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B.C. government, FortisBC reminds public to 'dig safely' in April

Safe digging practices can prevent damage to natural gas lines and other underground cables
FortisBC is reminding British Columbians to call BC 1 Call before they dig. Photo: FortisBC

Whether you’re at home in your backyard or at an excavation site, the B.C. government is encouraging safe practices before digging into the ground.

April is Dig Safe Month in B.C. and homeowners and contractors are reminded to “click or call” BC 1 Call before digging.

Damage to telecommunication cables, electricity wires, natural gas lines, water mains and sewer lines, which are often buried underground, can be prevented by checking with BC 1 Call before the digging starts, said the government in a media release.

Ninety per cent of damages to B.C.’s natural gas lines can be prevented if the public followed safe excavation practices, according to Michelle Petrusevich, public safety manager at FortisBC.

Petrusevich said it is important for homeowners and contractors to know where underground gas lines are before digging in yards and job sites.

She highlighted an incident where damage to a natural gas line by a third-party in Richmond had left 115 residents without natural gas late into the evening last Wednesday.

“When a natural gas line is damaged … it can have serious consequences, interrupt service and the damager can also be on the hook for costly repairs,” she said.

“April marks National Safe Digging Month as spring is often the time when homeowners and contractors start projects that involve digging or ground disturbance. As such, we want to remind everyone to work safely around our natural gas and electrical infrastructure and to click or call BC 1 Call prior to digging.”