Utility Locating FAQs



1. Is TeaCo Geophysical an approved One Call utility locator?

  • No. TeaCo is considered to be an independent 3rd party utility locating service. We specialize in GPR applications in utility detection services and implement an EM detector as a secondary method to ensure accuracy.


2. Is there a cost for One Call locating?

  • In many instances the cost of One Call locating service is paid for by fees applied to utility bills. Therefore, it is the responsibility of those utility companies to provide the service. This can be verified by contacting your local One Call service. In Mississippi it is 811


3. When One Call reports to a site, what lines do One Call locators mark?

  • Generally most standard utility locators contracted by One Call Members only mark the main line for the utility company they are contracted to. This means any private lines running from the main line may NOT be marked. In many instances in this area, One Call locators will only mark lines leading to the private property and will not mark lines on the private property that were installed by the original builder. TeaCo can satisfy this need as a 3rd party utility locator, and will mark those utilities using standard industry colors.


4. Is TeaCo Geophysical to be considered a One Call locator?

  • No. TeaCo is a Private Locator, which primarily uses GPR to locate and map primary utilities and any other subsurface anomalies (such as secondary lines, private lines, buried tanks, septic systems, etc.) on private properties.


5. What services do Private Locators offer?

  • Private Third Party Locators are generally contracted to locate utilities buried on private property that have not been marked by a One Call Locator. Many Private Locators will only locate from the marked utilities located by the One Call service by placing a trace signal on those lines and identifying where the lines are buried using a Radio Detection or Electromagnetic (EM) device. Although this is an accurate method for locating those specific lines it is possible to miss utilities that are not identified by the One Call service. A more comprehensive underground survey is typically conducted by Private Locators who use additional technologies such as Ground Penetrating Radar equipment.


6. How is utility locating services offered TeaCo Geophysical different?

  • TeaCo Geophysical utilizes GPR technology to noninvasively and non destructively create graphical representations of conditions encountered in the subsurface which can be easily translated to the ground surface with marking paint. We are therefore able to locate primary and secondary utility lines and many other anomalies buried underground which may be costly to repair or even dangerous to the excavator. In addition to marking all the detectable utilities and anomalies located on site, we have experienced GPR technicians who can analyze the data collected and create detailed georeferenced maps and reports with interpreted locations and depths plotted to scale. Providing engineers and planners with a permanently scalable and georeferenced map allows for precise planning well into the future as areas grow and develop.


7. Why even consider using a GPR utility locating service if we have to use One Call locating anyway?

  • TeaCo uses both, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) as a complimentary technology to Radio Detection and Electromagnetic (EM) locating technology. The benefits that GPR provides are many. GPR can locate buried utilities comprised of different materials. GPR can locate metallic and non-metallic utilities to include even those without a trace wire or element.


8. What can be done to locate utilities is heavily congested areas, and why?

  • GPR surveyors often collect data for the survey area in a grid format. A GPR survey grid means that more area is covered and unknown objects can be discovered and ensure full coverage of the area. Traditional (EM) locate equipment requires the transmitting antenna be inline with the utility if you are using induction mode or they may be missed. GPR does not have this requirement so utilities running in multiple directions can be identified. Once the GPR data has been collected a 3D map of the ground and its infrastructure can be developed. This can be beneficial in congested areas for identifying utilities and also for pre-engineering purposes. There is no utility locating service that is 100% accurate, due to varying subsurface conditions (i.e. soil types and mineralization, moisture content and conductivity, and utility line material). Combining traditional EM locating and GPR surveying is your safest option for delineating subsurface utilities.