3 facts about pipeline damage prevention legislation

If you follow this blog, you’ll know that we often write about the importance of safe digging. That’s because unauthorized excavation is a preventable cause of pipeline damage.

New legislation – Bill S-229 – is currently under review, to help the operators of underground infrastructure, including pipelines, prevent damage from people digging or excavating near their lines.

Here are three facts you should know about safe digging, and the proposed legislation:

1. What Bill S-229 will mean

Bill S-229 will build on, and enforce, the ‘click before you dig’ principle. According to the Canadian Common Ground Alliance (CCGA), it will:

    1. Require operators of underground infrastructure that is federally regulated or on federal land to register the infrastructure with a notification centre.
    2. Require people who are planning to dig to first make a locate request with the relevant notification centre.
    3. Require operators of underground infrastructure to respond to locate requests by either locating or marking the ground, or providing a clear description of the location of the underground infrastructure in the vicinity of the proposed excavation, or providing an all-clear to proceed with excavation.

2. Why the bill is important

Our country has a vast network of underground infrastructure, transporting the services we rely on every day. Wherever you work or live, there’s a good chance there are power or telecommunications cables, water or sewer lines, pipelines or other services, right underneath your feet.

When people dig or excavate without first checking for the location of these facilities, they are in danger of hitting and damaging critical underground infrastructure.

3. Your role in damage prevention

If you are planning any project where the ground will be disturbed, such as building a fence, you should always call or click before you dig. Your local one-call operator will notify the owners of the underground infrastructure, who will then come out and mark any buried utilities or services you might come into contact with in the course of your project. Taking this vital step is the only way to ensure you won’t damage underground infrastructure.

You can read more about safe digging in our damage prevention fact sheet, and these blog posts: