Effective Methods to Protect Underground Utilities

Utility lines for phone, cable, electricity, and other services have been buried more frequently in recent years. While underground utilities have improved the city’s aesthetics and storm protection, they have also caused several challenges for utilities and those involved in excavation or underground operations. Hitting or injuring subsurface utilities can result in millions of pounds in losses, damages, service interruptions, and even fatal injuries. Cities are becoming more reliant on larger and more complicated utility networks as technology advances and development accelerates. Regular maintenance and repair are required to keep important utilities operational, which necessitates excavation to reach subsurface facilities. As we all know, pinpointing the exact position of subterranean utilities is critical before beginning any excavation, necessitating the use of certain preventive measures.

Underground warning mesh

Underground warning signals, especially the underground warning mesh is necessary to protect the underground pipes that convey electricity, water, sewerage, gas, oil, and communication lines. The mesh comes in a variety of widths and lengths. It may be tailored to fit any size pipeline and can be customised to meet specific needs. 

There are also several colours to choose from, depending on the sort of underground pipes to be covered. They come across in various colours and each colour denotes the type of utility that is underlying. The colour red denotes a high-voltage electrical cable, service and mains gas cable is yellow, water pipes are blue and BT or telecommunication cables are grey.

Safe work procedures

Every year, a number of utility strikes occur, resulting in explosions and electrocution, putting workers in danger and causing fatal casualties. Such impacts are not only dangerous but also costly. A significant sum of money has been set aside to assess and repair the damage. Furthermore, these casualties might disrupt essential utilities such as water, gas, and electricity, negatively affecting people’s everyday life. These mistaken strikes can be avoided by closely adhering to safe work standards and finding subterranean utilities with the most up-to-date equipment and technology.

Preparation

There should be a heavy focus on better planning ahead of time before beginning work on the job site to avoid utility strikes. It contains the most accurate underground utility locating and excavation area mapping. Aside from that, the cable locator or utility location services provider must undertake a desktop survey to collect and analyse existing records provided by utility owners or operators. It is important to remember that records should not be used as the sole source of information. It is always a good idea to double-check the records by doing a geophysical site survey.

Site evaluation

After you’ve acquired all of your data, hire an underground utility locating firm to conduct a thorough physical site check. This will aid in evaluating the underground utilities location records and determining whether there are any discrepancies or anomalies in the readings.

Be cautious not to strike utilities

Conduct a geophysical survey to detect, identify, and confirm the presence of underground utilities. The Electro-Magnetic Locator (EML) is one of the most often utilised utility locating techniques. Use passive locating, in which magnetic fields are utilised to trace the location of subterranean services using an advanced cable locator technique.

Another major locating approach is the active location, which involves physically attaching a transmitter to the utility line, which produces an EM field on the outer field that can be located with a cable locator. It is one of the most effective methods for locating most subsurface utilities, with a 45 percent reduction in the likelihood of a strike.

Verify the Location of Underground Utilities

There is a good chance that subsurface utilities will pass through the excavation site. In such circumstances, trail holes might be dug to expose and mark the subterranean services carefully. Cable locators are most typically used to record and log underground utility locating operations. Furthermore, use a GPR since it is one of the most efficient and easy-to-detect on-site devices for evaluating data quality in real-time. This reduces the likelihood of utility damage.

Train your team

Due to a lack of sufficient training, the chance of striking underground utility excavation will grow. Inadequate training acquired by the operators is one of the most common causes of strike. It’s critical to provide sufficient prerequisite training to your personnel in order to obtain a complete understanding of what’s beneath the surface.

Conclusion

Utility Pipelines on which our lives rely must, of course, be secured and preserved as we must face the consequences if accidents occur. One of the best precautionary methods to give a warning signal while excavation is the underground warning mesh which is an excellent approach to protect these pipelines from damage. With all of the mesh’s long-lasting features and robustness, it is unquestionably necessary to notify the appropriate authorities and secure the pipelines from damage from outside sources.

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