View Full Version : OT: Call before you dig

01-23-2009, 07:49 PM
sorry, should have researched first.

01-23-2009, 09:08 PM
Well i did then i dug within 10 seconds after extremely close scrutiny we were sober we cut through the gas line within 10 seconds with our kawasaki trencher we rented NOW the line was 10 inches below grade BUT they told me i had to dig 4 feet down to my garage>? Holy Cow Later

01-23-2009, 09:35 PM
Have no idea what the original question was, but Call, yes, trust them No.

2 weeks ago the electrician was trenching across our parking lot(dirt) to bring 3 phase into the building. The town had been out to mark everything out, there shouldn't have been anything within nearly 100ft.

Sure enough, gas line, about 30" down. Ended up with a nice huge hole in our parking lot when they fixed it, nobody knew it was there, it went to the neighbors and cut about 150 ft diagonally across our property.

I will say, they were there fast, I'd say there were 3 trucks there within 2 minutes, with the cops close behind. They had it capped about 3 minutes after that, and then maybe another 1.5 hrs to get a back hoe, completely dig it out and fix it properly. For the inconvenience and delay, they used the back hoe to knock out the sidewalk for the electrician, and he didn't end up far behind.

John Stevenson
01-24-2009, 08:05 AM
sorry, should have researched first.

So what was the story ?


01-24-2009, 08:33 AM
An internet fairy tale I presume.

01-24-2009, 08:34 AM
Bobw53 is on it. Yea, that Call Before You Dig (CBYD) makes it sound as though your clear to dig because they have marked the lines for you. All you have to do is stay away from the markers yes? No.

Always call them. It does go a long way to protecting you and your wallet. Hitting things underground can suck at best and kill you (and others) at worse. Here is what a buddy told me before my big shop project. Always take a photo of the area with any type of reference marker in the shot. Trees, big rocks & buildings all work well as reference.

1) Many times they mark it wrong. Not on purpose but just wrong. They missed my phone line 3 times. I found it when I had the footer dug. The down side to this was that even though they marked it, they deemed it abandoned because I didn't have current phone service. We are all cell phones at the house. So they would not call in a repair for free and told me that it would be $$$ because they would have to run a new one. After 2 months of discussion ab out them fixing it, I gave up.

2) As time goes by CBYD will claim that the paint has washed or been mowed off the grass and that they cant be held liable for a fix because they marked everything. My shop? They forgot to mark the gas MAIN that ran behind my property because they said that my house gets the gas from the main out front. Found the rear main was on my side of the street in the back when we put the culvert pipe in for the shop drive. Thank God that around here the gas company marks the mains and other runs with caution tape 1'-2' above the pipe. But thats a new thing. Old lines are not marked.

3) Some lines are not on any print. CBYD - "It was not on any of our prints and our tracker could not pick it up after it left the residence underground." This is a classic. Even though my residence gas line ran to the front of the house, they lost it going out to the street. So they just marked it straight out from where they found it last. WRONG. For some reason the fellow that built the house ran the gas line a little funny. So the guy that dug my septic tank up found it. I had told him that they had trouble tracking the gas line and he was glad that I mentioned it. He took a long metal "T" shaped rod and probed the ground around where they lost the pipe. He found that it turned 90 ran along the front of the house then 90 again back to the street. I was impressed, it was simple and quick. But I don't think I would try that in the middle of a drought.

Turns out that back in the 60's the builder did this to save a tree that is no longer on the property. The neighbor let me in on that little tidbit.

Oh, and they really enjoy beating you up on the paint marks in the grass being mowed off. Thats the first thing they told me every time I called them and complained. When I reminded them that I took photos they gave up on that and would be a bit more helpful.


John Stevenson
01-24-2009, 08:42 AM
An internet fairy tale I presume.

Still looked impressive :rolleyes:


01-24-2009, 09:40 AM
There was a CBYD event in San Francisco years ago that by some miracle did not result in the total destruction of the entire downtown core. A major gas main was broken wide open in the middle of the street in the financial district. This was one of the biggest ones and at high pressure. Within minutes an area of several city blocks was filled with gas that was initially too cold and dense to rise because of the drop in temperature as it escaped. It was visible as a mist near the ground on the TV footage. Amazingly, nobody suffocated and nothing lit it off.

01-24-2009, 10:16 AM
Dad was working for a plumbing/heating contractor back in the 70's. He was getting ready to bury water and sewer lines from the main to the latest building project. There were three utilities in the area to deal with - electricity, gas, telephone. Phoned all three - they consulted their maps - nothing in the area. OK, hire up that backhoe...

First hole, 4 feet down. They pulled up a 100-pair telephone cable. :( Shut-er-down. Called the telephone company again. Anything in the area??? Nope. Well, you'd better get out here then. We just dug up a big line.

Move the hoe over 20 feet and try again. This time they scraped the protective jacket off of a 6 inch gas line. :mad: Shut-er-down. Called the gas company. Anything in the area?? Nope. Well you'd better get out here then.....

Hmmm....maybe we'd better phone the power co. again. Anything in the area??? Nope. Well let me tell you about my morning so far.... Didn't even get 10 feet out of the work trailer and 4 power co trucks rolled up. See here's the plans - nothing in the area.

Meanwhile one power co guy is looking around... what's with that line that runs down that power pole 150 yards away? They get their equipment out and start tracing it. Runs right through the middle of the digging site to that subdivision over there!! :eek:

Screw it - let's go to the bar for the afternoon.

They quit digging until ALL utilities sent somebody out and canvassed the entire site with their scanners.


01-24-2009, 10:49 AM
As Andrew points out, there maps aren't worth the paper they are printed on. I had the gas map for out house and it showed our house on the next quarter section.

My SIL is in the cable marking business. Here in Alberta, if you hit a line you are liable for the FULL repair cost unless it is marked, Some of the communication lines are $9,000.00 per HOUR :eek: plus repair costs and they have been hit.

Digging without calling is like saying "trust me I know what I'm doing". :eek:

01-24-2009, 04:33 PM
My SIL is in the cable marking business. Here in Alberta, if you hit a line you are liable for the FULL repair cost unless it is marked

One of the worst things to dig up is those fiber-optic lines. You just hand 'em the keys to your equipment, then go home and get the titles & deeds to everything you own.

Some of the gas lines to a residence aren't too bad, they're plastic, and only about 5/8" diameter. Bend 'em over and clamp with Vise Grips or tie with a wire, to stop the gas loss. That's because in addition to the repair cost, they charge for estimated gas lost.