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Common Types of Utility Locating

Common Types of Utility Locating
Here are four of the most common types of underground utility locating.

Before construction can be done on your property, the area has to be surveyed to be sure it’s safe to start digging. There are many methods companies use to locate underground utilities. Today, we’ll be going over four of these methods for you. Here are four of the most common types of underground utility locating.

Electromagnetic Utility Locating

Electromagnetic utility locating is the most common way workers find private utilities. Using this procedure, an electromagnetic radio frequency is applied to the surface of the ground. Any utilities that have conductive materials can be found using a receiver.

This is a highly accurate utility locating method, capable of finding propane, water, cable, telephone, storm, irrigation, and sewer lines. 

The shortcoming of using this method is the inability to find unmarked plastic, concrete, and asbestos. It also has difficulty with terra-cotta and non-ductile piping. It also struggles at depths deeper than 10 feet.

Ground-Penetrating Radar

Ground-penetrating radar, known as GPR, is used to locate utilities beneath the surface with the help of high-frequency pulses. Radio waves are sent underground, and they deflect back to the surface once objects are detected. Usually, GPR is used to find tanks, manholes, buried pipes, and cables, among other buried objects. Only highly-trained professionals know how to use ground-penetrating radar, so you’ll need to contact a professional if you want it used on your property.


Dowsing isn’t the most recognizable method of utility locating around, but there are still people who use it today. With dowsing rods, it can be determined if someone is above an active pipeline. It won’t tell you how deep the pipeline is, but it’s still a reliable method for finding them.

Hydro or Vacuum Excavation (Potholing)

Vacuum excavation is a quick, non-destructive method for finding underground utilities. Using this method of utility locating, soil is broken up by using high-pressure air. The soil then gets sucked into a tank

Hydro excavation is a little different. It is used in a variety of soil conditions by using pressurized water to break up the soil. Then, just like with vacuum excavation, the soil is sucked into a tank. This method is known by some as potholing.

Concrete Visions Will Get The Job Done Right

Concrete Visions has been working with clients for over 25 years. Our G&M Services installers are certified with the industry’s major firestop product manufacturers. As part of our firestop service, we can assess abnormal field conditions and, with the manufacturer’s technical support assistance, provide engineering judgments in a timely fashion to comply with contract specifications. Our Field Mechanics undergo ongoing training, including mandatory monthly safety meetings, weekly Toolbox Talks where safety and equipment information is shred, and trainings on safe work standards and safety best practices.

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 2nd, 2020 at 12:05 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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