SURREY, B.C. — British Columbia energy distributor FortisBC has reported a rise in natural gas line hits from excavation in the province.
In 2017, there were more than 1,200 incidents of natural gas line damages from excavation, a recent media statement announcing Dig Safe Month in the province reported. The incidents can cause unsafe situations, traffic delays and service interruptions and may require costly repairs, said FortisBC.
The statistics indicated 60 per cent of natural gas line damages are related to work done by contractors; 30 per cent are related to work done by homeowners; three per cent are related to municipal activity; and the rest are caused by other utilities, motor vehicle accidents hitting gas meters or other events.
Over the past year, natural gas line damage in the community of Abbotsford has increased along with other communities where construction activity has been significant, said FortisBC.
“The City of Abbotsford supports Dig Safe Month and the push by FortisBC to raise awareness across our community about BC One Call and safe digging practices,” said Mayor Henry Braun in the statement. “Just one call can save unnecessary injury or worse. We want everyone in our community to stay safe so that they can return home to their family each and every day.”
“FortisBC’s natural gas system delivers vital energy to homes, businesses, schools and hospitals every day. When a natural gas line is damaged, it can have serious consequences and interrupt service,” said Ian Turnbull, damage prevention and emergency services manager at FortisBC. “It’s important to remember that whether you’re excavating, gardening or even planting a tree, you stay safe and avoid unexpected costs by notifying BC One Call before commencing any work.”
FortisBC seeks to recover costs associated with repairs from any person or organization that damages its underground utilities, the statement indicated. Annual repair costs incurred can range between $1.5 to $2 million.
“For nearly 25 years BC One Call has been promoting call or click before you dig as a way of preventing infrastructure damage, keeping our workers safe and ensuring uninterrupted service delivery,” says Chris Hyland, president of BC One Call.