ArboristSite.com Sponsors
Gold Clip Capital
Traverse Creek Inc


Hit electric cable stump grinding

BranchWalker74

BranchWalker74

ArboristSite Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2004
Messages
59
Location
Grand Island, NY
Hi guys, Just the other day I was doing four pine stumps along a fence line. Most of the stumps were over a foot away from the fence. While I was grinding the first stump I was nearing the back side of the stump and I hit a PVC covered bunch of wires. I think it was a 120 v line going to there inground pool. The wire was burried about two inches under ground resting on the stump flare where the roots start. I am glad it was only a 120 line I only got a small shock.
In a case like this, who is responsible? The homeowner or my company. I think the electrician should have warned the lady and she should have made me aware of the location of the wire. I told her I would ask around before I can tell her what I can do to make it right.
 

Ekka

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Jan 15, 2005
Messages
4,764
Location
Freemantle
I have a standard clause down the bottom that reads ..."whilst stump grinding we are not responsible for damages to underground services."

Also here the law is that the electrical service is supposed to be buried at least 450mm below, water 300mm below. I know many times it isn't and that no-one gets busted for it but it is an out for you also.

Find out what the specs are for buried services, there will be a rule.
 
Dadatwins

Dadatwins

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Feb 14, 2004
Messages
3,331
Location
Central Va
Miss utility is supposed to be called to mark all public utilities prior to any type of digging in most areas of the U.S.A. I will usually look around the area for any private utilities, ie: sprinkler heads/lines, electric lines and ask the homeowner to mark as needed. Sometimes they do not know where stuff is buried. In the interest of good customer service I would repair the damage. Should not be that big of a deal, section of wire and pvc pipe should cost less than $50.00. Lucky you did not damage your equipment or get hurt. Chaulk it up to experience and move on. JMHO
 
Frank Boyer

Frank Boyer

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Oct 18, 2006
Messages
1,178
Location
Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Hi guys, Just the other day I was doing four pine stumps along a fence line. Most of the stumps were over a foot away from the fence. While I was grinding the first stump I was nearing the back side of the stump and I hit a PVC covered bunch of wires. I think it was a 120 v line going to there inground pool. The wire was burried about two inches under ground resting on the stump flare where the roots start. I am glad it was only a 120 line I only got a small shock.
In a case like this, who is responsible? The homeowner or my company. I think the electrician should have warned the lady and she should have made me aware of the location of the wire. I told her I would ask around before I can tell her what I can do to make it right.

We are susposed to call for a locate before doing any dirt work. There is up to a $50K fine plus damages if you hit something without a locate. The locates are free. Over the years I have "found" many surprises while drilling/digging.
 
PA Plumber

PA Plumber

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Dec 14, 2006
Messages
4,432
Location
South Central PA
I'm glad you didn't get hurt.

If this was a personal line the customer had ran for a pool, PA One CAll (our locate for Pennsylvania) would not have marked it. In PA the company responsible for the damage is responsible for the repairs unless something was signed by the customer stating otherwise.

I would try to work this out with the customer. You could have no possible way of knowing this line was there. They may even take care of it or at least half. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
 
BranchWalker74

BranchWalker74

ArboristSite Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2004
Messages
59
Location
Grand Island, NY
Thank you for the quick replies. Keep them coming. I will look into how deep they should be buried in my area. I don't want to do her wrong, she has a lot of trees for future jobs. I might even split the repair with her.
 
climb it

climb it

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Dec 12, 2006
Messages
31
Location
Vermont
I hit fiber optic cable running from pole to house, it was grown into the stumps we were grinding, wasnt in use anymore, but it really sucked having to unwrap it from the wheel
 
DFD34

DFD34

ArboristSite Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2002
Messages
82
Location
North Shore of Massachusetts
underground wires

I hit some under ground eletrical wires this past year as well. By the direction that the wires were heading I could tell that they were the power supply for the customers detached garage. When I hit the wires, they sparked and then arched out. I called a friend that is a master electrician. He told me to ask the customer if I could look at their electricial panel so that I could make sure that the circut breaker had tripped. Two things could have happened. 1) The wires out by the stump could still have live and when someone touched them they would get zapped. 2) If the breaker in the house did not trip it could cause an over load in the panel and possibly cause a fire. In both cases a terrible outcome could play out. Just don't brush off the fact that you hit a few wires and no big deal.
Also, in my proposal sheet I have some fine print that I had my laywer write for me that states that my company is not responsible for any undisclosed utilities.

By the way, in my case the breaker did trip and the homeowner paid for the cost of the electrical repairs to his underground wires.
 
Last edited:
ggttp

ggttp

ArboristSite Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2006
Messages
82
Location
cincinnati
I hit small flexible gas line feeding an old gas pole lantern. Yes i did call underground utilities locater and asked them why it was not marked, they replied that any utility other than the main lines in are not in there database and they can not be expected to locate them. They also have an 18" margin of error.

We paid for the repair approx. 30$ and finished. The customer was pleased and gave us a 50$ tip for our trouble.

Usually home owners are second or third to live there and have no idea where there utilities are, let alone a secondary line. If you have experience with electrical wiring you should do it your self Given you know what your doing,power is off, and customer agrees (PVC 10$ wiring 5$ happy customer priceless)
 

Xtra

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Feb 9, 2004
Messages
299
Location
Central NJ (exit 82)
I was grinding out some bushes for my wife's cousin at their new house. One of the bushes had wrapped its roots around the line running to the pool. Before I knew it 30' of cable was wound around the grinder's wheel. I thought no problem use the old line to pull a new cable thru the PVC tube and a tubing splice. It wasn't that simple. When the cable wrapped and broke, the remaining cable snapped back and lodged inside the PVC tube. I had to run a whole new service line buried out to the pool.

