Friday, December 14, 2012

One of the things about undergound utilities

Is that you can't see 1/4" through dirt.

So to know where things are, so you don't put holes in things that are down there, we call for line locates.

The utilities involved -who don't want their lines broken and have to fix them- come out and throw colored paint on the ground where the lines are:
Orange for COMM.
Blue for WATER
Green for SEWER
Yellow for GAS
The way you're supposed to find them is to pothole where the paint is, to be sure the operator knows where they are.

That being said, the guys doing the potholing are supposed to stop when the FIND the utility they're looking for. That doesn't happen when you have three guys who give less than a f*ck.

You notice the pothole stops 6" away from that 1 1/2" gas line?
I was told "Ya boss- that gas line is alor deeper than were digging."
Except that I know how deep gas lines are on this part of the base.

This one that stopped about 14" down- I was told "Ya boss that phone line is in concrete, we found the edge right there."
Except that I know the phone lines aren't encased in 'crete here, either.
We came on the orange sand about 2 feet below where they stopped.
Then we uncovered a second phone line that wasn't marked and called base comm guy -who didn't know it was there either.

These two are the before and after pictures of the last gas line we found.
Notice the way the pothole trench is going parallel with the marks instead of the more useful across the marking hole? If you go across where the line is supposed to be, you won't miss the gas line by 4" like we see in the last picture.

My spotter/co-operator asked why I didn't make them redo them. I told him I just wanted the stupid f*cks out of my way.
Their foreman didn't like it much when I called him out on it with the Super standing right on top of the most obvious miss (the top pic).


  1. I hear ya bro..18 yrs with a gas co.

  2. I ran across a two inch, doped and wrapped, steel pipe a few years ago, while placing some culverts. It wasn't located by all involved, so we went through the process of finding the owner, since it prevented us from placing the culvert.

    After a day, a man appeared that suspected it was an abandoned pipe from an oil well that was removed years before. He wanted us to cut it with a chop saw, which I declined. If it was his, he could cut it; I even offered our saw, but told him to give us time to get a few thousand feet away.

    He went to his truck and retrieved a chisel, with a brass hammer. Within a few seconds, he was in the process of making a hole in the pipe.

    After thirty minutes, he punched a hole and clear water ran from the pipe. I gave him the chop saw, he cut enough pipe for our culverts and we completed the location.


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