When you plan a project that involves digging, it is easy to forget about the the unseen dangers snaking through your yard. Water and sewer pipes, gas lines, power lines, and communications cables are buried to protect them from falling limbs that could clip overhead lines and from all of the various hazards that could damage pipes or cables running along the ground. While utility lines should be buried deep enough that you don't have to worry about hitting them, the risk is still there. You should call a utility location service before you do any digging to avoid serious risks.
One of the biggest killers of construction workers is electrocution. While many of these electrocutions are a result of contact with overhead power lines, you cannot ignore the danger of underground lines. In fact, underground lines present a bigger danger in that you can see overhead lines, so you have a better chance of avoiding them. On the other hand, underground lines are masked. Simply trying to guess where a line is will not keep you and those working with you safe.
Natural gas lines are nothing to trifle with. While deaths associated with electricity are limited to those who made contact with the power line, gas explosions can level buildings and take the lives of bystanders. An explosion is not automatic when you hit an underground pipe and that is part of the danger. You may hear and smell the leaking gas but think you have time to act before you face the risk of an explosion. All it takes is an ignition source, and you have a raging, lethal fireball on your hands.
When you hit a utility line, you pay for the repair. To give you an idea of how much such a repair can cost, consider that repairing a gas line can cost anywhere from $150 to $7,000. Basically, the cost of repairing a damaged utility can absorb your budget for whatever project you had going.
Some homeowners are simply not aware of the need to locate utility lines before digging in their yard. Other homeowners don't want to sit around and wait for utility companies to come and mark their lines. Ignorance and impatience can leave homeowners dead or facing a devastating blow to their budget. All it takes is one call to a utility locating service (such as Delta Geophysics Inc) and a little patience to make sure you complete your next digging project safe from the lurking dangers of underground utilities.Share