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Old 05-07-2012, 11:50 PM   #1
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How to avoid underground flex PVC and electrical lines

I will be doing some minor excavating for a paver patio with a skid steer to get the proper base for the pavers (aprx 6-12 inch).

My State (PA) has a call service for marking utility lines to avoid excavating in those areas.

I know from past markings that I will be on top of the area where I want to put perforated PVC for drainage and the flexible PVC for my pool plumbing is located near this excavation site.

These suspect places will need to be properly excavated to get the base material for the patio stones in place. Obviously I will avoid using the skid steer in those areas, but what should I do about any manual excavation. Obviously I don't want to just going shovel crazy. But I also don't want to use a toothbrush or I will feel like Clint Eastwood in Escape from Alcatraz.

I am not so concerned about the electrical section becasue the utility ditch is known to be 3-4 feet down and I will be excavating < 12 inches. I can always use a metal detector to get a ball park place as well as the markings from the PA One Call service.

I am not aware of a way to detect flex PVC that has pool water running through it.

Any suggestions on this would be greatly appreciated. My plan to this point is highly watering the area and removing the mud by hand once the pipes are detected. Then use manual shovel in the safer places.


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Old 05-08-2012, 12:17 AM   #2
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There is no way except dousing to find the pex lines unless you dig them up.
There has to be a place where you know they start or end. Start digging there. Try to not dig straight down, use more of a scooping motion.
I would never suggest making a muddy soup and trying to dig that out. It will just be a big mess.
Pex is cheap to replace and easy to repair so it would not be that big a deal if you did hit it.


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Old 05-08-2012, 01:27 PM   #3
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I agree. There are different detector that can find water running through pex if not the plumbing itself. Usually such things are your responsibility so a public service may not be willing to help you with that part of things. As Joe says you can replace pex cheaper than going through all that.

Main things you want to be sure about are any underground power, telephone, cable, natural gas utilities and so forth. Give your local utility locator service some time this time of year. They get backed up and if you call on a Friday so you can do a project on Saturday you will be disappointed.

Also, I remind clients they should have their yards scaled out somewhat accurately and with the house shown on it. Once the utilities are located, mark them on your plot for future reference.
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:38 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. I have used the services for electric/cable and know where those are. The plumbing line is "tiger flex" which is a 1 1/2 inch flex PVC for swimming pools (it is not PEX as far as I understand).

But either way, I concur that getting a meter or service to find it is not for the price. I generally know where this is at and figure a hand shovel slow route is the key.

I was hoping for some other way to do the magic and avoid piercing a plumbing line.
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