in your area, who will not mark private or non-member utilities—only primary public utilities, which leaves room for unanticipated encounters with private utilities on your property. Not accounting for this possibility can turn your project schedule into a chaotic, costly, and dangerous venture.

Why Use a Private Utility Locator?

Private utilities are all the buried lines and tanks in the sewer, lighting, fire, and other systems that lay beyond the public meter or main lines. For example, if you have a curbside meter, then the “Call Before You Dig” system will not mark everything on your property. To reduce the likelihood of budget problems and injuries, you’ll want to contact a private utility locating service provider such as GPR OneCall. We utilize a variety of subsurface detection technologies which allows us to comprehensively report on a range of findings.

Locating Private Utilities with Ground Penetrating Radar and Other Technologies

We can provide detailed written reports, photographs, DGPS data, and a sketch of the site highlighting problematic areas on your property. No single device or technology can detect everything in every situation, so we utilize:

  • Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) – ideal for detecting hidden plastic pipes, voids, and underground storage tanks. High clay, moisture, or saline contents in the soil limit this.
  • Electromagnetic Detection (EM) – detects the electromagnetic radio frequencies emitted by conductive materials.
  • Vacuum Excavation – non-invasively exposes buried utilities, reducing the risk of injury and loss of property compared to other excavation methods.
  • Concrete Scanning – detects the locations of rebar, post tension cables, pipes, and conduits embedded with concrete structures.
  • Ferromagnetic Detection (FM) – locates buried ferrous-iron based metals by detecting their magnetic fields.