This is the time of year many home gardeners are tilling up plots, putting new beds in, revamping old beds and planting trees or bushes. In many areas, utility lines are in the ground meaning there is a very good chance you could sever one of them. The rule of thumb before digging anywhere on your property is to get free line locates. In our case, the possible lines include: telephone/satellite, cable tv, water, hydro and natural gas. If there are any registered easements on your property, chances are good
they are for utilities meaning the is a very good probability of
finding utility lines in the ground in the easement. Even if you don't use a service the lines could still be below where you want to dig. For example, we don't use cable tv but there is a junction box next door only about 18 - inches from the property line. It's reasonable to speculate that we could possibly have a cable tv line running through our property. We have hydro, telephone, satellite (phone line), natural gas and water. Of those the phone lines are quite easy to sever because they aren't buried very deep in the ground.
In Ontario, Canada the line locates are free which means you should use them before digging. If you sever a utility line you are held responsible for the repair costs, any resulting damages, you are fined and you be sued. A few years ago, a guy was doing a bit of digging and severed the fiber optics line running between two communities. Both communities were without internet until the line was repaired. Just imagine the costs and legal penalties if that severed line led to the death of another person which could easily happen if you were to sever a telephone line! In Ontario, Canada homeowners and contractors are require by law under the Occupation Health and Safety Act of Ontario to ascertain the location of buried natural gas pipes.
In Ontario, Canada use the ON1Call service. Simply fill out the form online. If you don't hear from them within 2 business days call 1-800-400-2255. You may have to call one or more utility companies as well if they are not part of ON1Call service. Line locates generally are completed within 5 to 7 business days after making your request. You should not dig before the lines are clearly marked on your property.
Lines will be marked usually with flags and spray paint according the utility service. The flag colours are:
- red - electricity
- yellow - gas, oil, steam, chemical
- orange - communication, cable tv
- blue - water
- green - sewer, storm drain
- pink - temporary survey markings
- white - proposed excavation