1. Calculate the Contractor’s Needs
On any given day, the X-Ray Locating Services team can be working with a technician who’s putting cable TV in an apartment building, an electrical contractor who wants to set three poles, a plumbing contractor who wants to establish a water line, or an environmental contractor who wants to check the health of a site where a gas station once stood. In these and other situations, X-RAY Locating Services receives a set of project plans and what the client believes may already be located on the site. “We come in before contractors do directional drilling and prelocate all of the utilities in their path,” Burke says. “The reality is that we can work for anybody, from a homeowner to ExxonMobil. Eventually, everybody needs our service.”
2. Set up Shop
X-Ray Locating Services arrives at the site with both conventional locating equipment and ground-penetrating radar. This gear allows the company to detect and confirm what underground lines or obstructions may or may not be present. These are marked according to a national color code, the company putting up flags and painting the ground to clearly designate where each one is.
3. Double Check the Results
Once Burke and her team have completed the conventional locating process, they bring in the ground-penetrating radar and run it in a grid pattern across the property—first north to south, then east to west, and finally corner to corner. It is gauged to whatever depth the client has requested, which, according to Burke, is usually from 5 to 15 feet. She adds that water lines usually run five feet down, so that’s a reliable starting point.
4. Mark Any Anomalies
After the ground-penetrating radar machine, which resembles a lawnmower, has done its work, X-Ray Locating Services marks any anomalies it may have detected. “All you can do is call them anomalies because you can’t tell what it actually is,” Burke says. “If it’s a tank, you can tell. But otherwise we can tell it’s a line of some kind, just not what kind of line.”
5. Process the Results
After the detecting, marking, and recording are complete, the project team then has to compile all the information it has gathered into a report, or “onto paper,” as Burke puts it. Once this happens, the report is handed over to the contractor in charge of the project.
6. Stand By for the Contractor
In theory, X-Ray Locating Services’s role in a project is finished once the paper report is submitted. Subsequently, the contractor comes in with site-clearing equipment and puts it to work. If some of the unknown anomalies prove to be serious obstacles to safe execution of the project, the contractor may consider moving it to another part of the property to avoid any problems. ABQ