Repairing or Replacing Underground Utilities on Private Property

Facilities managers and property managers often find themselves in the position of dealing with the replacement and repair of the vast underground infrastructure of pipes that service their buildings. Depending on the utility service –  electricity, natural gas, or water – the property owner may be responsible for the pipes that travel underground from the master meter at the edge of the property line to the building. So, who do you call to handle the repair or replacement of underground piping and conduit? You need to contact a qualified contractor to handle the work directly.  

Avoid Damage with Appropriate Planning  

According to the Common Ground Alliance, an underground utility line is damaged every six minutes because someone decided to dig without appropriately identifying and marking the approximate location of underground lines. Understanding the complexities and dangers of repairing underground utilities is your first line of defense to avoiding additional damage – and in some cases potential catastrophes.  

The best way to do this is to ensure you use a contractor that has an established an Operator Qualification (OQ) program as outlined by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.  According to the DOT PHMSA website, it requires pipeline operators to document that certain employees have been adequately trained to recognize and react to abnormal operating conditions that may occur while performing specific tasks. 

A Culture of Safety is Paramount 

Repairing and replacing underground utilities – especially natural gas – requires a balance of worker and site safety protocols to effectively protect people and property. From mandatory personal protective equipment (PPE) to excavation safety and Dig Safe tolerance zones safety is of the utmost importance when dealing with utilities.  Facilities managers or property owners should require proof of qualifications prior to any work beginning.  For more than 97 years, R.H. White Construction has been installing and repairing underground utilities. Contact us to learn more about our vast experience in underground utility construction with natural gasLNG/CNGpropane, and steam.   

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