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Digging deep and hitting pipes and wires?
Posted by: Mapleton
Date: December 28, 2010 05:27PM
I have a question. In my city, my local power company always makes a fuss "call before you dig anywhere!"

If I'm digging up public parks or private land, how far do wires and pipes usually go? Digging in a relative's yard, I've hit cable wires at 6 inches before and accidentally cut them with my shovel.

Should I be worried about gas lines or the like? Will a gas line explode if I hit it with a shovel?

Thank You.
Joe
Omaha, NE

Re: Digging deep and hitting pipes and wires?
Posted by: Ism
Date: December 28, 2010 06:40PM
Cable TV 6" Residential electric is usually 18" Water is 36" plus. Gas, I'm not sure but would figure at least 18" for residential. You should look up the codes for your area. And don't dig in the park with a full size shovel.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/28/2010 06:42PM by Ism.

Re: Digging deep and hitting pipes and wires?
Posted by: Tom_in_CA
Date: December 28, 2010 07:11PM
Joe, you hit "cable wires" at 6", in a yard, and cut them? Are we talking about wires for some home lawn fixture? Or ........ what kind of cables/wires? Any sort of public utility pipes and cables (for phones, utilities, etc...) are going to be a HECK of a lot deeper than 6". Something doesn't seem right here. I've been at this for over 30 yrs, and never cut a pipe or cable or wire. Perhaps sprinkler PVC stuff perhaps can be exposed, but nothing that the Utility Co. is in charge of.

This reminds me of a true story:

A fellow who just got into the hobby of metal detecting, decided that he needed to ask permission at his local city hall "just to make sure" he could detect in the parks, school yards, etc... of his little town. He goes into city hall, and asks the clerk. She was mystified, and had never fielded such a question! She couldn't seem to find any reason to tell him no, so she says "I don't see why not". At that, the gleeful man added "and I'll be sure to cover my holes, and leave no trace" (I guess he thought he was a real winner with that line, eh?). When the lady heard the word "holes...", she says, "uh, wait here....." She excused herself from the front counter. The man could see her going room to room down the hallway, apparently consulting higher-ups in the city hall. Eventually she came back to the front desk, and told the man "we're going to have to tell you no". The man, who perceived her answer was subjective and arbitrary, objected. He asked "but where is that written?" (thinking this would turn the burden of proof to her, to produce such an actual rule). The clerk produced a utility co. brochure, that had written on the front "Call Before You Dig". The man objected: "but mam, I'm only going to be digging a few inches down, this has nothing to do with the utility pipes which are waaay deep. I couldn't possibly hurt them!!". The man handed the pamphlet back to the lady, and she leafed through it some more, looking hard for clarification. She hands it back to the man, and says "sir, the rule doesn't specifiy HOW deep, it just says call before all digging. Therefore we have to tell you no".

The man left city hall, even more confused than when he'd come! True story! :)



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 12/28/2010 07:16PM by Tom_in_CA.

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Re: Digging deep and hitting pipes and wires?
Posted by: Mapleton
Date: December 28, 2010 07:36PM
Quote
Tom_in_CA
Joe, you hit "cable wires" at 6", in a yard, and cut them? Are we talking about wires for some home lawn fixture? Or ........ what kind of cables/wires? Any sort of public utility pipes and cables (for phones, utilities, etc...) are going to be a HECK of a lot deeper than 6". Something doesn't seem right here. I've been at this for over 30 yrs, and never cut a pipe or cable or wire. Perhaps sprinkler PVC stuff perhaps can be exposed, but nothing that the Utility Co. is in charge of.

It was cable TV wire. It was probably only 4 or 6 inches below the surface and was near a fence towards the back of a yard. I ended up cutting the wire with my shovel. I don't want to cut any wires in a park and electrocute myself.

And yeah funny story, sometimes it's best not to ask.

Re: Digging deep and hitting pipes and wires?
Posted by: jmaryt
Date: December 29, 2010 01:54AM
generally "gas" pipes are down around 4' or so!..this would explain why power digging equipment
"hits" them frequently,and the "main" reason why the "call before you dig" law was passed!..you don't need to be
concerned because you won't be digging that deep for a coin!

(h.h.!)
j.t.

Re: Digging deep and hitting pipes and wires?
Posted by: D&P-OR
Date: December 29, 2010 04:06AM
You got some pretty good answers here so I'll just ad this.----Don't be using ANY shovel digging in parks!----Get yourself a good digging knife or trowel and learn proper recovery techniques, leaving the area as good as (or better) than when you got there.----I don't mean to sound hard but shovels in parks is going to put us ALL out of business (even the perception of a shovel in a park).-------Del

It's easy to tell when over a elec. line or pipe, signal goes on in a straight line for a certain length:thumbup:N/T
Posted by: Hombre
Date: December 29, 2010 09:57AM

(This message does not contain any text.)


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Re: Digging deep and hitting pipes and wires?
Posted by: ramairnut
Date: December 29, 2010 10:11AM
Wow! Can you imagine being at a park and see someone carrying a shovel? I wouldn't take the time to notice the metal detector. I'd be heading to the car. Creepy!!

