Call the national "Call Before You Dig" number: 811.
If you are planning to use directional drilling, call 811 well ahead of the job. Let them know about the equipment you will be using, and ask them to space locator marks closer together. This will help you see if the utility's path shifts or turns suddenly.
Dig potholes so you can visually monitor the drill head.
A buried drill head makes it impossible to tell how close you really are to an existing utility. This makes it especially important to manually expose the line and watch as the drill string passes through. Keep a margin of safety by planning the bore to be a minimum distance of 36 inches from the utility. Watch the drill head cross during the initial bore and also during backreaming to ensure this minimum distance is maintained.
Calibrate the bore head and locating device at the beginning of each job.
Remember, the locating device can monitor the bore head on the initial pass, but cannot monitor the backream head.
Stay at least three feet away when boring parallel to buried utilities. Pothole utilities so you can monitor the bore head path and visually verify a safe distance.
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