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How to locate underground gas lines before you dig

Updated April 12, 2017

When spring or summer arrives, you may plan to put a fence, a wall or change the landscape of the garden. You need to think before you dig. If your spade hits underground gas lines, it could cause a damaging explosion. You could be fined because the law requires that you dig only after locating underground gas lines. The gas lines belong to the gas company. The gas company can charge you for repairs for damaged underground gas lines and any injuries caused by a possible explosion.

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  1. Make a specific note of the location where you plan to dig.

  2. Call the gas company that provides gas to your home. They will send a locator to check if their lines run under the site.

  3. Find a professional utility locator service that operates in your location, if you do not know the gas company that may have lines running under your home. They will send a locator with a receiver to check whether underground gas lines run beneath your property.

  4. Use the Yellow Pages or an online search engine to find a professional utility locator.

  5. Try locating underground gas lines yourself by cutting a 1 m (40 inch) piece of #4 bare copper wire into two equal haves with pliers. Measure 12.5 cm (5 inches) on the two pieces of wire and bend the wire at the 12.5 cm (5 inches) point to make two right angles. Hold the two pieces of wire with the short ends towards you and the long ends in front. The long ends of the wire will turn toward each other if they locate a line going underground.

  6. Warning

    The copper wire method is not foolproof. It merely indicates the presence of an object underground.

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Things You'll Need

  • 1 m (40 inch) piece of bare #4 copper ground wire
  • Pliers
  • Measuring tape

About the Author

Marie Lowe

Marie Lowe has been writing since 1995. Her work appears in the "Durant Democrat" and various online publications. Lowe has a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Central Oklahoma.

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