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

Washington State and Oregon’s Leader in Sewer & Drainage Locates and Inspection Services

Washington State and Oregon’s Leader in Sewer & Drainage Locates and Inspection Services


Sewer and drain camera inspections may seem daunting, but they are actually quick, affordable, and noninvasive methods to identify major plumbing issues. Therefore, you can contact underground utility locating professionals like C-N-I Locates LTD to provide reliable results within 24 hours’ notice, Monday through Friday. CNI Locates has field offices in Tacoma, WA, Seattle, WA, Renton, WA, and Everett, WA, that serve all of Washington State. We also provide services for all of Oregon State from our Portland, OR, and Eugene, OR field offices (our Portland, Oregon location also services the southern portion of Washington State).

At C-N-I Locates LTD, we use state-of-the-art equipment to quickly locate sewer clogs, drain leaks, and other sewer and drain system problems, saving you both time and money. We know the importance of maintaining a healthy and efficient sewer and drainage system. Our specialized services offer comprehensive detection and inspection solutions to identify potential issues, prevent costly damages, and ensure optimal functionality. By detecting and addressing these issues promptly, we help you save time, money, and unnecessary disruptions. Trust C-N-I Locates LTD for reliable and efficient sewer and drain locate services.

We offer advanced crawler CCTV sewer inspection camera systems for drain and sewer pipes over 4 inches in diameter and up to 1000’ in length. Using cutting-edge sewer line camera inspection services, our team can assess buried drainage and sewer lines, checking depth, evaluating condition, and identifying access points for your team. Our technicians are able to locate and inspect all different types of sewer and drainage systems. CNI Locates has over 20+ years of experience committed to providing the highest quality utility detection and inspection services possible.

Examples Of Different Types of Sewers and Drainage Systems


Below are some examples of different types of sewers and drainage systems that we locate regularly:

Footing Drains

C-N-I Locates LTD is Oregon and Washington States leader in providing professional footing drain locates and inspection services. Footing drains play a crucial role in managing groundwater around foundations, preventing potential damage and water infiltration. Our highly trained technicians utilize advanced equipment and techniques to accurately locate footing drains and assess their condition. Footing drain locates and inspection services can help identify blockages, leaks, or other issues that may compromise the functionality of these drainage systems. Our technicians perform sewer and drain camera inspections which offer timely solutions, helping homeowners and property owners ensure the effective functioning of their footing drains, providing peace of mind and protecting their investments.

Downspout/Gutter Drains 

CNI Locates is a trusted provider for performing downspout/gutter drain locates and inspection services. Our team of experts specializes in assessing and locating issues within downspout and gutter drain systems. These drains are essential for effectively channeling rainwater away from your property, preventing water damage and foundation issues. Using advanced techniques and state-of-the-art equipment, we meticulously perform downspout/gutter drain locates and inspections to identify any blockages, leaks, or other problems that may impede their functionality. Our thorough inspections allow us to provide accurate assessments and recommend appropriate solutions to ensure the optimal performance of your drainage system. With CNI Locates, you can rely on our expertise and dedication to keeping your property safe and protected from drainage related issues.

French Drains 

CNI Locates performs French drain locates and inspection services. French drains are essential components in managing excess water and preventing water accumulation around your property. Our certified professionals have extensive experience in detecting and inspecting French drains, utilizing cutting-edge equipment and techniques to assess their condition. We carefully examine the drain system to identify any blockages, damages, or other issues that may hinder its functionality. By conducting thorough inspections, we can provide accurate assessments and offer appropriate solutions to optimize the performance of your French drains. 

Grading Drainage Systems 

CNI Locates offers professional grading drainage system locates and inspections. Grading drains play a critical role in ensuring proper water flow and drainage on your property. Our expert team is equipped with the necessary expertise and advanced tools to thoroughly inspect and locate grading drainage systems. We assess the slope, elevation, and overall condition of the grading to identify any areas that may hinder efficient water runoff. By detecting potential issues such as low spots, improper slopes, or inadequate drainage channels, we can recommend appropriate solutions to improve the functionality of your grading drainage system.

