Private Utility Locating – Texas
Traditional (EM) locate equipment requires the transmitting antenna be inline with the utility if you are using induction mode or they may be missed. GPR does not have this requirement so utilities running in an obscure direction can be identified.
The One-Call System ( DigTess or 811)does not mark utilities. The One-Call system only notifies participating member utilities. These participating member utilities will not mark private or non-member utilities. The utility locating companies notified will locate and mark only primary public utilities, so it’s up to you to keep track of what else is on your own property.
3D Mapping of the Area
When providing mapping services we collect data for the survey area in a grid format. A GPR survey grid means that more area is covered and unknown objects can be discovered and ensure full coverage of the area.
Once the GPR data has been collected a 3D map of the ground and its infrastructure can be developed. This can be beneficial in congested areas for identifying utilities and also for pre-engineering purposes.
1) What’s the difference between “public” and “private” utilities?
Public utilities are the electric, gas, phone/cable, water and sewer lines that are brought in to a point by agencies such as Verizon, Oncor, or Atmos and where they determine their responsibility ends.
The area of responsibility can vary from place to place so you may want to find out where their responsibility ends and where yours begins! As an example: Some cities are responsible for the water service line from the street connection all the way in to the main structure where others are only responsible from the street connection to the water shut off valve in the yard or at the property line and you're responsible from that point into the main structure!
Private utilities are the electric, gas, phone/cable, water and sewer lines that are added beyond the responsibility point of the public agencies.
Examples are: Electric lines that go to outbuildings such as sheds, pole barns, garages, pools, etc.
Gas lines that go to grills, pools, or outbuildings;
Phone/Cable lines to outbuildings; Water or Sewer lines to outbuildings.
A septic system, well, or irrigation system are also “private”.
2) Are location markings 100% accurate and are all utilities traceable?
No marked utility is 100% accurate. The equipment used to find those utilities is very good, but you need to understand that these utilities are underground and can’t visually be seen. We suggest a 2 feet leniency on either side of the marked lines to ensure safety or should be hand dug so that the utility can be safely verified.
Not everything is traceable. Anything plastic such as irrigation pipe or gas lines are not traceable unless there is a tracer wire that is laid out with it. Fiber optic lines are glass and are difficult be traced unless it has a tracer wire running with it. Sanitary sewer lines typically aren’t traceable unless you can access a point of entry such as a clean out to run a traceable source into the line.
Private Utilities are the buried lines after the meter or main lines. If you have a curbside meter then your property will not get marked by the participating member utility locators. Other buried utilities that generally are not marked include but may not be limited to sewer lines, private lighting, sprinklers, fire mains, secondary electric lines to detached garages, and septic lines.