It’s common for technical industries to develop their own jargon over time. Jargon is complex industry-specific language used in a particular trade, profession, group, or field of study. Sometimes jargon can be seen as convoluted or excluding, but it’s often necessary to communicate specific technical information.
Here are some common and uncommon words and phrases that you may come across when researching or communicating about utility locating, concrete imaging, leak detection, CCTV video pipe inspection, and more. Note that these are broad definitions meant to clarify the essential meaning for an average reader.
811 Service: This is a state-provided public utility locating service to prevent public utility strikes. It’s often referred to by different names depending on the state, such as DigAlert, Digline, OneCall, etc. 811 services are limited to public utilities exclusively as they do not account for private utilities.
Acoustic Leak Detector: Equipment that uses sensitive listening technology to help Leak Detection Specialists locate water leaks within water lines under the ground’s surface via subtle audio signals.
Aerial Site Imagery: A general term meant to describe a method of imaging a site using aerial technology such as satellites or drones. Often allowing clients to get a real-time image of their campus.
Building Facade Imagery: Using aerial drones, we can capture images for areas that structural engineers review. These drones can capture areas that top-down photography is typically unable to see.
CAD: Computer-Aided Design uses computers to digitally render 2D or 3D objects often used for modeling purposes.
CCTV Crawlers: Closed Circuit Television Crawlers are small remote-controlled vehicles used to move through and investigate sewer pipes for VPI services.
CMU: A Concrete Masonry Unit is a standard concrete block used in building construction. Some of these are more commonly referred to as cinder blocks.
Concrete Imaging: A service offered by some private GPR companies. Concrete Imaging typically uses ground penetrating radar to visually show what is within or underneath a concrete structure.
Concrete Slab: Concrete slabs are common elements in modern structures composed of a horizontal and flat surface made of cast concrete.
Conduits: A tube that houses electrical wires used in various construction or structural applications.
Coring: Concrete coring uses a diamond cutting drill to cut a perfect circle in any concrete structure.
Cross Bore: A pipe piercing through an existing pipe. This often occurs when companies unknowingly puncture existing pipes while installing new pipes directionally.
Electromagnetic Locators: A broad term for utility locating equipment that is often referred to as a pipe and cable locator.
EMI: Electromagnetic Induction is a method for locating various objects and determining the conductivity of soils by using induced electromagnetic fields.
Field Markings: Markings placed on the surfaces of an area serviced to communicate information to clients, often through paint, flags, or stakes.
GIS: Geographic Information Systems are digital systems of viewing maps, often created using satellite images.
GPR: Ground Penetrating Radar is a device that sends radar signals using an antenna into the ground that is then reflected up into the antenna. The device’s computer creates an image for a GPR expert to analyze.
Green Box Guarantee: A propriety GPRS program designed to communicate to customers which areas of an elevated concrete slab are clear of obstruction by designating them with a green box.
Ground Disturbance Plan: A ground disturbance plan is a consultation that denotes the rules and regulations of one should penetrate the ground, often referred to as an excavation safety policy.
KMZ: Map locations are stored in zip-compressed KML format that can be viewed in various geographic information system (GIS) applications. Features can be recorded as points, lines, or polygons. Various information can be attached to these such as photos, descriptions, coordinates, and more.
Lateral Launch Camera: A video tool used as a sewer inspection system that allows private utility locator technicians to inspect laterals from the sewer mainline. This service can perform cross bore investigations and map the interior condition of hard-to-reach pipes.
Leak Detection: A service provided by private companies where leak detection technicians use specialized leak detection equipment to locate subsurface pipe leaks.
Leak Detection Specialist: GPRS refers to our leak technicians as Leak Detection Specialists.
Leak Noise Correlator: Leak Detection Correlators are specialized electronic devices used to locate leaks in water lines and pipes. Sensors are placed on both sides of the pipe. These sensors send information to each over via radio. An automated process identifies each suspected leak location and displays it on the main control unit.
