Over 20 years ago, a worker using a backhoe to dig a trench in the Slavic Village neighborhood of Cleveland struck a natural gas line that ran alongside a building. He miraculously survived the resulting explosion that flipped his machine over backwards, but suffered some second- and third-degree burns. The pipeline he hit was an uncharted line running to an out-building on the same lot.
In most older cities, including Cleveland Heights, the buried utility lines enter at the front of the property (from the street) and the overhead utilities enter from the rear. But that pattern does not hold true for all properties. A corner property, for example, may have some or all of the buried utilities coming in from the side of the lot, or a neighborhood may have sewer lines that run from the rear.
Don’t believe for a moment that utility lines are buried too deep for you to hit! In the years since a house was built, activities such as erosion, landscaping, grading or excavating may have changed the depth at which the utilities lie. It’s not unusual to find a gas line only inches under the soil surface! (Read the rest….)