We see what you can’t / Using GPR and EM

In a day and age where so much building is taking place and much of that infrastructure is underground it’s important to make sure that your project is cleared before you start. Before trenching or digging into the ground, it’s critical for drilling crews and other types of contractors to know what hazards may lie down below. Calling in Line Locates is the law in all states.  When crews start drilling or performing trenching or similar work without that knowledge, they could hit a water main, a gas line or an underground storage tank. This can be hazardous to the crew and damaging to the drilling equipment.

Line locates using electro-magnetics and ground penetrating radar (GPR) are two of the more common methods of figuring out what is below a work site.

If you’ve ever previously done any sort of digging or excavation, you may have called a company similar to Pacific Coast Locators. The locating technician uses a detector (transmitter and receiver) in conjunction with utility maps to figure out where the lines are, then, he uses spray paint to mark the approximate location of the lines. That tells the crew doing the digging where to use caution when digging. We can also use a trimble to collect GPS data in the event that the work is being done at a later date. That way you have a figure showing the location of the site utilities for use at a future date (in addition to the markings).

Ground penetrating radar uses electromagnetic microwave pulses to locate things within the ground. When the pulse hits a gas line, water main or underground storage tank, or an underground anomaly, it reflects back to the radar’s receiver. This gives a snapshot of what lies down below. By passing the radar across the ground several times, a full picture of what is below develops. We can actually take these GPR images and incorporate them into a findings report for our clients.

GPR can give the drilling crews a complete profile of what’s down below. This avoids problems with drilling into an underground storage tank or hitting an unknown line. While the contractor needs to hire a crew to perform the scan, it is time and money well spent to avoid a hazardous situation.

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