509th CES streamlines dig permitting process

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Joseph Garcia
  • 509th bomb Wing

The 509th Civil Engineer Squadron recently streamlined their process for locating buried utility lines prior to excavations, saving both time and money.

Using $20,000 in innovation funding that they secured over the course of five years, the 509th CES purchased two radio detection locators, allowing their Airmen to find underground electrical, water, and telecommunications lines.

Previously, whenever CES needed to dig anywhere on base, they had to hire a contractor to come and locate these utility lines.

“Although the end result is the same, the difference is in the process itself,” said Master Sgt. Arthur Barnachea, 509th Civil Engineer facilities superintendent. “Our team is now equipped to execute utility locates in-house during emergencies and to prioritize local lines.”

Knowing the location of buried utility lines, and thus being able to avoid damaging them while digging and impacting buildings that use those lines, is crucial to the excavation process.

Having CES Airmen able to perform utility surveys and eliminating the need to hire a contractor has multiple benefits.

“Performing utility surveys in-house expedites the process,” said Master Sgt. Ashley Young, 509th Civil Engineer operations engineering superintendent. “This provides valuable training to our Airmen and reduces our cost per survey by over $3,000.”

Last year, CES spent $35,600 on 11 utility locates at an average of $3,226 per locate. Purchasing the locators will reduce that cost to about $160 per survey.

Additionally, Barnachea said that Airmen are able to expand their skill sets and advance the unit’s capabilities.

The investment in the new locators should have multiple benefits for Team Whiteman. It will pay for itself in cost savings. Dig permits can be issued faster, making it easier to respond to emergencies quickly. Finally, Airmen are learning new capabilities that make them more versatile warfighters.