April Dig Safe Month

Each April, Common Ground Alliances across North America, including the Canadian Common Ground Alliance (CCGA) and the members of its provincial counterparts, raise awareness about damage prevention and promote safe digging practices as part of Dig Safe Month.

Dig Safe Month coincides with the unofficial start of the spring digging season and this campaign serves as a reminder to homeowners, contractors and others to CALL or CLICK before you dig.

Requesting Locates

Safe digging is a shared responsibility. Follow these steps to ensure you have the information you need to be able to dig safely:

  1. Plan ahead: Make sure you plan your project in advance and submit your locate request at least three full working days before you intend to start. If you can, mark your dig area with white paint.
  2. Submit your locate request online or by phone: Visit clickbeforeyoudig.com or call your local one-call centre to request that your buried facilities be located and marked. Make sure that your location and dig area are correctly and clearly identified in your request.
  3. Wait for the locate to be completed: Within three working days (Monday-Friday excluding holidays), the utility owners or their authorized locator will contact you or will come out to locate and mark the buried lines in your project area. They will provide you with detailed information about the markings and how to proceed safely. You must keep this documentation with you on site throughout the duration of your digging activities.
  4. Identify any customer-owned utility lines: Customer-owned lines, such as sprinkler systems, water and sewer service lines, and any lines connecting buildings on a property, are not registers with One-Call. It is your responsibility to identify them. You can contact a private locator to mark these lines on your property, as well as check that the markings align with any documentation you have from their installation.
  5. Dig with care: Respect the marks and use hand-tools to carefully expose the lines if you are digging anywhere within one metre on either side of the markings (or five metres from high-pressure pipelines). If the utility owner has given you any specific instructions, make sure you follow them.

You can find more information about how to request locates online here.

Additional Considerations:

  • Lines need to be marked for each separate project, with a separate locate request made for each dig area.
  • Every year, the estimated cost of damaging buried utilities in Canada is more than $1 billion.
  • Hitting an underground utility line while digging can cause serious injuries, disrupt service to entire neighborhoods, and potentially result in fines and repair costs.
  • Even minor marks or dents can compromise a buried utility’s overall integrity and lead to problems at a later date.