Private Lines and Contract Locators
Operators of underground lines only locate the buried lines that they operate and/or maintain. They do not locate private underground lines which are lines installed after the operator or their contractor have installed the basic service. These lines are considered customer-owned or private lines.
Examples of private lines may include:
- Natural gas or underground piping to a garage or an out building
- Propane lines
- Lines to gas grills and pool heaters
- Private water systems
- Septic systems
- Drain lines from downspouts
- Underground sprinkler systems
- Electric lines installed after the meter
- Invisible pet fences
- Data communications lines
Water companies locate their main lines in easements and rights-of-way and lines to a water meter or curb valve, whichever is closest to the main line. However, they may not locate the water lines from a meter or curb valve to a home or building. Sewer companies locate their main lines but may not locate any portion of a lateral service to a home or building. Check with your local service companies to determine their locate requirements.
Electric companies usually locate their lines to the meter at residential properties, but not those running to swimming pool pumps and heaters, irrigation systems or other buildings on the property. Commercial property owners should check with their electric company to determine if any or all of the electric lines will be located by the utility.
Private lines will be part of almost every job. Take time to survey the work site for signs of private lines:
- Is there a propane storage tank on the property?
- Is there a detached garage or outbuilding with lighting?
- Is there a pool heater or gas grill? or
- Did you notice an underground sprinkler system?
Take a few moments to review these issues with the property owner prior to beginning your excavation, but keep in mind that previous property owners may have installed lines that the current owners don’t know about.
Do not dig until the buried lines are identified and marked. JULIE member companies DO NOT locate privately installed lines. These lines can be located by hiring a private locator.