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Re: Digging deep and hitting pipes and wires?
Posted by: silverman
Date: December 29, 2010 03:45PM
I've got to agree with NOT using a shovel. Those are only for farm fields. All it takes is one complaint, and your metal detecting days in public areas are done. People are very picky about holes being left, and ground/grass being ruined. Just use a hand held digger, cut a small horseshoe plug (if you get good enough at pinpointing, this will not even be necessary), and flop it back over.
Leave it better than you found it. :beers:

Re: Digging deep and hitting pipes and wires?
Posted by: Prep1957
Date: December 29, 2010 09:03PM
I do this for a living and get paid very well for the past 33 years doing it.I work for a major pipeline I am protect and serve, locator and crossing coordinator.Each morning I receive JULIE tickets in the morning for the state of Illinois of all legal digs within 1000 feet of my pipelines that I am responsible for.Major pipelines can be less than 10 inches deep.New pipelines after 1960 were put in deeper to 30 inches.I have watched hundreds of cable TV get installed less than 3 inches deep that is 1200 dollar repair if you cut it because cable companies contract all there repairs out.If I catch you on my ROW you will get one verbal warning if you do not have a JULIE ticket.After that you do it again get your wallet and and get a good lawyer.Most state and federal parks have pipelines running through them.Pipelines have test wires running near roads and rivers that are less than 6 inches deep.That will be between 3 to 5 thousand dollars we may have to dig up pipe and cad weld new lead on with DOT OQ personal.Hotel stay,food,and all there expenses plus of course we have to hire Union labor to do digging.Also along pipelines that are near transmission power lines have foil strips to get rid of AC mitigation. they can be shallow you will know when you hit them they may carry the shock that could end you life.You cannot plant any tree,dig,rototiller,garden in Illinois without calling in JULIE.I got called out on emergency ticket in West Chicago a lady was planting spring bulbs cut telephone cable my pipeline runs in her back yard she not only got to pay for repair but she got verbally trained by me,the power company,the gas company,and fire Marshall and sign a sheet for each of us that she understood that she broke the law.Her homeowners insurance paid for damage but she has a nice file started on her.Good luck and stay safe all you fellow law breakers.

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Re: Digging deep and hitting pipes and wires?
Posted by: etracjoe
Date: December 29, 2010 10:18PM
I have personally seen 8" gas mains 2 feet deep and electric less than a foot. Ive even seen water less than 3 feet. I work for a major excavation company and we work hand in hand with the utility companies. It comes down to 1. whatever you can get away with and 2. necessity. Here in NY you need to bury all the utilities in gray colored sand. Then there sould be plastic tape on top. So if you hit fine gray sand... stand clear. And NY dig law says you need to call 24 hours in advance to even drive a stake 6 inches in the ground. Be careful out there.

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Re: Digging deep and hitting pipes and wires?
Posted by: Mapleton
Date: December 29, 2010 10:50PM
Quote
etracjoe
And NY dig law says you need to call 24 hours in advance to even drive a stake 6 inches in the ground. Be careful out there.

I understand the safety issues, but a law like that is ridiculous.

100 years ago some people still hunted their food, now we cannot even dig a 6 inch hole? Wow.

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Re: Digging deep and hitting pipes and wires?
Posted by: McDave
Date: December 30, 2010 07:47AM
Quote
Prep1957
I do this for a living and get paid very well for the past 33 years doing it.I work for a major pipeline I am protect and serve, locator and crossing coordinator.Each morning I receive JULIE tickets in the morning for the state of Illinois of all legal digs within 1000 feet of my pipelines that I am responsible for.Major pipelines can be less than 10 inches deep.New pipelines after 1960 were put in deeper to 30 inches.I have watched hundreds of cable TV get installed less than 3 inches deep that is 1200 dollar repair if you cut it because cable companies contract all there repairs out.If I catch you on my ROW you will get one verbal warning if you do not have a JULIE ticket.After that you do it again get your wallet and and get a good lawyer.Most state and federal parks have pipelines running through them.Pipelines have test wires running near roads and rivers that are less than 6 inches deep.That will be between 3 to 5 thousand dollars we may have to dig up pipe and cad weld new lead on with DOT OQ personal.Hotel stay,food,and all there expenses plus of course we have to hire Union labor to do digging.Also along pipelines that are near transmission power lines have foil strips to get rid of AC mitigation. they can be shallow you will know when you hit them they may carry the shock that could end you life.You cannot plant any tree,dig,rototiller,garden in Illinois without calling in JULIE.I got called out on emergency ticket in West Chicago a lady was planting spring bulbs cut telephone cable my pipeline runs in her back yard she not only got to pay for repair but she got verbally trained by me,the power company,the gas company,and fire Marshall and sign a sheet for each of us that she understood that she broke the law.Her homeowners insurance paid for damage but she has a nice file started on her.Good luck and stay safe all you fellow law breakers.

Ok...did this woman know beforehand that your pipeline was running through her yard? Or is it more fun for you guys to wait until something bad happens? If you had come on my mother's property and started berating her for planting flowers, I would have kicked you so hard you would be wearing your rear-end for a hat !



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:rofl:N/T
Posted by: silverman
Date: December 30, 2010 08:09AM

(This message does not contain any text.)


Re: Digging deep and hitting pipes and wires?
Posted by: Tom_in_CA
Date: December 30, 2010 12:03PM
Well gee, then this "3 inch deep stuff" and your serious demeanor mean only 1 thing: I will start taking the utility co. admonition "call before you dig" seriously/litteraly. Any time I get a signal that sounds 3" deep or deeper, I will call the utility co, lest I be breaking the law?

Wow, 3" deep, amazing. I suppose anyone with any amount of experience, can tell the difference between a pipe, or a continuous wire-line, that they would just pass up the signal (d/t it's not singular target-shape sounding, but instead, reads in a "line" or an overload, etc....).

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