finding underground utilities

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by vinylfloorguy, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. vinylfloorguy

    vinylfloorguy Well-Known Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    north central nebraska
    I am in the process of buying a small propertiy in north central nebraska and I am unsure how to locate all the underground wires, pipes etc. In the city it is easy, you just call up the utility company and they find it for you, but I don't think it works the same out in the country since some of it was done by the previous owner. any suggestions?
  2. Ken in Maine

    Ken in Maine Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    Saint Albans, Maine
    Dig-Safe is the way to go. I believe they are nationwide. I think the phone number is 1-800-digsafe... Try that. They have the equipment and maps to locate all utilities. I don't think they are restricted to only roadways etc. because there are many utilities that run through fields... vacant lots etc.

    Give it a try.You can also call the local utilities and they will give you a contact number.

  3. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2003
    The 1-800 numbers for digging are a must, but they only locate lines owned by the various utility companies. They do not locate "your" lines. "Your" lines are usually anything past the meter, gray box for phones and I have no idea for cable.

    If you hit a utilities lines without calling your local dig-whatever number, you are liable for the line break. It's not cheap and can be dangerous. If you hit one after a locate, they are liable.

    Finding your own lines is up to you.

  4. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2003
    SC Kansas
    There are so many things buried across my property by previous owners without any indication as to where. Many of them obviously do not run in any kind of stright line one might expect. We dug up a water line to a field faucet while digging for the footings on the addition, and it went no where near where I would have expected it to go. THere are also drip irrigationlines running all over this property, but I do not know where they all are (have dug up several) So far, I have not dug up any electrical lines, but I'm sure that there are some out there somewhere. It seems like it would be a courtesy to create a bit of a map when burying stuff so future owners could find them.
  5. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

    Oct 14, 2004
    I called for a public line locate. After they were finished locating all the public lines in the construction area I asked if they could locate my private lines (sprinkler system, electrical, telephone, and NG from house to shop). They did for a $40 fee.
  6. frugalville

    frugalville Well-Known Member

    Mar 11, 2005
    As listed above, call the 800's before you dig, for legal reasons alone. If you are looking for your lines, get a good metal detector with an 'all metal' setting. You obviously know where the line starts (box, meter, transformer) and you know where it ends. Get a detector and follow the beep.

    Of course this will only work for electrical, copper phone, or copper pipe, and cable. PVC water lines or septic will not show up.

    After everybody has flagged and painted, I find it sure doesn't hurt to make sure there is no 'beep' in the area before I grab that backhoe handle.

    Also check if you have a tool rental shop that might have one.

    Good luck.
  7. greenacresusa

    greenacresusa Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    Call an electrian, my son is a master electrian and he used a device to locate my underground lines going into my house. Not sure but another idea is to borrow a metal detector, might pickup the lines.