Locating Buried Electrical Lines

While the majority of electrical lines are found above ground in the United States, there is still a percentage of lines which have been buried below ground. These lines often run from a public box or meter on to private property. As a result they are out of the domain of public utility locating companies such as 811. Buried electrical lines may run alongside buried fiber and other cables, complicating the process of identifying them.

What happens if you hit a buried electrical line?

Electrical lines are often buried within a few feet of the surface, creating a high risk for digging operations. Hitting a power line can cause serious injury or even death to the equipment operator and those in the area. The electric shock can damage or destroy equipment. Additionally, the cost to repair underground electric lines is typically much higher than that of replacing traditional lines. Damaged lines can cause outages and must be dealt with in a timely manner. All of these lead to costly delays for a project.

How can GPRS help you locate buried electrical lines?

GPRS is skilled at using ground penetrating radar (GPR) to locate all types of buried utilities. The GPR equipment sends a signal into the ground, bouncing off of buried material to create a reading. This reading is used to determine approximate depth and location of the utility or material in question. Ground penetrating radar a non-destructive solution to locating buried utilities.

GPRS Project Managers undergo rigorous training and are top in the field of private utility location. However, it is not always easy to distinguish between different types of utility readings. If there are any doubts about the type of material located, the signal can be traced back to its source- in this case a potential electrical line can be traced back to a meter box or other identifier. If there is still confusion about the type of utility, the elevation of the buried utility is cross-checked with any existing plans. It is our job to take the guess work out of your excavation and we do everything possible to ensure that this happens.

Can you locate a buried electrical line if the power is shut off?

The GPR equipment we use is capable of locating buried electrical lines whether they are live or not. Electrical lines are made of highly conductive material which will interact with the GPR equipment to create a signal regardless of if energy is flowing through them. It is not necessary to energize the lines prior to scanning.

How accurate are the GPR readings?

GPRS project managers are skilled at using GPR equipment to identify the location of buried utilities. We have an accuracy within 6 inches to the center of the utility, and a depth accuracy at +/- 10-15%.

How will I know where to dig?

Our Project Managers will walk you through their findings, ensuring you have a clear understanding of the location of buried sewer lines. All findings are carefully marked out on site- we typically use spray paint and survey markers for projects which are underway. A detailed GPS map or AutoCAD drawing can be compiled in order to preserve this information for future use.