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  #1  
Old 09-07-2011, 05:37 PM
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One of my neighbors hit a gas line

No, no damage to anything. But I was pretty surprised how shallow these things were. Apparently gas lines are buried at a standard 18" below the surface over here. This one he hit and severed was plastic. The guys came out and basically used a pair of vise grips and clamped it shut. Put another section in and removed the vise grips. Pretty amazing. I would have thought that gas lines would be made of a more durable material than plastic.

Just my educative moment of the day.

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Old 09-07-2011, 05:58 PM
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I'm thinking that the "non-sparking" properties of the plastic line might come into play. Corrosion resistence is nice also.

MV
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  #3  
Old 09-07-2011, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuan View Post
No, no damage to anything. But I was pretty surprised how shallow these things were. Apparently gas lines are buried at a standard 18" below the surface over here. This one he hit and severed was plastic. The guys came out and basically used a pair of vise grips and clamped it shut. Put another section in and removed the vise grips. Pretty amazing. I would have thought that gas lines would be made of a more durable material than plastic.

Just my educative moment of the day.
Gas transmission pressures are pretty low at the residential consumer end of the pipe, also.
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Old 09-07-2011, 06:26 PM
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Oh yeah, the no spark thing is probably a good thing. It all makes sense now.
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Old 09-07-2011, 06:35 PM
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CBYD!
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Old 09-07-2011, 06:42 PM
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The old ones are iron and they spark when you hit them!
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:09 PM
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My current job is inspecting the replacing of gas lines in part of Baltimore. This is an old system. Some of the mains we are replacing were installed in 1893 and 1903.
Plastic doesn't rot/ rust like steel, or cast iron.
But gas flow through a plastic pipe will generate significant static electricity. We have to attach a bond wire and ground anything before we cut. Fire is always a danger.
The system I am working on runs at 7-9 INCHES of water column.
OTOH, I worked on a new transmission line last year that was operating at 720 PSI and we tested it a 1080 PSI--yes, it was steel.

Installation details vary with the system. Our minimum depth for a main is three feet, and two feet for services. We are not allowed to let the crew work until we see a valid MISS UTILITY ticket for the area they are working. Even then they have hit a few services that MISS UTILITY failed to mark. No fires yet!!!
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:23 PM
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That's why you call before you dig
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  #9  
Old 09-07-2011, 09:50 PM
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That's why you call before you dig
Sure, I did that when I was having some trees installed. They still hit a line. I called back and they said "Oh, that's your domestic line. We don't care about that. We're only concerned from the main to the meter and you were clear of those, for the rest you're on your own."

Some lines also have a tracer wire that you hook a box up to, then a metal-detector like thing to detect the signal from the box. It's a bit more precise.
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:08 PM
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Call before you dig doesn't always mark the lines properly.

As someone who uses them regularly they make a lot of mistakes.
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:15 PM
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Years ago I installed an irrigation system at my house. I called and the folks came out and marked the lines. I used a trencher and stopped about 3' from either side of the hash marks. Then I used a spade to dig across the space where the plastic gas line was supposed to be.

I dug carefully, but encountered several roots. At one point, I thought I was trying to sever a root and was, in fact, picking away at the muddy, clay covered plastic pipe with the point of the spade! I realized what I was doing before I severed it. But I did nick the insulation on the copper wire taped to the plastic pipe.

This was, of course, about 7 PM on a Sunday evening. I didn't know the function of the wire (now know it is a tracer) at the time, so I called the gas company and reported that I nicked their wire attached to their pipe. I was very clear there was no gas leak and this was not an emergency.

No matter, they sent the cavalry! Had about 5 gas trucks at my place in minutes. But they were very cool and did not even entertain the notion of charging me for the repair. They appreciated the fact I had the line marked, stopped the trencher and was doing my best to be careful.
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:24 PM
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That's why you call before you dig
Yeah. I was pretty surprised that the standard was only 18" below ground.
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Old 09-07-2011, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Hatterasguy View Post
Call before you dig doesn't always mark the lines properly.

As someone who uses them regularly they make a lot of mistakes.
Yeah you're correct. But you'd think gas lines they would mark. I found the cable line with a tiller.
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  #14  
Old 09-07-2011, 11:31 PM
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Sometimes, other times they follow other lines in and think they are gas lines.

They also don't mark old lines which is interesting in my area, I have dug up lines older than the oldest building in FL which are unmarked.
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  #15  
Old 09-08-2011, 01:29 PM
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Don't assume a utility line is run in a straight line from point A to B.

Our cable company subbed out the laying of lines from the pedestal's to the houses in my neighborhood. Paid the sub by the foot and evidently didn't watch them very carefully.

My next door neighbor trenched a straight line from his backyard to the front and cut the TV cable seven times in about 100 feet. The sub was running the cable back and forth across the yard to use up more cable (and charge the cable company more).

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