Surface Drainage Systems 

Surface drainage plays a crucial role in managing rainwater and preventing pooling or flooding on your property. CNI Locates specializes in providing expert locating and inspection services for surface drainage systems. Our highly skilled team utilizes advanced equipment and techniques to accurately perform surface drainage system locates and inspect their condition. We use video pipe inspections to inspect drains, catch basins, and other components to identify any blockages, damages, or inefficiencies that may hinder their performance. By conducting thorough inspections, we can provide accurate assessments and recommend appropriate solutions to optimize the functionality of your surface drainage system. Whether it’s detecting clogs, assessing the slope, or identifying the need for repairs or improvements, you can trust CNI Locates to deliver reliable and efficient surface drainage locating and inspection services.

Subsurface Drainage Systems

Our certified technicians have the ability to locate subsurface drainage systems and inspect them. Utilizing the advanced technology of traceable rods, sondes, push video cameras, crawler cameras, ground-penetrating radar, electromagnetic transmitters and receivers, and other cutting-edge methods, CNI Locates can accurately locate and inspect the subsurface network of drainage pipes, channels, and structures. This comprehensive approach ensures the identification of potential issues such as blockages, leaks, or structural damage, enabling timely maintenance and repairs. With our subsurface drainage system locates and inspection services, CNI Locates provides valuable information to optimize the performance and efficiency of subsurface drainage systems. 

Slope Drainage Systems 

CNI Locates performs slope drainage system locates and inspection services. Video pipe inspections involve the utilization of a video push camera equipped with an electromagnetic radio frequency sonde to locate, inspect, and record video footage of utility, drainage, or sewer pipes. This method is specifically employed for pipes ranging from 1.5 inches to 12 inches in diameter and up to a length of 400 feet. By introducing the push video camera into the pipe, a thorough visual assessment can be conducted, allowing for accurate identification of any issues or damages present within the pipe system. The recorded video footage serves as a valuable tool for further analysis and enables efficient maintenance and repair decisions to be made.

Sanitary Sewers

CNI Locates specializes in providing professional sanitary sewer locates and inspection services. With the use of sewer crawler cameras and sewer line camera inspection equipment, our certified experts navigate the sewer lines and capture high-quality footage of the interior condition of the pipes. This thorough examination allows us to identify issues such as cracks, blockages, root intrusions, or other defects that may impede the proper functioning of the system. CNI Locates’ skilled technicians analyze the recorded video to generate detailed reports and provide recommendations for maintenance and repairs. By offering reliable sanitary sewer locating and inspection services, CNI Locates helps ensure the integrity and optimal performance of these crucial infrastructure systems. 

Storm Sewers 

CNI Locates specializes in conducting storm sewer locates and inspection services. With our specialized expertise and advanced technology, CNI Locates effectively locates storm sewer systems and inspects them with push video cameras or sewer crawler cameras. These comprehensive inspection cameras enable us to identify storm sewer issues like blockages, erosion, or structural damage that may affect the proper functioning of the system.

Combined Sewers 

Combined sewers play a vital role in collecting and transporting sewage and urban runoff to a disposal site or sewer treatment plant. With our expertise and advanced technology, CNI Locates can efficiently perform combined sewer locates. Utilizing state-of-the-art equipment such as video pipe inspection tools, we navigate through the combined sewer lines to capture high-definition footage of the interior condition. This detailed camera sewer inspection allows us to identify issues such as blockages, structural damage, or excessive sediment accumulation that may impact the functionality of the system.

Septic Systems

CNI Locates performs septic system locates and inspection services to ensure their proper functioning. Utilizing equipment such as traceable rods, sondes, video pipe inspection cameras, ground-penetrating radar, and electromagnetic transmitters and receivers, we accurately locate septic systems and their underground components, including the tank, distribution box, drain field, and distribution lines. This comprehensive approach enables us to identify potential issues such as leaks, blockages, or inadequate drainage capacity. CNI Locates’ professionals perform visual inspections and use specialized tools to assess the condition of the septic system. We provide detailed reports with recommendations for maintenance and repairs.

Drain Fields 

CNI Locates uses state of the art equipment like traceable rods, sondes, push video cameras, and GPR to inspect and locate drain fields, including the distribution lines and absorption area. Drain field locates and inspection services allow our technicians to identify potential issues such as clogs, saturation, or uneven distribution of wastewater. CNI Locates’ technicians can visually inspect drain fields with push video cameras to evaluate the systems condition. By offering reliable video camera pipe inspection and locating services, CNI Locates helps property owners ensure the proper functioning of their drain fields, promoting effective wastewater disposal and preventing potential environmental contamination. 

