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It's a Jungle out there. Underground Utility Detection & Inspection Services

How To Avoid Costly Damages Caused From A Utility Strike?

Damages Caused From A Utility Strike

Underground utilities, without a doubt, upgrade a city’s reliability and style, but they are not easily visible, which can lead to utility strikes when subsurface work is performed, if the correct measures aren’t taken.  Utility strikes are no joking matter as they can cause great damage and/or harm. They are a costly event as well as hazardous. We recommend contacting 811 (one call center) and a private utility locating company before performing any subsurface work to have utilities located. 

Examples of Utility Strikes

Below are some examples of different types of utility strikes and their potential outcomes. 

Hitting a power line can lead to a blackout, loss of power, severe injuries, high repair costs, etc. Many people use emergency medical equipment like dialysis machines, breathing machines, chair lifts, nebulizers, oxygen concentrators, sleep apnea machines, etc. that require electricity, and a loss of power can mean life or death. 

Hitting a telecommunications line can lead to a loss of internet, telephone, tv, and revenue, as well as a high repair cost. If a transmission data line is hit companies could lose millions of dollars in revenue or other civilians might not have access to emergency phone lines. 

Hitting a gas line can cause severe injuries, property damage, loss of life, costly repairs, etc. In some scenarios whole city blocks have been affected from the damages/casualties that have been caused from striking an unmarked gas pipe.

Hitting a water pipe can lead to flooding, property damage, injuries, loss of life, high repair costs, etc. High pressure water pipes are extremely dangerous if they are damaged. In some scenarios the pressure in the pipes have cause water to shoot up to 100+ ft into the air. 

There are many more examples of utility strikes, but these are just a few scenarios. 

Learn To Prevent Underground Utility Line Strikes

Construction workers are required to follow guidelines before they start subsurface work. One of the most important guidelines is to have public locates and private locating services performed prior to performing subsurface work. This procedure helps everybody stay protected from start to finish. 

Below are some common practices to prevent utility strikes or damages.

Call 811 & CNI Locates

Calling 811 will provide you with public utility locates 2-3 days prior to digging. This free service helps minimize damages to underground utility lines. 

We also recommend that you hire a private utility locating service by searching “private utility locators near me” or “CNI Locates”. Private locate companies mark private utilities, check for unknowns, and help verify public utility marks. 

Tolerance Zone Is To Be Determined

Try not to dig with pointed apparatuses or hardware inside the tolerance zone. Each state includes special excavation requirements inside the tolerance zone, including the facility’s width. Most regions require 2-3 feet of tolerance on utility marks or the edges of the underground facility. A few states require a bigger width. Thus, we recommend utilizing air/water excavation methods and/or hand digging.

When Necessary, Stop Excavation

If you encounter unmarked utilities or traverse areas containing utility lines during removal work, it is imperative to cease operations. Prioritize safety by promptly dialing 811, the designated number to report such instances. This ensures that the utility lines are accurately located and marked, preventing potential hazards and promoting a secure working environment. If the utilities are privately owned contact CNI Locates to identify where they are located.

Consider Other Methods If Available

If you work on private property or in a facility, you can discover lines installed by private companies that are not part of the 811 system. To that end, you need to think of and utilize other techniques, including as-built drawings, and private locating companies. You can also hire our professionals at C-N-I Locates with years of experience to locate utilities prior to excavation.

The Area Needs To Be Cleared

If you discover underground lines, don’t remain in that area. You should assess the problem. First, you need to clear the area if you hit underground utilities. Ensure to relocate all your crew individuals to a protected place. From that point, begin assessing the situation from a distance to guard everyone and everything.

Beware Of Everything

Assuming that there are fire sparks or electrical issues, you can notify them without much of a stretch. You should be mindful of the smells, too. Recall that natural gas has an unmistakable smell, so you can undoubtedly decide whether something is off base. Call 911 right away, if you smell natural gas. This issue is dangerous to the surrounding areas for you and your team. Serious problems can be caused from sparks of any sort.

Seeking Pipeline Locating Services? Contact CNI Locates!

If you need utility detection and inspection services in your area and are wondering whom you should reach, we are here to help you. Being a leading provider of relevant services, we at C-N-I Locates have the required expertise and experience in the industry. If there is anything that you want to know or ask, we are ready to answer and assist accordingly.

C-N-I Locates Ltd Washington State Field Offices and Contact Information

For any inquiries, feel free to reach out to us at (253) 826-1177, drop us an email at [email protected], or conveniently schedule a work request/estimate directly on our website. To provide a seamless experience, we require just 24 hours’ notice, Monday through Friday, to schedule an appointment for the following business day. Your convenience and prompt service are our top priorities.


Everett, Washington Field Office (425)407-9400

Renton, Washington Field Office (425)407-9399

Seattle, Washington Field Office (206)681-0034

Tacoma, Washington Field Office (253)831-6350

Portland, Oregon Field Office (971)312-6745 (for southern Washington services)