Blocked sewer line? Call before you clear to avoid a serious safety risk

February 7, 2022

Utilities Kingston reminds residents and business owners – call Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255 for a free sewer safety inspection before attempting to clear a blocked sewer line. 

Attempts to clear a sewer line could put you at risk of damaging a gas line that may intersect. This intersection – outside of your foundation walls – is known as a cross bore.

Motorized or water jetting equipment (otherwise known as augers or electric sewer snakes) can cause gas leaks if they run into a sewer cross bore. Call for a free sewer safety inspection before you or a plumber use this equipment.

“While new installation techniques used today ensure that new cross bores are not created, there are places where gas lines do inadvertently cross through sewer lines in Kingston. When left undisturbed, sewer cross bores do not present a safety risk,” says Jim Miller, Chief Operating Officer, Utilities Kingston. 

Utility companies across North America began using no-dig or trenchless tunneling technology back in the 1980s as a less disruptive way to install underground utilities. On rare occasions, natural gas pipelines installed with trenchless tunneling methods may inadvertently intersect sewer service lines.

Learn more about this safety issue in Utilities Kingston’s video, Sewer Cross Bores: Call Before You Clear!

If you suspect a sewer blockage is beyond the walls of your home, call Ontario One Call and your gas utility will respond within two hours to assess the risk of sewer cross bores. They will inspect the sewer and determine whether it is safe to attempt to unclog the pipes using motorized or water jetting equipment.

Natural gas lines can sometimes intersect with sewer lines. This gas line can be damaged when using motorized or water jetting equipment to clear a blocked sewer line. Request a sewer safety inspection before clearing blocked sewer lines