This weekend we decided to catch the last day of the 2013 Chicago Flower & Garden Show over at Navy Pier. We'd actually considered exhibiting (for Nature's Little Recyclers) at this, but it was still a bit early in our developing “the worm biz” to be trying to run a booth for ten days!
Our goal at the show was to find people with interesting new systems or projects, which spoke to “green tech” in Chicago. As anybody who has been to the Flower Show knows, most of the emphasis the is on pretty gardens, and with exhibitors selling things to make one's garden prettier, be that with flats of flowers, fountains and other construction, or various do-hickeys that might make one's gardening efforts easier. This limited our scope of possible interview subjects, but we did talk to some folks with engaging pitches.
First among these was David Van Wy from J.U.L.I.E., the Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators service:
I found two points he made particularly interesting; first of all, the service is totally free, both the connection through their group and the visits from the utilities to mark where their lines are … I would have expected this to have been a significant expense, but I guess it's cheaper for the groups involved to prevent damage by sending our teams to mark the locations than it is to send out emergency crews to fix breaks. The second point that surprised me was that this is for “excavations” of any depth, not mattering, as Van Wy says here, “if it's two inches or two feet”.
Their brochure (and the info's also available on their web site) shows eight different colored flags that are used, each representing a different buried line, gas, electric, water, phone/cable, sewers, etc. What's also of note is that the law requires you to call before you dig, so even if you're just doing some gardening, if you cut a line, you are likely to be in trouble if you didn't check in first!
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