Q:

How can I locate underground power lines?

A:

Quick Answer

Whether you are digging in your yard for the purposes of gardening or construction, it's important to ascertain where the underground power lines are located. Many utilities have underground power lines, and they can occur at different depths under the surface. If you dig and hit a utility line, you can disrupt utility service, damage the line and be subject to fines and repair costs.

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How can I locate underground power lines?
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Full Answer

  1. Call 811

    When you call 811, your call is routed to a local call center. Make sure to call 811 several days before you start any project that requires digging. Tell the operator what type of digging you plan to do and where you plan to dig. The operator will take down the information and notify all the appropriate local utilities companies.

  2. Wait for the local utilities companies to mark their power lines

    Within a few days, representatives from local utilities companies will arrive at your home and mark the approximate location of any underground lines with paint or flags. Red markings indicate electrical lines, orange markings are for telephone and cable television lines, and yellow markings indicate the presence of natural gas lines. Water lines are also marked, with blue flags or paint for potable water, green for sewage lines and purple for reclaimed water.

  3. Use an underground cable locator

    If you don't have 811 services available in your area, try using an underground cable locator to find underground power lines. These devices transmit an electrical signal to the underground pipes or cables and also contain a receiver to pick up that signal and allow the tracing of the power lines.

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