We contract with utilities to locate and mark their buried facilities prior to excavation. These utilities can be large investor-owned, rural cooperatives, or city run municipalities. Examples of buried facilities requiring marks prior to excavation include: Gas, Electric, Telephone, Cable TV, Water, Sewer, and Fiber Optics. Vannguard’s primary focus is gas and electric utilities and represents 97% of our locating business.
Starting in the 1980s, laws were being passed which required utilities to become members of a state One Call system. This One Call system simplified the process for excavators in notifying utilities of impending excavation. Prior to this system, the excavator had to call each utility directly for locating needs.
Each utility within a state sends maps to the One Call center to identify their specific footprint. If an excavator calls in a locate request within that specific footprint, a ticket will be generated. That ticket (locate request) will be routed to the proper utilities.
Utilities have the option of either locating these tickets with internal resources or contracting this work out to a company like Vannguard.
Once the locate ticket is sent to the entity that will perform the locate request, that party will have 48 – 72 hours (depending on the state) to complete the locate request. The person responsible for the area will drive to the address, look at the utility prints, and then identify the buried utilities.
There may be multiple utilities that need to be identified at a job site. Each locator is only responsible for its utility customer’s facilities. Someone else may show up to locate the other utilities.
Locating underground facilities is a valuable service that is free to the excavator and supported by the utilities. When the One Call center, excavator, and locator work together in this system; the excavator can dig safely and the community remains safe.