Whether you’re starting a new backyard garden, planting a tree or digging the footings for a fence or deck, any time you’re planning to put a shovel into the ground, you should be aware of hazards that might lie just below the surface.
In Ontario, before you dig any holes in your property, you’re legally required to request a “locate” to check which utilities and other services might be hiding underground.
Here is a list of 5 things that you definitely don’t want to dig up accidentally.
Natural gas: Natural gas is the most common fuel source for household heating in Canada and a network of underground pipes crisscross the country. If equipment punctures a buried gas line, there could be a dangerous leak.
Hydro: Blackouts are never fun. Accidentally cutting power to your home – or several of your neighbours – is not only inconvenient, it puts you at risk of electrocution.
Sewage: In urban areas, the sewage lines generally run from the front of the house toward the street. But if you’re in a rural area and on a septic system, the piping will run toward the tank.
Telecom cables: While many of us have given up our landlines by now, we’d be at a loss if we accidentally severed the TV or fibre optic internet cable.
Irrigation: If you have an in-ground irrigation system, it’s usually obvious where the sprinkler heads are, but you won’t be able to see the supply lines. Ask your installer to provide you with a map of where they run.
Before doing any digging, you must contact the non-profit organization called Ontario One Call to request a utility locate for free. This organization will notify the utility companies, who will then come to physically mark the locations of buried public utilities on your property or issue a clearance allowing you to dig. You can learn more about underground utilities and request a locate at ontarioonecall.ca