Fewer pipelines hit in 2010, but 99 per cent of incidents still
SURREY, BC, April 28 /CNW/ - Safe excavation awareness programs have continued to help increase the
number of calls to BC One Call, which in turn has led to a nine per
cent decrease in construction-related damages to FortisBC's natural gas
pipelines in 2010.
"We support the use of BC One Call, as history has shown that the best
way to avoid causing damage to underground gas pipelines during any
excavation is to first call BC One Call to request mapping information
and then carefully hand dig to expose the buried gas lines. April has
been designated as Safe Digging Month by the Government of Canada, and we want to continue reminding British
Columbians to 'Call Before You Dig' in the interest of their own and
the public's safety," said Dwain Bell, vice president, operations
(natural gas), FortisBC.
While there has been an encouraging decrease in the number of
construction-related pipeline damages in 2010, approximately 1,300 gas
lines were still damaged (versus about 1,400 in 2009) as some
excavators did not call BC One Call to obtain the location of gas lines
and follow safe excavation practices. All excavation should be preceded
by hand digging, prior to using any mechanical excavation equipment
like an auger or a backhoe, as required by provincial regulations.
New provincial regulations also require excavators to obtain permission
from FortisBC for any digging activities occurring within 40 metres of
the utility's intermediate pressure or transmission pipelines.
Depending on the scope of work begin done, FortisBC will outline
conditions that must be met before work can begin, which could include
FortisBC employees being on site during the excavation.
Information on the location of underground gas lines is provided free of
charge. If gas lines still cannot be found after calling BC One Call
and digging by hand, the public is encouraged to call FortisBC directly
at 1-888-822-6555 for assistance. The public is strongly urged to follow these steps to
Call BC One Call toll-free at 1-800-474-6886 (or *6886 from any cell phone) at least two business days before you start
excavation. This is a requirement of FortisBC and provincial gas safety
regulations. BC One Call will contact its members with underground
facilities in the excavation area, who will then provide the caller
with the requested information at no cost.
Have all location information on site and refer to it during the
Use the gas line information to locate and mark lines and maintain the
markings until digging is underway.
HAND DIG FIRST to locate and carefully expose gas lines before using
FortisBC provides safety regulators like the BC Safety Authority and
WorkSafeBC with detailed findings from pipeline damages. FortisBC also
uses that information to remind the public to use BC One Call. As a
founding member of the BC Common Ground Alliance, FortisBC also raises
awareness about safe excavation practices, in line with other
underground utilities and services such as telephone, cable, and
sewage. For more information on pipeline safety and safe excavation
practices, please visit fortisbc.com or bconecall.bc.ca.
FortisBC is an integrated energy solutions provider focused on providing
safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity, propane
and alternative energy solutions, at the lowest reasonable cost.
FortisBC employs more than 2,000 British Columbians and serves
approximately 1.1 million customers in more than 135 B.C. communities.
FortisBC is indirectly wholly owned by Fortis Inc., the largest
investor-owned distribution utility in Canada. FortisBC
owns and operates four regulated hydroelectric generating plants,
approximately 7,000 kilometres of transmission and distribution power
lines and approximately 46,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission
and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Inc., FortisBC Energy Inc.,
FortisBC Energy (Vancouver Island) Inc., and FortisBC Energy (Whistler)
Inc. do business as FortisBC. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the
Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional
information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com or www.sedar.com.
SOURCE FortisBC Inc.
For further information:
Corporate Communications Manager
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BC One Call Ltd.