Private Utility Tracing and Fault Locating

Minnesota Irrigation is now proud to offer the Twin Cities area our private utility and fault locating services! To learn more about this or any of our other great services, call us at 763-785-2201 or contact us for a Free Estimate.


What is private utility locating?
Locates underground utilities that are not owned by the utility companies and therefore are not located through the Gopher State One Call process.

What are some examples of private utilities?

  • Low voltage electrical lines: irrigation wire, landscape lighting, electric pet fence wire
  • Communication lines: coaxial cable drops, coaxial cable and telephone lines to detached buildings
  • Gas lines to: propane tanks, detached buildings, grills, pools heaters
  • High voltage electrical lines to: detached buildings (garages, sheds, shops, guest houses), yard lights, remote outlets, irrigation and shallow well pumps, submersible well pump caps, boat lifts, swimming pools, septic tank lift stations


  • Any utility that connects to a building from the “master meter”
  • Electrical lines to: parking lot lights, lighted signs, remote outlets

What connections must be available to locate private utilities?

  • Connection to a direct lead
  • Connection to a grounded utility
  • Induction

What private utilities cannot be located?

  • Non-metallic utilities
  • Plastic pipes: irrigation pipe, drain tile, PVC pipes, septic drain field
  • Gas lines that are plastic without a metal casing or tracer wire

What is fault locating?
Fault locating finds grounded shorts (nicks) or opens (breaks) in private electrical lines. A grounded fault is when the damaged wire makes direct contact with the ground.

What does the fault locating process include?

  • Both ends of the faulted electrical line must be disconnected by the homeowner or contractor.
  • The wires are tested to find faulted wire or wires
  • The fault is located
  • Once a fault is located it is dug up by the homeowner or contractor, the wires are cut and both end are stripped. The wires are re-tested in both directions
  • The testing and fault locating continues until all faults are located
  • It is the responsibility of the homeowner or contractor to repairs the faults.

What other services are offered?

  • Locate irrigation zone valves
  • Locate pinched irrigation pipes