Private vs. public locating
First of all, let’s try to clarify what private locating means and in which way it is different than public locating.
Basically, when you plan to excavate or simply dig on your own property for a new construction project, you will be required to mark only the lines that you own and maintain. This means up to the meter. What goes beyond the meter is public and may include water systems and sewers, public communication lines, lines attached to a septic system etc.
Locating companies are required to locate and mark only public utilities; it is landowners` responsibility and legal obligation to call for private locating specialists, in order to be able to keep track of what else is on their property and dig safely, without damaging underground utilities that may affect not just their property but the entire community.
Residential and commercial locating
Residential locating refers to locating utilities on private properties (farms, ranches), while commercial locating is performed on commercial land (airports, hospitals, schools, government facilities etc.).
What types of projects absolutely require contacting a contractor providing utility locating services?
Residential owners should make the call anytime they plan to dig (and digging goes from small jobs to excavations).
- Installing irrigation systems
Such projects can easily interfere with underground utilities, considering that their nature involves buried runs of long pipes and conduit.
- Installing mailboxes
These may seem like small projects, but their typical placement along the streets, for the ease of delivery, as well as the required depth for their proper installation should make residential owners treat them with consideration; many utilities are also buried along the streets, so damage probability is very high.
- Replacing or installing new fences
These projects require a number of holes that must be dug deep and, just like in the case of mailboxes, often along streets and property lines
- Planting trees and shrubs
Too often, the location for this type of vegetation is chosen based exclusively on aesthetics or their practical purpose (providing shade). Obviously, this is very wrong, considering that underground utilities can be damaged not only by planting trees and shrubs but also as a consequence of their growth.
- Building a backyard pond
The recommended depth for backyard ponds is 25-35 inches, which make these projects risky for underground utilities if they are not planned properly.
What do you need to do to request a private locate?
You will be required to provide the following information:
- Name and contact information (address, phone number etc.)
- Cross Street
- What is to be located
- Scope and purpose of locate
- When you plan to start the digging project
Remember that utility locating services are not just for large contractors, involved in major underground projects; they are for everyone, even if private landowners are not always aware of this aspect and neither of the consequences of digging irresponsibly on their property. Statistics show that in more than 60% of the cases, they are the ones responsible for property damage, injuries and disruption of service after damaging an underground private utility. So remember, call before you dig Colorado Springs 811 services and keep your family and home safe during your home improvements.