Episode 13: Locating – Trust But Verify

Locators are tasked with discovering problems, BEFORE they become much bigger problems during excavation. Join us as we discover, just “Who is the American Locator?” Trust in good locator training programs, but verify with strong audit programs.

Part 1: Teach Your Locators Well
John Gialds talks about how he learned just what locating is when first entering the field. Mike Parilac then gives an overview of some of the technical aspects of good locating results, understanding how a utility system works and the good observational skills needed to perform accurate locates. Some topics covered include methods of connection (inductive coupler vs. direct connection). In some cases, CGA Best Practices are not adequate guidelines to follow regarding the most accurate utility line location method.

Part 2: Human Audits
We take a trip to a suburban Illinois neighborhood, joining URG locator Adam Daugherty on a demonstation audit done for the local utility, Ameren. Adam showed us a typical audit he would perform in that area, using a live hook-up to a residential gas meter to double check that 811 marks were in the allowable tolerance that Illinois law permits for an Ameren gas line. Ameren and URG personnel offer commentary on some important benefits of the audit program for better damage prevention.

Part 3: Lift and Separate
Mike Parilac talks about depth measurement as a great tool to ensure accurate locating using specific testing methods.

Part 4: With this Ring
Sometimes an inductive coupler works much better than conductive locating.

Part 5: Technology Audits
New technologies, using a type of electronic audit, can track the movement of the locating receiver to indicate whether a person was using it correctly and to its fullest potential. URG was undertaking test piloting of this type of software during the audit demonstration.The software allows the locator to grab each piece of information on the receiver, capture and score it, while creating GPS points that get sent to the cloud to be viewed in real time. Training or other office personnel can see if their locator is properly and best utilizing the receiver, and offer important feedback on how to improve.

At Planet Underground’s Roundtable Live event in August 2018, the ICC conducted a mock accident investigation demonstration a type of post excavation audit on locating accuracy.

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