It’s the time of the year when the daffodils and tulips are blooming. Thoughts turn to tending to the yard and getting outside! Of course, for some of us it’s still a bit nippy but our thoughts are outside anyway. So…what’s it gonna be this year? Maybe you will plant a new tree, or install a pond out front or a new bird feeder? Whatever you are planning make a few simple smart decisions first!
Ground services, electric, water, cable, gas, etc. are all supposed to be buried a safe distance underground so that shovel you are using doesn’t hit anything. Even so, not everything is done right. So if you are planning to plant anything, even a bird feeder, make sure you are not digging over anything that can endanger you. Check with your township for the phone number of the utility companies’ services that will usually come and locate these service lines for free. It’s in their best interest to not have you hurt and way cheaper for them to not have to repair anything.
Many of us live in rural locations and often we do know where most things are. Except for the septic and water, the utilities are above ground. This does NOT mean that we know it all. Abandoned wells, cisterns or oil tanks may have been waiting all these years to deteriorate and have chosen 2013 to show themselves. Use caution!
If you live in a development or other building lot where utilities are buried you need to take even more care. Like I said, in a perfect world utilities are installed correctly….usually. I have uncovered cable lines only a few inches underground. They were conveniently installed on the property line or partially in the wooded area and I guess the knuckleheads figured no one would dig there. Wrong! If it’s my property I may choose to plant bamboo or some other separation along the border.
To make things worse anyone can buy a small backhoe and then things can get even more dangerous. Newer homes have lawn sprinklers and these will be near the surface. Some retrofitted gas lines for a barbeque may be only inches underground. Buried propane tanks have a small line often just below the surface.
I visited a local restaurant where they allowed parking on the lawn. No one thought to protect the top of the buried propane tank and it was damaged TWICE! Fortunately no one was hurt.
Accidents are just that….accidents. We don’t plan them (unless you are working for the mob). So take a little time and use common sense and take advantage of the free services offered by the utilities. Have your property surveyed. It may save your life or the life of someone close to you. And…enjoy the warmer weather!