Dig safe – know what’s below

This article was published in June 2020 and may be outdated.

If you’re planning a home project that involves digging – fence post holes, planting shrubs, installing a sprinkler system, or putting in a flower bed – first find out if there are any underground natural gas and electrical lines. It could save your life and the lives of others.

Every year, homeowners and contractors in Manitoba hit and damage buried utility lines, often resulting in outages, costly repairs, injuries, lawsuits, and tragically, fatalities.

These incidents can be easily prevented with a free underground line location.

Manitoba Hydro is part of the Click Before You Dig MB service provided by the Manitoba Common Ground Alliance. A landowner or contractor can request natural gas and electrical line locates, along with other utility locates like telecommunications, with one online request or phone call.

Click Before You Dig MB is free, simple to use, and available 24/7. Once an online request is submitted and the locate is scheduled, Manitoba Hydro will mark underground natural gas and electrical lines free of charge, so work can proceed safely.

Plan ahead

You must send a locate request to Click Before You Dig MB at least three full work days before you begin any project that involves excavation or disturbing the ground deeper than 15 cm. If you don’t have access to a computer, you can call Click Before You Dig MB at 1-800-940-3447.

Dangers of hitting underground lines

The depth of buried gas lines and electrical cables can change over time, depending on the type of soil, 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 an explosion, injury, or even death;
  • cause a local or widespread natural gas disruption, including evacuation;
  • damage or destroy your excavation equipment;
  • be liable for the cost of repairs.