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Thread: Locating water

  1. #16
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    Default Re: Locating water

    I also head up a the locating of water and sewer efforts for a large city in the south and I will share somethings to save you some frustrations. I was trying to replace beat up Pipehorn 800HL and some RD 7000's. I had a few demo's and we selected the DitchWitch Utiliguard. Trying to get these units became a constant battle with procurement and I ended up getting SR60's and ST-33Q's paying almost 20k more. But hey, it was from a vendor under contract and got them in 30 days after battling months for other units.

    Get to know your procurement people and find out what vendors you have contracts with and do any sell locate equipment. Regardless of what you want, you may be forced to find something that is comparable. Procurement departments would rather deal with vendors under contract regardless of the cost.

    If you don't have vendors that sell locate equipment directly, try to identify one that can get it and sell it you. Then you have a little freedom in selecting what you want.

    If this doesn't work for you, you may have to write up a description of what you want, provide documentation, e.g. Product Brochure and submit to procurement to have them get three quotes. In my case we cant spend over 20k in a fiscal year with one particular vendor not under contract.

    Some may ask, "why not just get the units in need of repair, repaired?" I know it doesn't sound fiscally responsible, but it's easier and faster to get new equipment. To get a unit repaired, I would have to calculate the cost of shipping and get a P.O., that 30 days. Then I have to ship it off and it has to be diagnosed and the estimate returned. If the cost of repair and return shipping then must be forwarded to procurement for a P.O., that's another 30 days. Once the P.O. is received the repair can begin, say two weeks worst case scenario. Simply a pain in the rear. I can't tell begin to express how easy it is to buy new stuff. Purchased a RD 1000 GPR for 15K, 30 days with Purchase Order- easy. Problem is now the vendor wants his check...lol. So now I spend my time bothering my director to find out when procurement might cut the man a check.

    Now as far as what's best...
    It depends on what pipe material and joints. We don't place that b.s PVC like other municipalities. Our system consist of pipes from 2 inch to 72 inches and the material varies depending on the age and purpose of the pipe. 2" copper in older cul-de-sac and you might find a cast iron pipe hear and there, most being ductile iron. We have a few larger transmission pipes made of RCP and Steel. In the older parts of the city, lead joint and mechanical joint pipes are the norm and your signal, regardless of the locator will run for days. Pipe using tyton joints, push on type, reduce the distance you can locate.

  2. #17
    Senior Member headcipher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Locating water

    Quote Originally Posted by mikea030 View Post
    I also head up a the locating of water and sewer efforts for a large city in the south and I will share somethings to save you some frustrations. I was trying to replace beat up Pipehorn 800HL and some RD 7000's. I had a few demo's and we selected the DitchWitch Utiliguard. Trying to get these units became a constant battle with procurement and I ended up getting SR60's and ST-33Q's paying almost 20k more. But hey, it was from a vendor under contract and got them in 30 days after battling months for other units.
    Heads up on that Utiligaurd, when we used it on brand new twin h20 mains on test point wires, it often put out a signal 8-12 feet off of the actual main. The area was not congested, 850, 810, and vivax all put the mark on the right mark. They need to refine the algorithms they use.

    The St-33 is in no way as good as an 810 for inducing h2o, yeah it can push a signal, but only on 33khz. Sometimes need that higher frequency to find those old mains and jump joints.

    If the pvc mains are installed correctly with a tracer and test points at hydrants they can be pretty great. Just saying...
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  3. #18
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    Default Re: Locating water

    You shouldn't let ease of purchase dictate what equipment you purchase. Grab a Demo from all the distributors and run it on your plant. See how it works on lines you have located previously. You know how it should sound and where it is located so you can tell how the equipment reacts to known situations. Then look what particular equipment has to offer. One of our Vlocs I specifically got to find marker balls.... Do we use marker balls? Nope.... But the city agency does and we have situations where a marker ball would help.

    It is a pain in the ass to go through the requisition process, but it gives you time to look at the equipment you want. The way the RFP is worded, you just state what you want the equipment to do.... for example; Multi-frequency locator with 10watt transmitter, Reciever with multi-frequency capabilities (Including multi-sonde frequencies, Passive Frequencies, and marker frequencies) You send this out to a minimum of 3 distributors and see what they offer up.

