The ground you walk, drive and play on every day covers an incredible amount of buried utilities.
We recently had the opportunity to find out first-hand what happens when a utility right of way inspection team loses track of a segment of utility line.
During the planning phase of a local development project, a small segment of “orphaned” utility line for a local municipality was discovered. The segment of right of way had not been maintained in several years. We performed a “ground to sky” clearing maintenance to provide unrestricted access to the water line. Ground to sky clearing removes trees and other vegetation from the right of way border at ground level all the way to the open sky.
As the before and after pictures below demonstrate, the right of way maintenance has made this line accessible to utility maintenance and repair crews. Keeping these lines open and accessible helps protect utility lines from invasive plants and root systems. Well maintained utility right of ways helps protect the environment, keeps the energy flowing and reduces the long term cost of utilities for businesses, homeowners and taxpayers.
Before, During & After Ground to Sky Clearing
What to do if you find an Orphan
Municipalities and utility companies keep track of over 2,000,000 miles of utility distribution pipeline in the United States using technologies like GPS, digital mapping and satellite imagery. Even with all of this expertise and technology, municipalities and utility companies occasionally lose track of short segments of utility distribution systems.
When the right of way inspection team in a municipality or utility company loses track of a segment of utility line, the right of way maintenance for those lines does not get scheduled. When the right of way maintenance gets skipped, the right of way can become a tangle of low lying vegetation and timber. This overgrowth can occur quickly. If a utility right of way becomes too overgrown, the repair or maintenance of the utility infrastructure can be difficult, or impossible to perform.
If you think you’ve found an orphan, clear evidence of an underground utility line that is unmarked, please call 811!