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Old 03-11-2010, 05:11 PM   #1
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Why to call before digging


So, a neighbor, let's say Jim, around the corner has a 1.3 acre lot which slope from front-right (looking at house) to left rear. His left-side neighbors lot slopes to Jim's low side. It doesn't take much rain to create an unwanted pond. Multiple times Jim has rented an Industrial sized ump pump/hoses to pump this out front to a drainage ditch, which is fine. I go by today and there's Jim, a couple of County trucks, a few City Water trucks, some cable TV trucks, some telephone trucks, and local County Code Enforcement Officers. No one looks happy when I stop. Jim has put in a new "lift station" and had the discharge trenched, rented trencher, out to the shallow ditch. Jim cut the TV cable, the phone line(s), and the City water to his house. His underground electric was on the other side. All lines/pipes cut were in the easement. Jim's mad because the Code Enforcement have written him multiple tickets, and are telling him he will pay for all repairs. Jim's standing there hollering "but they were not clearly marked". NO, they were not. One simple phone call. Usually NO charge to I.D. the utilities here. David

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Old 03-11-2010, 05:46 PM   #2
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Why to call before digging


miss utility here, and it is expensive to not call and hit underground goodies. no charge either for marking

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Old 03-11-2010, 06:29 PM   #3
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Why to call before digging


Hey Thurman, your first name isn't Jim by chance, is it?

Hopefully Jim has a lot of money in the bank because he just ran up a large repair bill and is very lucky there are no medical or funeral expenses involved.
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Old 03-11-2010, 06:50 PM   #4
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Why to call before digging


I never know whether to laugh or cry when I come across these sorts of situations.
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Old 03-11-2010, 06:58 PM   #5
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Why to call before digging


NO. I am not "Jim". I used a false name to protect the young man. He lost his job when a large tire plant closed here last year. BUT--he's ambitious: He's using the State and tire company's education programs to go to college to be a nurse/surgical nurse. His wife is one at a Dr.'s office. He may be right by looking at health care. One way or another we will all need some type of health care providers. Nice family, two small kids. He just had a bad day. David Thurman Chatman, not Jim
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Old 03-11-2010, 07:50 PM   #6
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Why to call before digging


I work for a power company and it never ceases to amaze me how often these types of contacts happen. We had one last week on an underground 25000V line and no locates were done, and locates are done for free by all underground utilities where I reside. The saddest part is that most young swampers who work around backhoes etc. are never told that they will likely be the one who is burned, or killed all together when a contact is made and they are standing nearby. It makes your stomach turn.
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Old 03-11-2010, 08:53 PM   #7
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Why to call before digging


One place I worked we were expanding to the next building
We needed to extend our LAN over there, landlord agreed to have a trench dug & pipe installed
I look out one Friday & call the IT guy at the main office & ask him if he knows that GWS is digging the trench
He stated he has never heard of them....something wrong ?

Yes GWS is Guy with Shovel
He has hit ledge & is going at multiple 45 degree angles to reach the other building
So landlord brings in a small backhoe
I'm at my desk with my back to the window...boss comes in & says we have to Evac the building ASAP
I ask him why ??
Dave...stop & breathe...

GAS !! out we go
Dang guy never called Dig Safe....& to boot some co-workers were watching him before he hit the pipe
He had been smoking a cigarette !!

Fire Chief shows up....buildings are shut down for the day
Then the Chief goes off on my boss & wants to know why the building wasn't cleared
Turns out our programmer was still in the building with his nose to the monitor
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:04 PM   #8
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Why to call before digging


Quote:
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Turns out our programmer was still in the building with his nose to the monitor


well, it was a programmer. It's not like it was an electrician or something.
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:08 PM   #9
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Why to call before digging


I have a backhoe, for personal use, and I have done a lot of digging at three different houses in the last 10 years.
I put off a job a few days waiting for utilities to be marked. I have always called, even if I know where the utilities are. At lease you are somewhat covered.
Your friend may not have known to call, but he should have.
He was lucky he didn't hit a gas line or electricity or fiber-optic--- that would have been much more expensive or fatel!
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
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or fiber-optic--- that would have been much more expensive or fatel!
Oh ya. It's been a few years but some folks that were putting in a new bridge near me cut a MAJOR fiber cable. There were crews of 2 techs working around the clock for 3 days repairing it. It was a major line up the west side of Michigan.

ya, you can bet that wasn't cheap for the bridge builder!!
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Old 03-11-2010, 10:42 PM   #11
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Why to call before digging


Quote:
Originally Posted by Giles View Post
I have a backhoe, for personal use, and I have done a lot of digging at three different houses in the last 10 years.
I put off a job a few days waiting for utilities to be marked. I have always called, even if I know where the utilities are. At lease you are somewhat covered.
Your friend may not have known to call, but he should have.
He was lucky he didn't hit a gas line or electricity or fiber-optic--- that would have been much more expensive or fatel!
Even if you know where they are, you should call. If they are not marked properly and you hit them you not responsible, or at least less responsible as I have been told.
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Old 03-11-2010, 10:58 PM   #12
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Why to call before digging


20 years or so ago I was a volunteer fireman in my home town, and a contractor nicked a gas line next to a foundation of a commercial building. He called the FD when he heard the gas hissing. First truck rolls up, manages to have the adjacent structures evacuated, and then boom. There wasn't a piece of wood left nailed to another. No fire. Just a big pile of shattered wood. Anyone in a developed area that digs in this day and age without calling is just a plain idiot and deserves what's coming to him.

Anyone remember the 900 psi 36 inch Texas Eastern pipeline that blew up in NJ back in the early 90's? A pilot on a commercial carrier flying into Newark airport thought that a nuke went off. That one disaster started the whole one call system idea.



When we had UG fiber optic run in our neighborhood, they spent 2 weeks marking everything out. Not a single issue (and our utilities are all underground - no poles). That was a work of art, snaking all that fiber around the neighborhood. All directional boring and slit trenches. No asphalt or concrete was taken up, which is a feat in itself considering how deep a residential curb goes.

Last edited by Aggie67; 03-11-2010 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 03-11-2010, 10:59 PM   #13
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Why to call before digging


there is an accepted margin of error. I believe it is 2 feet around here, not sure if that is typical elsewhere.


As long as you are at least that distance away from an underground utility that you had marked, you are not only not liable for the repair costs, the utility locator service can be liable if you are injured due to striking a marked utility.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:46 AM   #14
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Why to call before digging


I'm pretty sure the buffer zone is 1meter here for power and thats on either side of the cable. Also something to check on the line locate ticket is if it expires. Ours expire 14 days after they are recieved and about 3 years ago a hoe operator hit a line that a locater didn't mark and he ended up having to pay the repair costs because his ticket was 16 days old. no bs. he was not a happy camper.
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:34 AM   #15
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Why to call before digging


Yikes! I'm surprised he thought everything should be clearly marked. Do you know how ugly everyone's yards would be if there were lines or markers exactly where every utility ran underground?

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