Manitobans adopt Click Before You Dig

September 1, 2016

Manitobans have embraced an improved underground natural gas and electrical line-locate system recently introduced by Manitoba Hydro.

Manitoba Hydro joined Click Before You Dig earlier this year. Previously known as Call Before You Dig, the new free online system offers a more convenient way for homeowners and contractors to know where underground natural gas and electrical lines are located prior to any excavation.

Since April, more than 31,000 line-locate requests have been completed, an increase of 12 per cent compared to last year.

“We thank contractors and homeowners for keeping our communities safe by clicking before they dig,” said Brent Reed, Vice President of Customer Service and Distribution for Manitoba Hydro.

Reed said the goal of Click Before You Dig is to make it easier for homeowners and excavators to have underground line locates done in advance of projects big and small — everything from street renewal projects to building a deck or planting a tree.

“One of the biggest risks to public safety is accidental damage while digging around electric cables and natural gas pipelines,” Reed said. “Failure to follow the information and guidelines provided can damage a pipeline causing a leak or cut a cable causing a power outage.”

Manitoba Hydro customers no longer have to be on-site to sign the required line locate clearance form. The new system also features a shorter processing time that allows for a quicker start on projects where underground natural gas and electricity lines are present.

Once Manitoba Hydro receives the request from the electronic service, it schedules the line locate for the next available opportunity. The customer receives a comprehensive email by the end of the same day the locate was completed. The email provides the clearance form, an electronic map of the area with the hazards and dig area identified and links to every safe excavation practice they need to follow.

Reed said with a few more weeks left before winter, Manitoba Hydro encourages homeowners and contractors to continue to take greater advantage of Click Before You Dig.

“Every time the public contacts Click Before You Dig before a shovel hits the ground, it ensures a safe job site” he said.

Reed added it’s also the law to get underground line locates before digging. In Manitoba, The Gas Pipe Line Act requires all lines to be marked and located prior to excavating beyond 15 centimetres in depth.

See www.clickbeforeyoudigmb.com for more information.

Dangers of underground lines:

The depth of buried gas lines and electrical cables can change over time, depending on the type of soil covering them, erosion and other activities above ground, such as street-widening, landscaping or the installation of a new flower bed.

If you dig into the ground and hit an electrical line, you may:

  • cause a power outage;
  • suffer a serious injury from a shock or be electrocuted.

If you dig into the ground and hit a natural gas line, you may:

  • release natural gas which, if ignited, can cause injury or even death;
  • damage or destroy your excavation equipment;
  • cause a local or widespread natural gas disruption, including evacuation;
  • be liable for the cost of repairs.

For more information, please contact:
Scott Powell – Manager, Public Affairs, Manitoba Hydro
204-360-4417
SPowell@hydro.mb.ca