Pipeline damage prevention: what does dig mean?

Preventing pipeline damage is everyone’s responsibility – and the number one way to do this is by calling before you dig.

What do we mean by “dig”?

Well, that term can refer to many construction and excavation activities, including:

  • Planting a tree
  • Installing fence posts
  • Fixing or improving an existing ditch, drain tile or fence
  • Building a berm
  • Constructing roads, paving, parking, driveways, ditches, railways, overhead or underground utilities
  • Altering the grade or deep tilling the soil
  • Operating non-agricultural equipment or vehicles on or over the pipeline right-of-way (ROW)
  • Encroaching on the ROW with services or other utilities
  • Operating vehicles or mobile equipment over the ROW where a roadway does not exist
  • Reducing the depth of soil covering the pipeline
  • Ploughing deeper than 30 cm (1 foot)
  • Ground leveling
  • Installing drainage systems
  • Augering
  • Landscaping

This is not an exhaustive list, so it’s important to remember that no matter what your project is, it may impact a pipeline.

“Anyone planning an outdoor project that requires any type of digging, regardless of depth or project size, should always call or click before they dig. The impact of unsafe or careless digging practices is real and often costly – in terms of personal injury, damage to property and the environment, and the repair of buried facilities,” says Warren Loper, Supervisor, Damage Prevention at Enbridge.

Preventing pipeline damage is a shared responsibility and it starts with you. If you’re planning a construction or excavation project, make calling before you dig the first step.

Find the toll-free one-call number in your province and always call it, or contact the pipeline company, before you start your project.

For more information on pipeline damage prevention and your responsibilities:


The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 110,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada. In 2011, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Our members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil from producing regions to markets throughout North America.