Fence Buyers University

Underground Utilities

Always call to have the underground utilities located before you start digging holes. The service is free in most municipalities. To have underground utilities located anywhere in the province of Alberta call Alberta 1st Call at 1-800-242-3447.

The utility locating company will come out and put either paint or flags on the ground over the specific utility. They usually use different colors to mark each utility, in Alberta, orange is telephone and cable, red is electric, blue is water/sewer and yellow is gas. Each municipality will have different guidelines (or control zones) for digging within a certain distance from the utility line. Generally, a Control Zone is the area 1 metre on either side of location marks. However, some special cases such as fibre optics and high pressure pipelines have a Control Zone of 5 metres.

Generally, facilities must be exposed by non-destructive techniques before mechanical equipment is used within the Control Zone. Always use a method of exposure approved by the facility owner. This often means careful hand exposure before mechanical equipment is used within the Control Zone. Hand exposure is started at or near the location marks, working outwards into the Control Zones until the buried facility is found. However, you should never hand expose energized high voltage cables. Have the electric utility do it. Make sure you know the Control Zones and hand exposure procedures for the underground facility you are working around.

If precautions must be taken while digging on your property, a fence contractor may ask for compensation for the additional work related to the control zone. If you must dig within the control zones, be sure to discuss the issue with your fence contractor prior to construction beginning.

The information on this page is up to date as of April 2002 and there is no guarantee the information is accurate as you read this page. Therefore, check the municipality within your area to get the latest information on underground utilities. For more information within the province of Alberta, the web site for Alberta 1st Call is www.alberta1call.com.

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