Call Before You Clear

Call Before You Clear

Your line might not be fine

Call Before You Clear

Recognize the danger

Some underground natural gas pipes may have been unintentionally installed through sewer pipes – a situation known as a cross bore. Although this is rare, the pipes can co-exist safely and go undetected until the sewer pipe is blocked and needs to be cleared.

What you need to know before clearing

Mechanical plumbing tools could easily damage natural gas pipes and lead to a dangerous natural gas leak. To ensure there are no conflicts with underground gas lines you must contact Ontario One Call before you attempt to clear the blockage.

It’s free. It’s easy. It’s safe.

illustration of a sewer pipe cross-section with intersecting natural gas line known as a cross bore

Here’s How To Protect Yourself

If you have a backed-up sewer, call Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255 before you or a plumber attempts to clear the line. This service is free.

Ontario One Call will notify the service provider in your area who will verify as soon as possible if you do or do not have a cross bore on your property.

If there are no cross bores, clearing activities can proceed. If there is a potential cross bore the appropriate utility will be notified to fix the issue.

Blocked sewer line? Call Ontario One Call for an Emergency Sewer Safety Inspection

These inspections are available 24/7 and treated as emergency calls with a goal of resolving the issue as quickly as possible.

illustration of sewer pipe running below a home with intersecting natural gas line and a warning not to auger the sewer cross bore

Frequently Asked Questions

Does This Affect Me?

Instances of natural gas lines intersecting sewer lines are rare but they have been found across Ontario. Cross bores may be present for years with no indication or immediate hazard prior to a sewer blockage. However, once clearing equipment is used outside the walls of a building, there is potential for this equipment to damage a gas line. If the gas line is damaged through sewer cleaning activities, natural gas may enter the sewer line and pose an immediate safety risk. A cross bore has the potential to exist even if there is no gas service to a property.

What Is A Cross Bore?

A cross bore is an unintended intersection of an existing underground utility such as a sewer or septic line by a natural gas line. This happens when utilities are installed using trenchless installation techniques such as directional drilling or boring.

Because the drilling operator can’t see the head of the equipment or other buried utilities during installation, they rely on accurate “locates” to show them the location of other existing underground utilities. Unlike other types of underground utilities, sewers are traditionally difficult to locate. They are made of non-metallic materials and are installed without any type of aid to allow them to be located from above ground.

Since the identification of the cross bore risk, utilities have implemented practices to eliminate the potential risk of creating new cross bores.

When Should I Call?

The most important thing you can do is have yourself or your plumber call Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255 and request a FREE sewer safety inspection before using mechanical clearing/cutting or high-pressure water jetting equipment to try to clear a blockage outside the walls of the building. A blocked sewer can be a stressful situation and you’ll want it resolved fast. That’s why these inspections are available 24/7 and treated as emergency calls with a goal of resolving the issue as quickly as possible.

Is There Any Cost To Me?

No, the inspections performed are FREE.