Wastewater Pipes 

CNI Locates specializes in wastewater pipe locates and inspection services. When our expert technicians inspect and locate wastewater pipes, we efficiently identify and map out underground sewer lines, drainage systems, and other wastewater infrastructure. Our team of trained certified professionals utilizes state-of-the-art equipment to conduct accurate assessments, allowing us to detect any issues such as leaks, blockages, or structural damage. By providing precise location information, we assist municipalities, utility companies, property owners, and construction firms in maintaining and repairing wastewater networks effectively. Trust CNI Locates for reliable and comprehensive solutions in wastewater pipes inspection and locating.

Force Sewers 

Force sewers are pipelines that transfer wastewater and sewage under pressure from the pneumatic ejector to a discharge point or discharge side of the pump in areas where pipes encounter a barrier or are too low to rely on gravity. These pumps or compressors are usually located at a lift station. In order to insert a force sewer with a traceable rod or video inspect them, the system needs to be depressurized. CNI Locates can also locate force sewers using ground penetrating radar if depressurizing the system is not a viable option. Contact our experts to go over any questions you may have about force sewer locates or inspections.

How Does CNI Locates Detect Sewer and Drainage Underground?

CNI Locates employs various methods to detect sewer and drainage systems underground. These techniques include:

Traceable Rod with Sonde (Non-Metallic Pipe Detection): CNI Locates uses a traceable rod equipped with a sonde to locate non conductible pipes and provide estimated depth assessments. The traceable rod has a wire inside of it that we can send an electromagnetic (EM) radio frequency (RF) through with a transmitter and the sonde emits an electromagnetic radio frequency signal. These devices can be inserted into a pipe and traced using an EM RF receiver.

Push Video Camera and Sewer Crawler Camera (Video Camera Pipe Inspection): CNI Locates utilizes push video cameras and sewer crawler cameras to inspect and locate pipes. These cameras are inserted into the pipe, allowing operators to visually assess the condition and identify any blockages or damages. Push video cameras are used for smaller pipes 2 inches to 12 inches up to 400 feet, while sewer crawler cameras are designed for pipes larger than 4 inches up to 1000 feet and can navigate through them to provide detailed video inspections. 

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR): CNI Locates employs ground penetrating radar, a non-destructive technique that uses electromagnetic pulses to create subsurface images. By sending and receiving signals, GPR can detect changes in material dielectrics to help locate buried pipes and drainage systems accurately. This method is particularly useful for identifying the presence of utilities and providing accurate depth assessments.

Electromagnetic Transmitters/Receivers (Metallic Line Detection): CNI Locates utilizes electromagnetic (EM) radio frequency (RF) transmitters and receivers to locate utilities and provide estimated depths. An EM RF transmitter sends a signal through a conductible pipe/wire that can be detected using an EM RF receiver.

CNI Locates also has the ability to provide utility mapping on any outdoor projects (if requested). By combining the methods mentioned above, CNI Locates can efficiently locate and inspect sewer and drainage systems underground, ensuring accurate markings and identification of potential issues.

Why Is It Important to Locate Sewer and Drainage Before Performing Subsurface Work?

It is crucial to locate sewer and drainage systems before performing subsurface work for several reasons: 

Avoiding Damage: Subsurface work, such as excavation or drilling, can pose a risk of damaging sewer and drainage systems. Locating these systems beforehand helps prevent accidental hits, which can lead to costly repairs, service disruptions, and potential environmental hazards.

Worker Safety: Knowing the precise location of sewer and drainage systems is essential for the safety of workers. Accidental encounters with underground utilities can result in injuries or even fatalities. By locating these systems in advance, appropriate safety measures can be implemented, ensuring a secure working environment.

Planning and Design: Locating sewer and drainage systems allows for better planning and design of subsurface work. By understanding the layout and depth of these systems, engineers and construction professionals can make informed decisions regarding the placement and execution of their projects. This helps avoid conflicts with existing infrastructure, reduces the need for revisions, and promotes efficient project management.

Compliance with Regulations: Many jurisdictions have regulations and guidelines in place that mandate the proper identification and protection of underground utilities, including sewer and drainage systems. Locating these systems ensures compliance with these regulations, avoiding potential legal issues, fines, or penalties.

