Residential Sewer & Cross Bore Safety

Know what's below

Know what's below, call before you clear.

Do it the safe way

If you or your plumber have discovered a blocked sewer line, here are the important next steps you need to take:

The crucial steps:

1
Stop all work

2
Contact Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255

3
Someone must be on the site of the blocked sewer location

4
Let the professionals ensure a natural gas line is not the source of the problem

How to recognize if a gas line has been hit...

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A natural gas odour in the area, which smells like rotton eggs.

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Bubbles rising through standing water, or in the toilet bowl

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A hissing sound or blowing dirt

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If you notice any of these signs, leave the area right away and then call 911

You should also know

These are treated as high priority calls, so Ontario One Call immediately notifies our service providers who will dispatch a representative to verify if you do or don’t have a cross bore on your property.

Since we will likely need access to the structure, someone MUST be on the site of the blocked sewer location, or One Call cannot make it an emergency locate.  The person who is on site can be the homeowner, but we prefer that it is the sewer cleaning contractor.

The Union Gas representative locates the natural gas lines, and works with the plumber or resident as required to locate the sewer line to ensure there is no potential conflict. This service is provided at no cost.

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Sewer Safety Inspections are treated as emergency calls and we target a response time of one to two hours (perhaps longer in some rural/remote areas).

In some cases, Union Gas may call in a specialized video provider who will launch a camera from the sewer main to determine the location and depth of the sewer. If the camera reveals that there is a cross bore, or a potential cross bore, our reps will respond to the site to excavate, and determine if there is (or is not) a cross bore.

Union Gas, property owners, plumbers and municipalities all have a role to play to prevent dangerous consequences of unintended cross bore intersections. For us, it’s a safety issue, plain and simple.

Tips for homeowners

  • It's important to ask your contractor or plumber if they have contacted Ontario One Call.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions of a plumber or contractor. If a plumber inadvertently hits a natural gas line, gas could be released into your sewer system and travel into your house.
  • An inspection should be requested if motorized drain cleaning or high pressure water jetting equipment will be used beyond the four walls of the structure.
  • Flushing the sewer line with hot water or using fish tapes or non-rotating rodders won’t damage a natural gas line if it has intersected the sewer line. These methods may be safely used to clear a blocked sewer.
  • Make sure you know where your sewer cleanout is located and it is easily accessible.

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