Do We Really Need To Mark Private Utilities?

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Leaving Private Utilities Unmarked: Could It Really Be That Bad?

Oftentimes, public and private utilities exist in proximity to one another. For instance, large corporate campuses, universities, residential areas, and retail establishments have a combined underground infrastructure of public and private utilities. A common reference when determining if a utility is public or private is your property meter. Commonly, everything up to the meter is public. And, all utilities extending past your property meter tend to fall on the private side of the utility locating.


Why does it matter?  By law a property owner or contractor must call Miss Utility (811) prior to digging. This way, public utility companies have the opportunity to designate any public utilities in the area. It should be noted these companies will only mark the utilities they own. This leaves many important facilities unmarked. Trinity Subsurface has a team of technicians with geophysical equipment ready to mark what is unmapped!


Some examples of privately owned utilities include the following:

  1. Waterlines (both fire and domestic) entering a private property from the public right-of-way.
  2. Secondary gas mains from a meter to a building (common in apartment complexes). In the case of residential properties, secondary gas lines to pool heaters or outbuildings (garages or guest houses).
  3. Steam, hot water lines from boiler rooms are private.
  4. Secondary electric lines to site lighting, sheds, pumps, lift stations, etc.
  5. High voltage to/from switchgear and transformers. 
  6. Communications lines on corporate campuses and university campuses as well as some residential communities.
  7. Irrigation lines and short circuit camera lines.
  8. Sewer lines on private property to the public main.
  9. Storm sewers on private property.
  10. Storage tanks, septic fields, water wells, and geothermal lines.


There are quite a few potential conflicts that would not be marked out by the public locator or 811. This is why a quality private locator like Trinity Subsurface can play a huge role in the success and safety of any project. Just because you follow the law and call 811 before you dig does not mean you know where everything is. We are #1 in damage prevention. Locate lines before you break ground.


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