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Keeping a Destroyed Disc?


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Hey all - I haven't posted in forever - hope everyone is well.

Question:  I know of an old school building with a benchmark disk in its steps. It is slated to be torn down due to a catastrophic flood here in WV.  As plans move forward with demolition - what would be the best way to handle it if I would like to somehow keep the disc or donate it to the community etc?  Any solid advice would be appreciated.  Thanks in advance!  - David


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No one can give you permission to keep the disk, so don't ask.  Somewhere on the NGS site it says they should be sent back to NGS, but I've never heard of anyone doing that.

There is a procedure for doing a RESET to a nearby position before the old one is destroyed, and reporting the new elevation, but I think it takes a digital level instrument that relatively few surveyors have to get data that NGS will accept.

If this is in a local area with concerns about flooding, you might want to contact a local surveyor who does elevation certificates to alert them about the upcoming destruction.  They might want to do their own unofficial reset if that was one they depended on.

It is important to take photos proving the destruction, such as the disk in hand (if you aren't going to be there at the time or get hold of the disk try before and after photos of the site).  Send those to deb.brown@noaa.gov so she can mark the data sheet as destroyed.

It IS important to remove a destroyed disk from the area so no one creates confusion by putting it back near "where it used to be," although of course that won't happen to the one you are looking at.


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I went looking for BM cap from 1895 a few weeks ago. The location was in a residential area, and as I approached the coordinates I could see that a new driveway and some landscaping had just gone in. I feared that after 100 plus years of surviving I was going to find this one destroyed:mad: As I got closer, I could see that the driveway actually curved around the BM and it was undisturbed! When I met the property owner I thanked him for that! He didn't really know what it was but he appreciated the age of it and figured it was important.

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A year ago on vacation, I visited a reference mark from 1932 that was set in the typical concrete along a residential street. The homeowner saw me looking at it so we had a chat. He was a retired engineer, so had some appreciation for what it represented. He mentioned the city was about to start reconstructing the road and he was planning on talking to them about maintaining it. I was just on vacation again to the same area last weekend, and drove by the spot. The construction was completed, and unfortunately no sign of the reference mark anymore. I knocked on the guys door and he remembered meeting me last year and knew right away what I was looking for. He said he had talked to multiple people about it at the city and the contractor on the job about preserving it. He happened to be out the day they started demoing the sidewalk in front of his house, and when he came back home later that day the sidewalk and the mark were gone! He talked to the operator about it and apparently he played dumb, said nobody told him to preserve it. It was supposedly hauled off with the rest of the concrete sidewalk. He said he missed being there by about 30 minutes. He actually wanted to know who to report the operator to so he could be fined the $250 or better yet imprisoned!

I hate to see these get destroyed. I'm pretty sure this was the last remaining mark of the set for this this triangulation station.

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On ‎8‎/‎30‎/‎2017 at 11:24 AM, Amygdaloid said:

He actually wanted to know who to report the operator to so he could be fined the $250 or better yet imprisoned!

The United States Attorney's Office for the federal district the benchmark would have been in. But good luck in finding a US attorney interested enough to prosecute this particular offense. Although the mark says $250, the current fine is now a maximum of $5,000 as it is a Class B misdemeanor. The applicable statute can be found in Title 18 of the US Code:


§1858. Survey marks destroyed or removed

Whoever willfully destroys, defaces, changes, or removes to another place any section corner, quarter-section corner, or meander post, on any Government line of survey, or willfully cuts down any witness tree or any tree blazed to mark the line of a Government survey, or willfully defaces, changes, or removes any monument or bench mark of any Government survey, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.


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Despite the law, disks are routinely destroyed, paved over, bulldozed or permanently removed when the setting they are in is demolished.  I doubt very much those doing the demolition stop, remove the disk, and send it to Deb Brown.  There are many listings in my area where entire buildings with various types of marks on them have been demolished for decades and are still listed in the data base.  Numerous marks based on organic materials (trees, stakes) from a century ago are still listed though they are obviously nonexistent.  By all means report the change but do not expect the fact that is is no longer in place to result in a "destroyed" notation.


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