Drain cleaning caution urged

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A Quebec gas utility is once again urging caution in drain cleaning due to the danger of gas lines that may have been inadvertently torpedoed through sewer lines.

The North American natural gas industry has been using trenchless technology to run underground gas lines for 40 years. Occasionally, those gas lines can intersect a sewer line creating a “cross-bore” and a serious danger to a drain cleaning contractor who uses a drain snake to clear the line without first checking to see what is causing the blockage, warns Énergir (formerly Gaz Metro), headquartered in Montreal.

“Drilling has considerable advantages as it minimizes inconvenience and damage to private property and roadways by avoiding having to dig trenches along the entire route. While rare, it is possible that a natural gas line may cross a sewer line during drilling,” remarked Énergir’s Maude Hébert-Chaput. “Énergir has implemented a procedure to minimize the occurrence of this type of situation, but its success hinges everyone’s cooperation.”

The company is working to:

  • Create awareness amongst plumbers, drainage companies and municipalities about the issue;
  • It is designing a program to identify and correct existing cross bores; and
  • It has improved location and installation methods to identify problems before starting a job.

Énergir urges Quebec contractors to contact its Info-Excavation line at 1-800-663-9228 before making any attempt to clear a blocked sewer line to ensure there is no possibility of a cross-bore.

“Our priority at all times is the safety of our workers, partners and contractors, and citizens,” said Hébert-Chaput. For more information please visit www.energir.com.

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