How Does Private Utility Locating Work?

Most people don’t understand anything about private utility locating. It is usually misunderstood and cast aside, even though there are more private underground utilities than there are public. So, before you get a private gas line installation in Colorado Springs, you will need to call up a special utility location company.

Locating private utilities can be quite challenging because it requires different technologies and skills beyond those used for public locating. How can you differentiate between public and private utility detection services?

Difference Between Public and Private Utility Locating

Before you call a professional public Denver utility locating service, you should know that they already know what they are getting into. They know the utilities that are out there to mark and so they mark utilities that are in well-known locations.

On the other hand, a private utility locating company rarely has maps for residential locations. They are usually done in blind sweeps for pipes and wires in addition to finding a utility and detecting the signal around it.

Major Tools Used in Private Utility Locating

The main method used in detecting private utilities is an applied radio wave, also known as radio detection (RD). It is capable of locating every wire, cable, or pipe that can transmit electricity.

Another technology, known as the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), is used to detect non-metallic things like plastic pipes, and brick, or concrete cesspools, due to their differences in ground layers.

Acoustic Pipe Locator (APL) is used to detect the location of water pipes of any construction by producing noise with the pipe and using a special microphone to localize the noise. It can easily locate a leak in a water pipe.

How does Private Utility Locating Work?

With RD, a transmitter is connected to the target utility and a receiver locates the amount of signal coming from it. The signal radiates from that utility at a common frequency set. 

During a GPR, a radar wave is placed underground and the reflection is displayed. It produces a 2-D image of the changes in the density of things underground. Different wavelengths of radar waves can either give less detail or penetrate more deeply.

Using APL, one tool is attached to the water line, producing a noise that travels along the pipe. A special microphone is used to filter the noise to find the peak of that sound. By pinpointing the highest sound reading, one can easily locate a water pipe.


If you are planning to get a private water, electricity, or gas line installation in Colorado Spring, calling a private utility locating company should be your first step. It will not only ensure the safety of the working crew but also the residents of that area.

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