Private Utility Locating – Why Locating Utility Lines is Critical Before You Dig

In the realm of construction, renovation, or even simple landscaping, one often-overlooked yet critical step is private utility locating. Beneath the surface of your property lies a complex network of utility lines – water pipes, gas lines, electrical cables, and more, and failing to locate these before digging can lead to costly damages, dangerous accidents, and even disruptions to essential services.

Here’s why private utility locating is not just important but essential before any excavation project:

Avoid Costly Damages

Imagine breaking ground for a new patio or digging trenches for landscaping, only to discover, too late, that you’ve severed a water service line or damaged a private electrical cable. The financial ramifications of such mishaps can be significant. By investing in private utility locating services beforehand, you can identify the precise locations of buried customer-owned utilities and proceed with confidence, minimizing the risk of accidental damage.

Ensure Safety for Yourself and Others

Beyond the financial implications, hitting an underground utility line can pose serious safety hazards. Gas leaks from damaged fuel lines, such as a gas line from your meter to your grill or outdoor fireplace, can be hazardous, while severed electrical cables, such as those running from your house to your detached building, present a risk of electrocution. Additionally, ruptured water service lines can cause flooding, jeopardizing the safety of workers and bystanders alike. By accurately locating private utility lines before excavation begins, you mitigate these risks and create a safer environment for everyone involved.

Prevent Service Disruptions

Damaging a private utility line not only poses immediate safety risks but can also result in disruptions to essential services. A severed gas fuel line may necessitate the evacuation of nearby buildings and a damaged private fiber optic service on a hospital campus can disrupt critical communications and operations.  These disruptions not only inconvenience residents and businesses but can also incur additional costs for emergency repairs and service restoration. By identifying and avoiding private underground utilities, you help maintain the integrity of vital infrastructure and minimize service interruptions.


In summary, private utility locating is not a step to be overlooked or underestimated in any excavation project. By accurately identifying the locations of buried utilities before digging begins, you can avoid costly damages, ensure the safety of yourself and others, and prevent service disruptions.  Whether you’re planning a small landscaping project or a large-scale construction endeavor, investing in private utility locating services is a prudent and essential decision that will ultimately save you time, money, and headaches in the long run.

UPA’s Private Locating Division was created to help utilities, municipalities, contractors, and property owners identify the utilities buried underground.  UPA focuses on all utilities that are in the direct path of planned excavation and is experienced in supporting both large and small locating projects.For more information, get in touch with our Private Locating team at 

800-513-0317 or contact UPA at