• Thu. May 19th, 2022

Ontario Dig Safe Month Reminds Homeowners and Contractors to Call or Click Before You Dig

ByLinda W. Smith

Apr 22, 2022

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April marks the start of gardening and backyard projects, as well as the start of Ontario Dig Safe month. This is a great time for homeowners and contractors to remember that they are legally required to locate underground utilities before beginning any landscaping or construction project. Utility locate requests can be made on the website at OntarioOneCall.ca or by calling 1-800-400-2255.

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Hitting wires, pipes or cables can cause breakdowns, bodily injury and even death. It can also mean fines and other penalties, depending on the magnitude of the impact; Ontario law holds responsible anyone who causes damage to underground infrastructure.

“We’ve all heard the horror stories,” says Brian Adams, owner of West Shore Stone and Brick, which supplies products for various types of landscaping and construction jobs. “A homeowner thinks he knows where the lines are on his property and ends up hitting the fiber optic lines and there’s an outage in the area. It’s not good.”

Adams and his team know that the law requires utility locator services to take place before any digging begins. Although this is common practice for entrepreneurs, he has seen instances where the step was missed.

“We’ve heard of after-the-fact cases where a contractor rents a piece of equipment for a quick weekend job and takes a chance on having an incident,” he says. “It’s just not worth the risk.”

EPCOR, a member of Ontario One Call, is an active supporter and promoter of these safe practices.

“People may be surprised to learn that natural gas pipelines are often close to the surface,” says Mark Emmanuel, general manager, natural gas operations, EPCOR. “While natural gas lines are typically buried a minimum of 18 inches, digging even just 12 inches below surface can result in a line impact.”

Now that natural gas is present in the Municipality of Kincardine and is expanding to Huron-Kinloss and Arran-Elderslie this year, it is more important than ever to contact Ontario One Call before you dig. Homeowners should begin the process at least one week before work begins. Utility locate requests can be made on the website at OntarioOneCall.ca or by calling 1-800-400-2255.

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No matter the size of the project, whether it’s clearing the ground for a new flower bed or a deep excavation for a patio post or a swimming pool, the location of public services is essential.

Once the request is made, locators visit the property to identify underground infrastructure, using specific colors for power, water, drainage, natural gas, internet and cable TV lines. Once marked, work can begin.

“At EPCOR, safety is our top priority, for our employees and our customers,” says Emmanuel. “Dig Safe Month is a great opportunity to learn what essential utilities are running under our homes and how to keep everyone safe while carrying out your outdoor or summer projects.”

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