Is “Undetectable” Really Undetectable?

Is “Undetectable” Really Undetectable?

In a recent conversation with a client, they mentioned that they are regularly called out on an “undetectable” locator ticket.  What is this “undetectable” stuff?  To them  “undetectable” means something like “unable to locate the structure using standard electromagnetic devices”. In many of these cases there are few if any above ground features to provide a hint as to the location of the structure. They try standard EMI wands, induction EMI devices and possibly ground penetrating radar, but still can’t find the pipe or structure they were searching for.  So, we gleaned the essence of “undetectable” was using all methods short of excavation and potholing and not confidently finding the desired structure.

In this case, our client said they had take a more invasive approach – a very dense Hydro-Vac potholing project – but sometimes they have to do a layer-by-layer excavation to locate the underground structure.  Employing these measures are laborious, time consuming, expensive, and incur significant increases in the risk of accidentally striking the structure as their team searched for it.

In truth, there are no “undetectable” structures underground, only those that require significant effort and risk to locate or that cannot be found with current technology.  By changing the technology, most buried infrastructure can be found.  “What technology?”, we hear you ask.  Advanced Sonic Technology or AST.

AST introduces sound into the ground, and when collected on a grid, AST can return an accurate location of any structure under the surface down to a depth of approximately 30 feet, without disturbing as much as a shovel full of dirt.  Operators can meet subsurface utility engineering (SUE) Class B standards, and if required, provide more accurate data by using the acoustic survey to focus hydro-vac excavation to obtain visual confirmation of the structure.  Visit our website to request information or to inquire about a quote to find your “undetectable” underground assets without increasing your risk or decreasing the safety to your employees or contractors.