top of page

Is underground utility locating service free?

There are two sides to this question. Public underground utility locating services are free while private ones require payment.


So, what's the difference between these two services? We'll discuss more on that here. The major purpose of underground utility locating services is to render expert functionalities.


In most US states, you cannot just dig up the ground without any planning. In order to safely dig into the ground, you first need to get the area checked for buried utilities. You have to give notice and get clearance from local utility owners to know if there are no buried public utilities in the area.


However, all this raises a question. That is, how much does underground utility locating service cost? Here you will learn about all to know about underground utility locating services. More importantly, you will find all the answers to your questions.


How Does Underground Utility Locating Service work?


A lot of utilities including electric, gas, water, cable TV, sewage pipes, and so on lie deep in the ground. These systems differ by nature and of course, by function. As a result, the detection of these materials differs.


Generally speaking, there are two methods used in underground utility detection. You could either have a passive location or an active location.


Passive location is done in areas where maps are available to show the presence of utility systems underground. Using passive location, it is possible to miss more than 60% of the utilities under the ground. As a result, professionals use this method when the perceived risks are not much. That is when the drilling or digging process is not expected to go too deep.


Cutting into or striking an underground line can be a serious issue. Aside from the potential risk of putting people through service failure, you could injure yourself or others. That is why passive location is not encouraged.


The active method of location in comparison can detect most pipes and cables underground. To do this, experts use electromagnetic equipment with a transmitter and a receiver. In some cases, experts use advanced ground-penetrating radar.


Now to the big question, is the service free?


Like I said earlier, the public underground utility locating service is free through services like 811. However, private services offer much more but with payment. The value of the service is justified when you consider how much you would pay if you cut a utility system by mistake.


Also, using an underground utility locating service offers you the following advantages.


· You are saving yourself some energy. Most companies that deal with underground utility locating, can usually also handle the digging themselves. Thus, you wouldn’t need to worry about a thing.


· The process is fast: using the latest electromagnetic technology, GPR and so on, you can get reports in hours if not minutes about what utilities you have underground.


· The process is safe: the process and the equipment used do not emit dangerous energy. Having the equipment around is just like using your mobile phone. It is so safe, there is usually no need for you to have protective equipment while the process is ongoing.


· Detailed reports: at the end of the investigation, you get detailed reports to show you what’s under the ground. In a few moments, you get a clear idea of the utilities in the area so you can make the right decision and not make costly mistakes.

bottom of page