Before you Dig!

    Essential precautions

    Did you know that three-quarters of the breaks to underground pipes are caused by the clumsiness or negligence of the people digging?

    Around your house, there may be essential underground systems like these that you and your neighbours rely on:

                • Gas lines;
                • Power lines; 
                • Television cables.

    Before starting any work that calls for digging, be it to install a pool, fence or patio, you or your contractor must contact Info-Excavation : Online Locate Request with Info-ex or 1 800 663-9228.

    It's free!

    Every broken pipe means that the fire department and Gaz Métro's emergency service are called to intervene.

    Gaz Métro is a member of Info-Excavation, the Alliance pour la protection des infrastructures souterraines du Québec.

    The depth of natural gas pipes varies.

    While the pipes themselves do not move, the contours of the land where they are located may have changed over the years. 

    You should therefore dig either manually or with vacuum excavation equipment to check first, so you can avoid damaging any underground structures.

    For more information

    For more information and to know what you need to take into account when planning and carrying out your work, see the Guidelines for working near natural gas pipelines.

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    The cross-bores

    The natural gas industry has been using trenchless technology for years to install its underground infrastructures.  While this approach saves time, is cost-effective and has little impact on the environment, some natural gas lines installed using this technique may have inadvertently intersected with a sewer service line.

    Some cases therefore call for being extra vigilant.  I you try to clear a blocked sewer service line using mechanical tools or a high-pressure water jet, you could inadvertently damage a natural gas line.  This could cause a gas leak, creating a potentially dangerous situation.

    The solutions

    Gaz Métro has implemented three solutions to the cross-bore problem:

    • Inform, train and alert plumbers, drainage companies and municipalities about this possible situation on the natural gas network;
    • Implement a program to identify and correct cross bores on the network;
    • Improve installation methods and prevention techniques for drilling installations (when used) before beginning the work (inspection of sanitary and storm water sewers by camera or a verification by excavation).

    Important safety precautions

    Before you start work on unblocking a sewer service line, important safety measures are necessary:

    • Call Info-Excavation at 1 800 663-9228 and select the emergency option.
    • If Info-Excavation can confirm that there is no interference between the natural gas and sewer service lines, you will be given verbal authorization and a file number indicating you can proceed.
    • If there are natural gas lines, a crew will be sent to the site to locate the natural gas and the sewer service lines.
    • If a natural gas line does interfere with the blocked sewer service line, the situation will be corrected immediately and a document will be issued subsequently, allowing you to proceed with the work.

    Thank you for your cooperation.  For any additional information, please call Customer Service at 1 800 875-6202.

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