Saturday, October 20, 2012

Call before you dig!

 Call before you dig.

Everyone has seen the advertisements on television, the internet or on a billboard. Ads that show a shovel or a backhoe and words in large print “call before you dig!”

This might sound like a bit of a joke but it’s not. You wouldn’t believe the things that are in the ground today and in places that you would never imagine them to be. Almost everything that is important is buried under the ground now.

A lot of people tend to think that most important things are buried deep in the ground and that the chances of you hitting them are very slim, that’s actually a false hood. Certain things are buried not very deep at all and are installed in the ground like this for a variety of reasons.

Phone, internet and cable are usually only buried deep enough that you wouldn’t see them. They are usually installed 4 to 6 inches below the surface when they are servicing a single home; this is usually some ones lawn. The larger bundles of cable can be anywhere from 1 ft in the ground to 10 feet in the ground depending on when they were installed, why they were installed and by whom.

The only thing that is guaranteed to be buried below a certain depth is the city water lines or the lines from a well. Water supply lines have to be installed at least 4 feet below the surface of the ground in most cold climates. This is because 4 feet is what most people believe will be below any ground freezing that can happen during the winter.

Most sewer lines are below the 4 foot mark but not always, sometimes when you are restricted by the amount of distance you have to travel to the main sewer line they will allow you to come above the 4 foot mark. They allow you to do that because your sewer lines are installed on a slope to allow sewage to flow, this insures that nothing sits in the same place very long and doesn’t have time to freeze in place.

Gas lines are another story altogether, gas lines are you usually bored in under roads or driveways or under lawns and they can be anywhere from 6 inches below the surface to 10 feet below the surface. Gas lines are one of the most dangerous things to dig up, if you sever a gas line you could blow yourself up or burn down someone’s house.
The cost to fix gas lines, internet lines, large bundles of cable or hydro lines can get really expensive really fast. The only way to protect yourself is to call (in Ontario Canada) Ontario One call. They will survey the area for you and mark anything under the ground and give you a map with depth and distance on it.
Ontario One call does a lot of the things buried under the ground but it doesn’t do them all, to find out where the city water and sewer lines are you have to call your local municipality and they will come out and locate them.

The great thing about when you call either of these groups to come mark the ground is that if you break something and it wasn’t on the map or was suppose at another location then you don’t have to pay for it to be fixed.

So remember to call before you dig! It might save you a lot of time and it could save your life as well.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

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