    When I did it, I only had one distributor fill out the form correctly..... fortunately it was the one I was looking at.

    If you want some examples of requisition for equipment, let me know. I can find my old one and show you.

    mke
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  4. #19
    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Locating water


    Yesterday I had an 8" water main damaged by a boring crew's back reamer. Upon my arrival, I had blue paint on the sidewalk 6" from the edge and water was blowing in the grass. The boring dots were 3 1/2 feet from my blue paint. The bore crew's locator said to me, "Man, you were way off on this one!" The owner of the company doing the boring said he was going to send USIC a bill for lost production. I kept my mouth shut making no comments. I must admit I felt a little un-easy being that far off the boring crew's marks.

    The ductile steel water main was 9 feet deep and I was 6" off my mark. The boring crew's bore head was not properly calibrated when he pushed through my paint and the back reamer mangled the shit out of the main during the pull back. What a mess!

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    Default Re: Locating water

    You can get a depth estimate with a pipehorn. Dodds has some great material on Youtube you should watch. Our local water company has rd4000 units and rd8000 units. They aren't great at induction, but for 9-1200 bucks you can get a pipehorn that'll cover you on that front.

  6. #21
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    Default Re: Locating water

    good job Wing.....wish I could have seen that guys face when he realized he was in the wrong .......

    Quote Originally Posted by Wingfoot View Post

    Yesterday I had an 8" water main damaged by a boring crew's back reamer. Upon my arrival, I had blue paint on the sidewalk 6" from the edge and water was blowing in the grass. The boring dots were 3 1/2 feet from my blue paint. The bore crew's locator said to me, "Man, you were way off on this one!" The owner of the company doing the boring said he was going to send USIC a bill for lost production. I kept my mouth shut making no comments. I must admit I felt a little un-easy being that far off the boring crew's marks.

    The ductile steel water main was 9 feet deep and I was 6" off my mark. The boring crew's bore head was not properly calibrated when he pushed through my paint and the back reamer mangled the shit out of the main during the pull back. What a mess!

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  7. #22
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    Default Re: Locating water

    Quote Originally Posted by yahoo View Post
    good job Wing.....wish I could have seen that guys face when he realized he was in the wrong .......

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  8. #23
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    Default Re: Locating water

    I get a gut wrenching feeling when I get a damage or think I've got a damage. I know how you felt.
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    "Change does not always equal progress."

  9. #24
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    Default Re: Locating water

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    I get a gut wrenching feeling when I get a damage or think I've got a damage. I know how you felt.

    I get that same felling. The whole drive there I'm wandering what I did wrong. I'll bet most of the time for Wingfoot, he be like..............

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  10. #25
    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Locating water

    Quote Originally Posted by daman1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    I get a gut wrenching feeling when I get a damage or think I've got a damage. [Hey Wing,] I know how you felt.
    I get that same felling. The whole drive there I'm wandering what I did wrong. I'll bet most of the time for Wingfoot, he be like..............

    Hey fellas! Many thanks for the encouragement!

    I hate damages, no matter who's at-fault. At this water main damage site I wasn't very talkative. I have known all the water department guys for years and each are as close to me as family. Each has seen me at my very best as well as my worst. My only saving grace with these guys is my 99.9% success ratio as well as my coughing up accurate depths, size, color and type of material of each utility in conflict when I respond to their Emergency water leaks.

    It makes utility "whackers" nervous to witness a utility "locator guy" to be treated as a fellow employee by utility repair crews. Every water department responder to this damage (the hoe operator, the dump truck operator, the spotters, the diver in hip-waders, the on-site supervisor and the water department head) each had the attitude their "locator guy" had it marked right throughout this ordeal.

    The water guys could tell I wasn't my chatty self at this damage and all kept re-assuring me, "It's all going to be okay." When Tim, the boring company's owner, witnessed all this one-sided camaraderie, he must have felt he was on the defense. Maybe that is what generated the threat, "I'll be sending USIC a bill for lost production............."

