2006 Perimeter Rd.
Greenville, SC 29605
Phone (800) 435-9340
Fax (864) 235-9661
Growing communities mean growing infrastructure, and a growing infrastructure means business for underground contractors. While this is all good, it also means an expanding maze of underground utilities that need to be drilled around. Locating underground lines is becoming more challenging and requires diligence on the part of the contractor to ensure their crew is safe and the project remains profitable.
The biggest challenge is that there is so much more pipe and cable in the ground today. These lines give off more interference when trying to locate them. Since the area is more congested, extra care is needed when exposing the lines.
Being a leading manufacturer of trenchless construction equipment, and carrying a full line of vacuum excavation systems and locating equipment, McLaughlin knows using a locator followed by a vacuum excavator is the best approach to expose and visually identify lines prior to digging.
There are various types of locators on the market. Single-frequency systems have a single receiving antenna and work well where there’s not a lot of congestion. In more congested areas, multiple receiving antennas help filter out interference.
Multi-frequency systems — such as the McLaughlin Verifier G2— allow you to tune the frequency you are putting into the ground to the type of line or pipe you are trying to locate. The lower the frequency, the better it will stay on the cable you are trying to locate.
Most modern receivers today can estimate the depth of the line or pipe at the push of a button. The locator measures signal strength and uses an algorithm to convert this information into an estimated depth. However, interference can distort the depth estimate.
While locators are becoming more accurate, it’s important to see exactly where the line or pipe is located. Contractors are not allowed to dig in the safe zone, which may be from 18" to 3? from either side of the marked line. Contractors are only allowed to dig by hand or use a non-destructive method like vacuum excavators in the safe zone.
Using a vacuum excavator instead of a shovel has advantages. A shovel against a water pipe is non-destructive, but on a fiber-optic line a shovel can be as destructive as a backhoe, especially in hard ground conditions.
Vacuum excavation has rapidly gained momentum as the least intrusive and safe way for excavating in congested areas. Vermeer vacuum excavators manufactured by McLaughlin are self-contained units that use pressurized air or water to displace soil and create a dry or wet spoil. The displaced dry or wet spoil is then removed from the area through a hose using high-velocity suction and stored in a holding tank on the vacuum.
There are options in vacuum excavators and a contractor must understand soil conditions and restoration needs to determine which machine best fits the intended use. Water-based units typically dig faster; however, the displaced soil is wet and cannot be immediately returned to the ground. An air system does not cut well in hard ground conditions such as clay. McLaughlin manufactures a combo air/water vacuum specifically for contractors who need flexibility.
The full line of Vermeer vacs built by McLaughlin set the standard in the industry with exclusive three-stage cyclonic filtration, patented low-maintenance cam-over hydraulic rear door and patented in-tank washdown system.
Hitting a gas line or water line can be catastrophic, not only for the contractor but the surrounding neighborhood. Contractors using locating technology together with a vacuum excavator will help ensure that they dig in the right place every time.
CategoriesAttachments: skid steer;Augers, earth;Boring machine, rock;Boring machines, dry;Boring machines, wet;Hydro excavation;Locators, cable/pipe fault;Locators, walkover sonde/beacon systems;Moleing machines;Rock drill bits;Rock drilling systems;Sewer & catch basin cleaner;Utility locating service;Vacuum excavators/potholing;Vacuum systems: cleanout, mud removal;Water jetting equipment, high pressure;