Make This Call Before Clearing a Blocked Sewer Line to Avoid Serious Safety Risk

Published on: 2023/02/06 - in News

Residents and business owners in Kingston are being reminded to take precautions when attempting to clear blocked sewer lines. According to Utilities Kingston, there is a risk of damaging a gas line that may intersect with the sewer line, known as a cross bore.

In order to avoid any potential gas leaks, residents and business owners are advised to call Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255 for a free sewer safety inspection before attempting to clear the sewer line, as motorized or water jetting equipment (augers or electric sewer snakes) can cause gas leaks if they run into a sewer cross bore.

Remi Adedapo, Director of Engineering at Utilities Kingston, explains that while new installation techniques ensure that cross bores are not created, there are still places in Kingston where gas lines intersect sewer lines. “When left undisturbed, sewer cross bores do not present a safety risk,” says Adedapo.

Utility companies began using trenchless tunnelling technology in the 1980s as a less disruptive way to install underground utilities. On rare occasions, natural gas pipelines installed using this method may intersect sewer service lines, leading to cross bores.

If residents or business owners suspect that a sewer blockage is beyond the walls of their home or building, they should call Ontario One Call. The gas utility will respond within two hours to assess the risk of sewer cross bores, inspecting the sewer and determining whether it is safe to attempt to unclog the pipes using motorized or water jetting equipment.

This Utilities Kingston video explains more about this safety issue:

Photo: Pixabay (cc) | Video: Utilities Kingston