    When everybody saw my mark was 6" from my shattered ductile-iron water main, I did the Homer Simpson "WooHoo" on the inside. Tim, on the other hand, quietly slipped back into his beautiful, brand-new, chromed-out, 4-door, leather-interior Ford F250 Super Duty Platinum pick-up truck and disappeared.



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  11. #26
    Premium Member daman1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Locating water

    Quote Originally Posted by Wingfoot View Post
    Hey fellas! Many thanks for the encouragement!

    I hate damages, no matter who's at-fault. At this water main damage site I wasn't very talkative. I have known all the water department guys for years and each are as close to me as family. Each has seen me at my very best as well as my worst. My only saving grace with these guys is my 99.9% success ratio as well as my coughing up accurate depths, size, color and type of material of each utility in conflict when I respond to their Emergency water leaks.

    It makes utility "whackers" nervous to witness a utility "locator guy" to be treated as a fellow employee by utility repair crews. Every water department responder to this damage (the hoe operator, the dump truck operator, the spotters, the diver in hip-waders, the on-site supervisor and the water department head) each had the attitude their "locator guy" had it marked right throughout this ordeal.

    The water guys could tell I wasn't my chatty self at this damage and all kept re-assuring me, "It's all going to be okay." When Tim, the boring company's owner, witnessed all this one-sided camaraderie, he must have felt he was on the defense. Maybe that is what generated the threat, "I'll be sending USIC a bill for lost production............."

    When everybody saw my mark was 6" from my shattered ductile-iron water main, I did the Homer Simpson "WooHoo" on the inside. Tim, on the other hand, quietly slipped back into his beautiful, brand-new, chromed-out, 4-door, leather-interior Ford F250 Super Duty Platinum pick-up truck and disappeared.



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    I've marked mainly gas, electric, and comm lines. Of all the utilities, I have the least experience in water but my counterpart at the water department is a former co-worker of mine and he says toning up is a lot trickier.

    If you take pride in that 99.9% then after the "woo-hoo" moment passed, I'll bet you quietly started wandering how you were even 6 inches off. It was an 8 inch so that's big enough to factor in. Probable steel. Must have been fairly deep. I know it's not required but I do what I can to get that paint dead nuts on top of the line. When I'm off by even inches I start analyzing myself. Nothing makes a locator feel better than when the utilities pothole your marks and BAYUMMM !!!!! Dead on !! Makes them start assuming before you even get to a damage that you probably are right on and there must be some other explanation. A locator who takes personal pride in his work and isn't just gaming the public safety system to get a paycheck is hard to beat.
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  12. #27
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Locating water

    A while back when I was locating gas I had a contractor call up a little upset cause I was off on the gas main. I went down to see what happened and sure enough I was over a foot off. I was still within the 2 feet but it was off enough. To see what happened I went and hooked up again and went back to the main where it was exposed. I turned on my receiver and sure as heck. I got the signal right where my marks were. The main (steel) wasn't buried with anything else but for some reason my locator was showing it where it wasn't. I showed the contractor and he couldn't care less. He just walked off. I wondered how many times this happens that we don't hear about it.

    My point is that we can only mark what our machine tells us. I don't dwell on it too much if my marks are off but close. If they are way off then that is just me not doing my job. I have enough experience that I should recognize a bad locate by now.
    UULC, Cuda, daman1 and 1 others like this.
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  13. #28
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    Default Re: Locating water

    Hey Wingfoot, In the 90's when I was training for CLS, the trainer, suit and tie, not a real locator, told us that CLS bailed out of the St. Louis contract because the gas mains were plastic with no tracer. Is that true? If it is, did they fix it? I always figured that would make the news one day if it was true. I also heard that St. Louis water had to do a billion dollar renovation and disconnect storm drainage from sewage. They had to completely re-do all the fresh water pipes and sewer lines due to untraceable lines and age. Any of that true? If it was, that must have been a hard time to be a locator.

  14. #29
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    Default Re: Locating water

    In one city some engineer thought it be better to bury zinc strips with the plastic mains instead of a tracer wire. Brillant what happens when the zinc dissolves? They finally started redoing the mains with tracer wires.

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