Locating Water Lines

Water lines can be made out of various types of material, not all of which are conductive. Traditional methods of utility locating are only able to pick up on conductive materials. This leaves PVC and other non-conductive materials beyond the scope of many utility locating services. Ground Penetrating Radar is capable of finding all types of material regardless of conductivity. This makes it an excellent choice for locating buried water lines.

What happens if you hit a buried water line?

Hitting a buried water line can cause a nightmare for the contractor and others. Damaged water lines and mains have the potential to cause immediate flooding, leading to hazardous ground situations in the surrounding area. Injury and damage to equipment is a high risk in this type of situation.

The amount of pressure commonly found in water lines would mean that simply patching a damaged area would be insufficient. Repairing a damaged section would typically entail replacing an entire length of pipe. These repairs are costly and time consuming- two things which could delay your project.

How can GPRS help you locate buried water lines?

GPRS is skilled at using ground penetrating radar (GPR) to locate all types of buried utilities. The GPR equipment sends a signal into the ground, bouncing off of buried material to create a reading. This reading is used to determine approximate depth and location of the utility or material in question. Ground penetrating radar is a non-destructive solution to locating buried utilities.

GPRS Project Managers undergo rigorous training and are top in the field of private utility location. However, it is not always easy to distinguish between different types of utility readings. If there are any doubts about the type of material located, the signal can be traced back to its source- in this case a potential water line could be traced back to a main valve or known section of piping. If there is still confusion about the type of utility, the elevation of the buried utility is cross-checked with any existing plans. It is our job to take the guess work out of your excavation and we do everything possible to ensure that this happens.

Can you locate buried water lines if the line is damaged or leaking?

GPR relies on certain soil conditions to produce an accurate reading- saturated soil makes it difficult for the GPR to work properly. If a water line is believed to have a leak, the GPR may be able to locate it if the flooding hasn’t spread to the entire area surrounding the length of the pipe. As a last resort we would need to shut the water supply and wait until the ground dried up sufficiently before scanning. GPR can also be used to identify certain voids or anomalies in the line which would indicate damage.

How accurate are the GPR readings?

GPRS project managers are skilled at using GPR equipment to identify the location of buried utilities. We have an accuracy within 6 inches to the center of the utility, and a depth accuracy at +/- 10-15%.

How will I know where to dig?

Our Project Managers will walk you through their findings, ensuring you have a clear understanding of the location of buried sewer lines. All findings are carefully marked out on site- we typically use spray paint and survey markers for projects which are underway. A detailed GPS map or AutoCAD drawing can be compiled in order to preserve this information for future use.