Installing and replacing underground utilities is complex. Excavating and digging into the ground without locating utility lines is a recipe for disaster. And that’s why, in today’s blog, we give property owners a glimpse of what an underground utility repair project looks like.
Continue reading to know what goes into repairing utility lines buried in the ground.
Defining Underground Utilities
First things first.
‘Utilities’ are all the services provided by a public utility company (electricity, water, sewage, natural gas, etc.). Many of these utilities are supplied via an extensive underground network of pipes and cables (there are over 100 billion feet of underground utilities in the US).
Property owners also install private lines and utility lines (such as sprinkler systems or private sewer lines). It is critical to mark ‘utility locations’ when you initiate a construction project, no matter how small.
According to one estimate, someone accidentally damages a utility line once every 6 minutes in the US. This damage not only disrupts utility supplies for oblivious residents but can cause electrocutions and even gas explosions.
How To Mark Underground Utility Lines
The American Public Works Association (APWA) has created color codes for property owners, construction companies in Florida, utility companies, and any person or entity ‘working on or near underground facilities.’
The color codes (red for electric lines, green for sewers, blue for drinking water, etc.) can be applied with paint, chalk, stakes, and flags to prevent any damage or accidents near the underground lines.
The utility company will mark underground utilities, but you or your contractor must call them first, at least two days before digging. Property owners have to mark private lines themselves. You may also need to get written authorizations if the repair work requires access to adjoining properties.
Due to so many utility lines and constant construction work (plus all the safety hazards involved), it is a legal requirement to notify the relevant public utility company before digging/excavation.
This has become simpler since 2007 with the introduction of the universal N11 number: 8-1-1. You may have seen an 811 ‘call before you dig’ sign in your city, and this service has greatly reduced the incidence of buried utilities being accidentally damaged.
What Are Underground Utility Repairs?
Underground utility repairs involve removing, replacing, and fixing damaged pipes to ensure safe supplies. A contractor (residential or commercial) may also perform excavation, video inspections, and drain/pipe cleaning to detect the extent of damage and to determine whether a replacement is necessary or not.
Things to Consider
Once your lines are marked, they are valid for a specific time (usually 28 days). Moreover, the repair may also include service interruptions. That’s why you should plan accordingly.
And also be prepared for lots of noise on the worksite! This is perhaps the most inconvenient part of underground utility repairs.
Considering the safety issues, you should choose a licensed contractor for residential or commercial utility repairs. Scorpion Construction LLC can help you install and repair underground utilities in Tampa, FL. Click here to get a free, no-obligation quote.