Line: Often, wires, pipes, and other utilities that run under the ground are called lines.
Locate: In the GPR industry, locate is often used as a noun. Public and private locators refer to their locating projects as a locate.
Magnetometers: Instruments that detect magnetic fields from ferrous, metallic objects. Private companies will typically use it to detect isolated, metallic objects such as USTs, valves, manholes, and wellheads.
Mainline Inspection: An inspection on the main sewer line, typically through VPI or Video Pipe Inspection services.
Manhole Inspection: These inspections are investigation processes to ensure the integrity and safety of a sewer manhole.
Monitoring Wells: A well that is designed and installed for obtaining representative groundwater quality samples. Typically to monitor and detect seepage and groundwater quality near a storage or treatment facility that stores agricultural waste.
NASSCO: The National Association of Sewer Service Companies is an industry source for trenchless technology education, resources, and advocacy.
NDT: Non-Destructive Testing is a method of investigation which allows subsurface locators to examine an area without digging, coring, concrete cutting, concrete sawing, trenching, excavating, or otherwise disturbing an area.
Non-Revenue Water: Water leaking from water line infrastructure before it reaches a private water meter, accruing costs for the water distribution facilities.
Phase I Investigation: Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (Phase 1 ESAs) are due diligence investigations used to assess whether hazardous materials are present on a property and determine the risk to prospective purchasers, owners, operators, insurers, and lenders.
Phase II Investigation: Phase II ESAs typically consist of collecting soil, soil gas, vapor intrusion samples, and groundwater samples and then sending these to a lab to determine whether the operations have caused environmental contamination.
Post-Tension Cables: Concrete construction uses post-tension cables to enable thinner slabs and longer spans between columns. Cables made of steel wires encased in plastic sheaths are tensioned and grouted after the concrete is poured.
Project Manager: At GPRS, we refer to our certified technicians as Project Managers. This differentiation is implemented to set them apart and to denote their capabilities to oversee customer projects in their entirety.
Push Camera: A small camera system can be manually fed into pipes smaller than 6 inches. Each camera is equipped with a sonde to locate the pipe, laterals, and obstructions and the ability to record video.
Routine Water Loss Inspection: A service performed to reduce water loss. Water often leaks from the current pipe infrastructure, and Routine Water Loss inspections are services used to reduce water loss before it becomes an acute issue.
Sewer Lateral: An underground pipe connecting a residence or business to the city’s sewer system.
SIM: Subsurface Investigation Methodology is a standard for utility locators ensuring expertise in equipment, rigorous training, and up-to-date methodology.
Slab-On-Grade: A type of concrete slab that rests directly on the ground below.
Sondes: A transmitter that is usually inserted or sent through a pipe that sends an electromagnetic signal that EM locating equipment can detect above ground.
Subsurface Damage: Damage that occurs on underground pipes, lines, and utilities.
SUE: Subsurface Utility Engineering is a branch of engineering that involves the investigation of buried utilities that adheres to strict standards and processes.
Thermal Imaging: Thermal imaging uses specialized cameras and sensors to detect and display thermal contrast visually.
UAS Magnetometry: Unmanned Aerial System Magnetometry utilizes magnetometers to locate subsurface hazards.
UAS Thermography: Unmanned Aerial System Thermography utilizes thermographic imaging technology to locate subsurface hazards.
UST: Underground Storage Tanks are underground tanks that store petroleum or hazardous substances.
Utility Locating: Private and public utility locating companies provide this service to scan the ground for utilities non-destructively, often using ground penetrating radar and EM locators.
Vacuum Excavation: A method of excavating an area using water or air to weaken soil for vacuum excavating in order to prevent or mitigate utility damage.
Valve Exercising: A preventative measure to ensure water valves function correctly and efficiently.
VPI: Video Pipe Investigation is a sewer inspection service using industry-leading video cameras to find faults and defects by inspecting underground water, sewer lines, and lateral pipelines.