Its Only A Waterline – It can’t kill you
A very common practice when having public locates completed, is to have the municipality locate the shut-off valve near the street. On most properties, the waterlines on private property are not owned by the water utility and therefore they will not be located. If drilling is being undertaken on private property therefore, the only way of knowing where the waterline is located is to have it properly located by a private utility locator (or daylighted). But “it’s only a waterline, it can’t kill you” is a comment we have heard a number of times.
Although it may be true that striking a waterline is less likely to have an immediate injury related effect like a gas or electrical line, there can be many consequences. Beyond the obvious inconvenience of water service interruption and cost of repair, there can be a number of other consequences. We have now had a number of stories relayed to us about the creation of sink holes and damaged roads and parking lots. In addition, water line strikes have been known to cause instabilities underneath buildings leading to structural issues and building settlement. Suddenly, failure to spend a few hundred dollars to have a waterline adequately staked out by a private locator, could lead to a client giving you an invoice for the cost of demolition and reconstruction of their building.
The broken waterline could create a sinkhole such as the one below
80 ft in diameter and 15 feet deep, as a result of a watermain break in Guatemala.