Preventing Pipeline Damage

Damage to pipelines caused by construction and excavation activities poses a significant risk to public safety, but is entirely avoidable.

Damage caused by third party excavation around pipelines is one of the most common causes of pipeline damage. Damage prevention is all about pipeline companies working with those who routinely dig and excavate to reduce the chance of damage to the pipeline. CEPA member companies routinely work alongside the excavating community, developers, municipal works departments as well as individual contractors.

Safety Checklist

To minimize the risk of unintentionally causing damage to underground pipelines follow these important steps:

  1. First, plan your activity. Identify the precise location you will be working and check any site records for evidence of pipeline construction or buried facilities.
  2. Thoroughly check the site and surrounding area for pipeline warning signs, pipeline right of way signs or marker posts.
  3. Contact the pipeline company in your area and request a copy of the pipeline company’s guidelines for ground disturbances.
  4. Obtain written approval from the pipeline company for the work.
  5. Locate the exact position of the pipeline by submitting a pipeline request.  Call the one-call centre in areas where there is one or call the pipeline company to have the pipeline located.
  6. Be on site when the pipeline is located and inform yourself of all the signs and pipeline markers.
  7. Give at least three working days notice to the pipeline company before starting any work.  This will ensure that the pipeline company can take any required measures on their end to avoid any issues.
  8. Expose the pipeline by hand before mechanically disturbing the ground within three metres of the pipe.
  9. Notify the pipeline company one working day before backfilling earth over the pipe.
  10. Immediately notify the pipeline company if you come in contact with the pipe.
  11. ALWAYS follow the instructions of a pipeline company representative.

Committed to damage prevention

Learn how the Canadian pipeline industry is working to prevent damage to pipelines.

See the industry’s commitments, including the guiding principles and core initiatives.

Read the Unauthorized Activities Reporting Recommended Practice.


Learn More

For anyone contemplating any of these activities near a pipeline, protect yourself by reading Living and Working Near Pipelines by the National Energy Board and Damage Prevention by CEPA.

Did you know?

By law, approvals are required from the appropriate pipeline company before construction and excavation activities may take place on or near its right-of way.