A Quebec gas utility is urging caution during drain cleaning due to the risk of gas lines that may have inadvertently been moled through sewer lines.
Énergir, a Québec local gas distributor, is asking contractors to call to have the gas line located before running a drain snake or auger out beyond the foundation of a home or building. The utility is also asking contractors to immediately report any cross-bores they find when using a drain camera. The plumbing contractor will be compensated for any time delays caused by the inspection and remediation if required, no matter how long it takes, reports the utility.
The North American natural gas industry has been using trenchless technology to run underground gas lines for over 50 years. And while the technology has improved substantially with better location and installation methods, cross-bores still occasionally occur.
“We haven’t actually had any incidents involving a plumber hitting a cross-bore, but we want to remind plumbers to keep calling us (to locate the gas line) to prevent it,” reported Énergir communications advisor Élise Ducharme Rivard.
The company has a program where it examines its files from the past to identify areas where trenchless technology was used. They then inspect the installation to determine if there is a cross-bore and rectify it.
In 2019 Énergir conducted a pilot project to inspect sewer lines with a camera. “We are trying to pursue that, but we are trying to find the most effective methods to do so. The utility has thousands of kilometres of gas piping in Quebec, so it is a challenge to inspect all the areas where there might be a risk, she added.
Énergir is also collaborating with municipalities to share the location of sewer lines in order to cross-reference it with gas lines.
Énergir urges Quebec contractors to contact Info-Excavation at 1-800-663-9228, before attempting to clear a blocked sewer line to ensure there is not a cross-bore.
“Our priority at all times is the safety of our workers, partners, contractors and citizens.” For more information, please visit www.energir.com.