Confirming the Location of Our Underground Utilities

We’re trying to get our CUDO cistern installed next week so that item is completed and stroked off ‘the list’ (an achievement for 2009).  This will require excavating so we need to confirm where the underground utilities are located.  Call before you dig …

Harvesting Rainwater at 17509 Via Sereno for Irrigation

Our plan is to harvest 100% of the rainwater from our roof and just under 100% of the rainwater from our hardscape for irrigation (the water from the driveway will flow into a small swale).  The water will be stored in an underground CUDO cistern (with capacity of 3,677 gallons).  We will have a pump in the cistern that will be connected to our irrigation system so we will avoid using potable water for irrigation.

LEED Points

Our design will provide LEED points in a number of areas.  Under WE 1.1 Water Reuse, we will get 3 (of 4) points for harvesting rainwater for external use.  We cannot use water inside the house so we are giving up one point here.  Since our system is designed to harvest rainwater from 100% of the roof area, we are eligible for an additional point for Exemplary Performance.

Also, we will receive points under SS 4 Surface Water Management under Sustainable Sites.  Specifically, we will receive 3 of 4 points for having over 90% of the hardscape surface water going to a cistern (SS 4.1 Permeable Lot), 2 of 2 points for Management of Runoff from Roof (SS 4.4) since we installed permanent stormwater controls to manage runoff from the home and we had a professional engineer design our lot to manage runoff from our home on site.  

Consequently, our complete underground CUDO cistern system will result in 9 LEED points (of 136 possible points).

Underground Requirements

Once the underground CUDO cistern is full, any additional water will flow to the back of the storm drain in an underground 6-inch pipe.  This design was approved by the Town of Los Gatos (they own the storm drain) and the City of Monte Sereno.  Yes, we will require easements fro  m each municipality.

The 6-inch underground pipe needs clear access to the back of the storm drain and it will go under the sidewalk.  This is where we need clear access from other utilities.  All of the services on Via Sereno are underground so we need to ensure the cable TV (Comcast), telephone (Verizon), water and sewer (San Jose Water Company), electricity and natural gas (PG&E) and street lighting and not located where we will be digging.

So … we marked our excavation locations with white paint and called USA (Underground Service Alert) so they could visit the site and identify where all of the underground services are located.

White paint showing where we plan to excavate from the underground CUDO cistern, under the sidewalk, to the back of the storm drain.

White paint showing where we plan to excavate from the underground CUDO cistern, under the sidewalk, to the back of the storm drain.

We’re Clear to Dig!

We received notification that all of the service providers (Verizon, PG&E, etc.) had been to our site and marked the location of their underground services.  There are no underground services in the path from our underground CUDO cistern to the back of the storm drain – we’re clear to dig!

Our biggest concern was that there could be some underground utilities in the dirt strip between the curb and sidewalk, which would increase the depth of the excavation for the drain and require us to dig by hand.

The markings are on Winchester Boulevard so there is nothing in the dirt strip at the left.  We're good.

The markings are on Winchester Boulevard so there is nothing in the dirt strip at the left. We're good!

Markings on the curb and sidewalk.  Note the very faint marking by the light standard showing the power source is going toward the sidewalk and not into the path of where we need to dig.

Markings on the curb and sidewalk. Note the very faint marking by the light standard showing the power source is going toward the sidewalk and not into the path of where we need to dig.

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