In our most recent blog, we talked about 5 Important Things to Remember When Installing Underground Utilities. Today, we’re going to give you five more tips to help you install underground utilities safely and effectively.

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Always Locate Utilities

Just because a site doesn’t have location marks for utilities doesn’t mean that there are no utilities that already exist. Most states have a positive response system to help verify that utilities have cleared the area. Privately installed underground utilities may not be recorded by the utility company or located by a location service either.

Before starting to drill, inspect the site for evidence of underground activity. This could be in the form of disturbed or repaired soil or pavement, utility boxes close by, or conduit coming out of the ground. Using a locator will also help detect pre-existing utilities so you don’t strike anything.

811 Is Not Liable For Locating Utilities

Verifying the location of any and all underground utilities before drilling is your responsibility. 811 coordinates with the utilities and their contracted locating services to have the utility area located, but it is the responsibility of the excavator to verify that locates are complete and correct.

Verifying locates includes contacting utilities that don’t use 811, as well as examining the area for signs of utilities. Check for outbuildings, pipeline markers, light poles, utility boxes, meters, and more. Be sure to expose to utilities to verify they’ve been located correctly. It is your liability if you damage any utility lines, which will cost you money and your reputation.

Include Potholing as Part of the Drilling Quote

Potholing is when you expose utilities, which is an integral part of installing new underground utilities. It shouldn’t be assumed that this price is included in the quote for drilling, so separate it out from the drilling when you give the project owner an estimate. Emphasize the importance of performing and charging for this part of the job.

Accept Jobs with the Best Information

When you receive a call for a job, you shouldn’t automatically take it. It’s important that when a contractor calls that they give as detailed and explicit information as possible. This ensures that safe and accurates locates can be made for utilities.

Pay Attention to Strike Systems

Strike systems can activate when they’re close to an energized line, but that doesn’t mean that they can detect electric strikes in advance. Some strike systems use a voltage limiter to detect a voltage difference between the ground stake and the drilling machine. Other systems use a current coil to detect current flow through the drill string. It will activate when current or voltage goes above the threshold limit. If the alarm sounds for either a voltage limiter or current flow, assume that a strike has occurred.


There are many things to consider when performing underground utility installations. From proper practices and safety protocols to making sure your quote is outlined well, a lot can happen on the job site that affects how well a job goes. Keep all of these in mind and make sure all of the equipment you’re using is accurate and reliable. At Bore Path Services, we rent and sell underground utility equipment like the north seeking gyro to give you an accurate survey while you’re drilling for utilities. Contact us today for more information about our devices and software available.