What is a locate?

What is the difference between a public and a private locate?

What utility lines are typically considered private?

Why should I get a private utility locate?

What services can be be located?

How accurate is a locate?

How close can I dig to a utility line marking?

How deep is the utility line?

Q: What is a locate?

A: A "locate" refers to the detection, marking and reporting of buried utility services on a job-site or work location. Utility lines are detected using the transmission of radio-frequency signals applied to the line and perceived by a portable receiver scanning over the ground above the lines location. The detected signal is then marked on the surface of the ground using temporary marking in order to indicate the horizontal position of the line. Lastly, a report is drafted depicting the location of the line in relation to adjacent structures and features, to aid the worker to find the field markings and plan the work accordingly.

Back to the top

Q: What is the difference between a PUBLIC and a PRIVATE locate?

A: A "public" locate is a locate provided by a utility company for the services and utility lines they own and maintain, whether they are on public or private property. Utility lines are located to the "dissemination point" or "point of service" by the Utility Company, and each Utility Company may define exactly at what point their service ends and the private service owned and maintained by the property owner begins.

"Private" locates can begin at that point to detect and mark the location of services owned by the property owner. Typical dissemination points include the meter location, a service valve, a transformer, or even the property line. Contact the specific Utility Company for more information.

Back to the top

Q: What utility lines are typically considered private?

A: Utility lines typically considered private include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Water lines inside property boundaries.
  • Sanitary and Storm Sewer line inside property boundaries.
  • Gas lines beyond the gas meter, such as those feeding outbuildings, BBQ's, pools, generators, machinery, etc.
  • Power lines beyond the meter, or the site transformer or substation, such as the main service lines into a building from such a point, or sub-services to outbuildings, sub-panels, etc.
  • Electrical lines for signage, parking lot lighting, walkway lighting, gates, pumps islands, machinery, block-heater plugs, etc.
  • Telecommunication lines (phone, cable, internet, network) beyond the telecom room or dissemination point, such as internal property networks, closed-circuit TV cameras, alarm systems, communication and phone systems, etc.
  • Irrigation lines, though many are plastic only, and not locatable. Wiring to valves and solenoids can be located.
  • Air lines and hydraulic lines for equipment