Private facilities are found everywhere in New Jersey, including single family homes, farms, multi-family housing units, industrial areas, trailer parks, shopping centers and sometimes in the road right of way. Excavators are reminded to be constantly on the lookout for these facilities and inquire from home and property owners about the location of underground facilities that are not marked out as a result of notice to New Jersey One Call (NJOC).
Unless the private facility owner participates as a member of NJOC, owners of private facilities are not notified and will not mark.
Private facilities can be used to convey many different types of products and provide various services. The following list contains only some examples.
Private natural gas lines in a residential setting may provide fuel for a number of different devices. Among them are barbecues and grills, pool heaters, yard lights or heaters in outbuildings like sheds, garages or barns.
It is important to remember the operators of natural gas facilities only mark the line leading to the meter. Any appliance or device fueled by natural gas that is on the "other side" of the meter is almost invariably served by a private facility.
Residential properties, apartment complexes, shopping malls and others may also have buried private electric lines that serve to power among other things, yard or parking lot lighting, pool heaters or pumps. Additionally, on residential properties or farms, private lines may connect outbuildings like garages, sheds or barns to a source of power. Remember that the supplier of electricity usually only marks the power line up to the meter. If there is power in a garage or if another piece of equipment on the property runs on electricity, make sure to look for a private electric line.
Although the meter set is often found on/at the home or main building, in some areas it is set on a pole or other attachment at a nearby power line. Red marks or flags leading up to a pole but not going on to the main building or home are clear indicators that there is a private facility in the area.
Other Types of Private Lines
Several other types of private buried lines may be found on private property. While some may carry low-voltage electrical current, they do not serve to connect an appliance or outbuilding with electricity. These include buried lines like invisible dog fences, data communications cables, and low voltage landscape lighting. Other private facilities can include, water systems, underground sprinkler systems, private phone lines that collect outbuildings to a home or waste collection lines.
Be on the Lookout for Private Facilities
In order to dig safely, a good excavator must also be part detective. Because of the possible existence of private facilities on almost any dig site, a careful excavator will physically inspect the jobsite prior to submitting their mark out requests (or even bidding the job). They will take the time to talk to the property owner, see what equipment or power may serve buildings they will excavate around, and look for warning signs. They find out who installed the original underground facilities and contact them to determine if any records or maps exist. They also prepare maps of any new facilities they install, so that this problem doesn't exist in the future.
What should I do if I suspect I have private facilities in the area of my excavation?
When a property owner or tenant has any type of private underground facility, they are responsible to locate those facilities, or hire someone to locate them. The internet is a great tool for researching companies that do this type of work in your area.