Buried Utility Lines

Whether you are landscaping, building a new fence or deck, or simply planting a garden, disturbing the ground on your property can cause damage to a buried utility. Some utilities are buried mere centimeters below the surface.

Before you disturb the ground for any reason: Know What’s Below.

Buried Utility Line

Buried Utility Line

Before starting your fence project you should contact an utility locator service such Alberta One-Call (1-800-242-3447) to request that the buried utilities on your property be located and marked at least two full working days before you plan to dig. Remember that during the busy Spring or Fall seasons, it may take longer for utility owners to respond, so please plan accordingly (Alberta One-Call will accept requests up to 14 days in advance).

Is it mandatory to place a locate request with the one-call system?

The Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Code, the Alberta Electrical Utility Code and the Alberta Pipeline Regulation require that the locations of all buried utilities be marked before a ground disturbance begins. This applies to anyone planning to disturb the ground, not just contractors.

What if I need locates sooner than two full working days?

Emergency or Priority locate requests can be placed by calling 1-800-242-3447. To make an Emergency or Priority request, you must be digging to perform a repair to correct a condition that poses an immediate threat to life, health or property – including repair of essential services such as water, power, phone or gas.

If you require locates sooner two full working days because your request was not placed in time, the utility owners and their locators will not likely be able to accommodate you any earlier than two full working days due to the volume of requests they are processing.

Do I have to be home to meet the locators?

No. Locators will mark your property when they are in the area and will leave documentation on site to explain the markings.

Exceptions: You may be required to meet with the locators if there is restricted access to the yard or the meter (e.g. a locked gate), if there is a dog in the yard or if you live in a multiple unit dwelling.

Why don’t the locators mark ALL of my utilities?

Most, but not all, utility owners have registered their lines with Alberta One-Call. There may be utilities on your property that we are unaware of.

The utility owners and their locators are unable to mark:

  • Privately installed lines (e.g. power from your house to your garage).
  • Secondary lines (e.g. electrical lines past the meter).
  • Customer-owned utilities (e.g. water and sewer lines are the responsibility of the property owner past the shut-off valve at the property line).
  • The utility company does not own these lines and therefore does not have any information about their location. In some areas, some utility owners may charge to mark these lines.

How do I know what other lines may be buried on my property? 

Sources of information on buried utilities that may be at the site of a proposed ground disturbance include:

  • Consider what services you use and if those utilities have been notified by Alberta One-Call (e.g. gas, power, water, phone, cable).
  • Land Titles: Check certificates of title to determine if a right of way, easement or caveat is registered against the property.
  • Local landowners or previous occupants.

How do I get the rest of my utilities marked?

There are several contract locators in Alberta who can perform secondary utility locates for a fee.

Why should I mark the work area with white paint?

White flags, stakes or paint may be used to provide the locators with an accurate understanding of the extent of your ground disturbance. Paint marks should be close enough together to clearly define the limits of the site. In winter conditions, use black or black and white to indicate where you are digging.

It has been two full working days and I have not had a response. Can I dig? 

No. It is not safe to dig until all locates have been completed, or you have been provided with clearance to dig from each utility owner notified on your locate request.

If a member of Alberta One-Call has been notified and has not contacted you within the two full working days advance notice period, or has failed to mark the locations of buried utilities as arranged, contact Alberta One-Call at 1-800-242-3447. THey will contact the member to expedite a response on your behalf.

How can I get an underground utility line, meter box or Pedestal box moved or relocated? 

Contact the customer service department of your service provider. To avoid confusion, request to have these items MOVED not relocated.

Information herein provide by Alberta One-Call. For more information on how to safely dig for your fence installation, please visit Alberta One-Call web site: http://www.albertaonecall.com/