Minimizing Service Disruptions: Sewer and drainage systems play a critical role in maintaining the functionality of a community’s infrastructure. Accidental damage to these systems can lead to service disruptions, affecting businesses, residents, and the overall functionality of the area. By locating these systems, potential disruptions can be mitigated, minimizing inconveniences, and maintaining the smooth operation of essential utilities.

What Can Happen If a Sewer or Drain Line Is Damaged While Performing Subsurface Work?

If a sewer or drain line is damaged during subsurface work, several consequences can arise:

Service Disruptions: A damaged sewer or drain line can lead to service disruptions, causing inconvenience to residents, businesses, and public facilities. Sewage backups, drainage issues, and water contamination may occur, impacting the functionality of the plumbing system and potentially rendering it unusable until repairs are made.

Blocked Pipe: A damaged sewer line can become blocked by debris, soil, or tree roots. This occurs when the pipe has cracks or openings that allow external materials to enter. These materials then accumulate and form a persistent clog, hindering the sewage flow and leading to overflow.

Slow Drains: Be attentive to slow drains while performing tasks like dishwashing, showering, or handwashing. Hair often causes clogs in shower drains, resulting in reduced water flow. However, if you notice slow drains throughout your home, it’s probable that there’s a clog in the main line. Consider inspecting the main line if slow drains are a recurring issue in your household.

Multiple Clogs: Simultaneous multiple clogs typically indicate a problem with the main sewer line. When the sewer line is compromised, it affects the functionality of the entire drainage system in the house. If only one fixture is clogged, the issue is likely confined to that particular drain. However, if multiple drains are blocked concurrently, the problem is likely rooted deeper in the sewer line. Ignoring a clog in the sewer line can lead to increased pressure, eventually causing cracks and leaks that necessitate expensive repairs.

Why Is It Important to Video Inspect Sewer and Drainage Systems?

Video inspecting sewer and drainage systems is important for several reasons:

Condition Assessment: Video inspections provide a visual assessment of the condition of sewer and drainage systems. By using specialized cameras that can navigate through the pipes, operators can identify cracks, leaks, blockages, corrosion, or other issues that may affect the system’s performance. This information helps prioritize maintenance and repair efforts and allows for proactive management of the infrastructure.

Preventive Maintenance: Regular video inspections can help detect potential problems before they escalate into major issues. By identifying early signs of deterioration or blockages, maintenance can be scheduled to prevent costly repairs, system failures, or service disruptions. Proactively addressing these issues can extend the lifespan of the sewer and drainage systems and reduce overall maintenance costs.

Efficient Troubleshooting: Video inspections provide an efficient means of troubleshooting sewer and drainage problems. Operators can visually identify the cause of blockages, such as tree root intrusion, debris buildup, or collapsed pipes. This enables targeted and effective solutions, minimizing the need for unnecessary excavation or intrusive repairs.

Accurate Mapping and Documentation: Video inspections create a detailed visual record of the sewer and drainage systems. This information helps to accurately map the infrastructure, including pipe layouts, connections, and access points. Accurate documentation of the system’s condition can facilitate future maintenance, repairs, and infrastructure planning, ensuring better asset management.

Compliance and Reporting: Many public organizations, government agencies, and insurance companies require video inspections of sewer and drainage systems. By conducting these inspections and maintaining records, compliance with regulations can be demonstrated, avoiding potential legal issues or penalties. Additionally, video documentation can support insurance claims in case of damages or incidents.

Public and Environmental Health: Video inspections contribute to public and environmental health by ensuring the proper functioning of sewer and drainage systems. Identifying issues like leaks, cross-connections, or illegal connections helps prevent the contamination of water sources, the spread of diseases, and the degradation of the environment. It supports the overall sanitation and well-being of communities.

Inspecting and locating sewer and drainage systems before subsurface work is performed is essential to prevent damage, ensure worker safety, facilitate proper planning and design, comply with regulations, and minimize service disruptions. It is a responsible and necessary step to protect both the infrastructure and the well-being of individuals and communities.

C-N-I Locates LTD Washington State & Oregon Field Offices and Contact Information

For general inquiries, please contact (877)826-1177, email [email protected], or schedule a work request/estimate through our website. All we need is 24 hours’ notice, Monday through Friday, to schedule an appointment for the next business day.