Pool lines and landscape lighting are the worse, no one ever knows exactly where they are located.
 

Ekka

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Jan 15, 2005
Messages
4,764
Location
Freemantle
We also have a dial before you dig service.

It's pretty good for public areas but absolute nonsense for private places. Lots of records missing, tends to only show the communal services ... say a large drain going under your property etc. Generally wont show private building work which was your case .... pool supply.

Some-times the Dial Before You Dig people refer the customer to the local council for records, they have to pay for them, further delays and arguments. Lots of times services aren't where they're supposed to be as the builder cheated.

Can be a lottery, common sense prevails. I look for where down pipes, mains, electric, gas etc run in from the street and warn them, but at the end of the day if I hit them it's 100% their problem not mine. And they are aware of that before I start.

If they want absolute guarantees then tell them to get a metal detector pipe finder type of guy to survey the grinding zone prior.

In your instance the installation of that electrical service sounds dodgey. And if they knew it was there they have a lot to answer to regarding your incident. That's just down right dangerous and it may have killed you.
 
Grizzly

Grizzly

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Mar 31, 2006
Messages
153
Location
Whittier
Hi guys, Just the other day I was doing four pine stumps along a fence line. Most of the stumps were over a foot away from the fence. While I was grinding the first stump I was nearing the back side of the stump and I hit a PVC covered bunch of wires. I think it was a 120 v line going to there inground pool. The wire was burried about two inches under ground resting on the stump flare where the roots start. I am glad it was only a 120 line I only got a small shock.
In a case like this, who is responsible? The homeowner or my company. I think the electrician should have warned the lady and she should have made me aware of the location of the wire. I told her I would ask around before I can tell her what I can do to make it right.


I was doing some grinding out of town and I had to call Dig Alert. Luckaly nothing was under it, but about 5' way was the neighborhoods 8" gas main. even though it was 10' in the ground I'm glad I called. With the 120 in the gray PVC pipe that went to the pool. the utilities woldn't have know but if permits were pulled on it, the city or building commision in that city or county would have plans and utilities for the project maped out. Your guess was as good as you stump grinder. I she moved in after the pool was there than it's a accident. If she knew about it, then it would be up in the air for what could happen.
I know from experience that hitting anything to do with the electrical company is a big no no and they are always pissed off if you don't have them drop the service. I hve the service dropped as much as possible, but if they can't make it and thats th only job to pay the bille that week or day, I take extreem caution for not only that power line, but for the workers on the ground and my safety. Ropeing off everything form the branch thats being cut to the one I'm standing on (in some cases). I typically climb high than my target and the decend to where the cuts are going to be.
 
Sunrise Guy

Sunrise Guy

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Feb 4, 2006
Messages
1,120
Location
Austin,TX
It is VERY IMPORTANT that you have the customer sign a sheet, before you even make one move on the actual job, that you are not responsible for any and all damages done to buried cables and pipes that are not clearly marked by the customer and the respective utilitiy companies beforehand. You are crazy if you start digging, grinding, etc., without such a waiver of responsibility. Also, forget "fine print" as in tiny little letters at the end of your bid sheet. Make the waiver clause big and bold!
 
osb_mail

osb_mail

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Dec 5, 2006
Messages
383
Location
newark
also in the wavier

You should include cable , underground dog fence ,irrigation,these thing are everywhere .I have hit alot and usually I fix them myself but if i dont like the costumer I will just tell them about it . As long you call utillty protection . And have the costumer sign on a bid that you are not responsible for the other utility .
 
John Paul Sanborn

John Paul Sanborn

Above average climber
Joined
Apr 25, 2001
Messages
14,546
Location
South Eastern WI
your bid sheet. Make the waiver clause big and bold!


Having them initial beside them will help to in the event of damage. I've seen them written to the effect that
" The contractor is responsible for contacting locater services for public underground utilities (UGU)

The customer is aware of the work areas involved and certifies that there are no private UGU. In the event of damage to private UGU, unmentioned or unknown to the client, the client is responsible for repair or replacement of said damage and any other damage resulting from the incident."​

Of course you should have legal council review any clauses you have to tighten up the verbiage. And I see now that I use bothe client and customer.....
 
km stumps

km stumps

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Oct 7, 2006
Messages
40
Location
hertfordshire
cable hit

grinding medium stump in a large back garden with rayco hd 20 , when the crater started to fill with water , on a closer look we had hit filter pipe from swimming pool,and just missed pyro 240 volts for pump house, it was under the stump, it had been planted on top of cable 20 years before, last place you would look , ihave a cat tester now ,
 
jhellwig

jhellwig

ArboristSite Guru
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Messages
842
Location
Ottumwa, Iowa
All electrical lines (with the exception of telephone and other low voltage stuff) is supposed to be a MINIMUM of 18 inches under the ground and maybe even more depending on what type of wire or conduit it is and where it is located.

18 MINIMUM according to the National Electrical Code that everyone is supposed to follow. Lots of places are not inspected so it very rarely is that deep. Although if their insurance company knew about it it would be.
 
Top