Sewer Safety Week: Ontario safety partners raise awareness to call before you clear

September 18, 2023

Ontario One Call, Enbridge Gas, Technical Standards and Safety Authority, Utilities Kingston and Kitchener Utilities announce Sept. 18 to 22, 2023 as Sewer Safety Week, the first joint initiative of its kind to raise awareness about sewer safety inspections.

“I am proud of this collaboration with our safety partners to raise awareness about such an important issue. Sewer safety inspections are completely free and very easy to book. They are available 24/7 and treated as emergency calls. If a sewer is blocked, it is essential people call Ontario One Call before attempting to clear the sewer pipe,” says Jim Keech, President and CEO, Ontario One Call. 

If a blockage is within your home, you or a licensed plumber can safely remove it. But, if the blockage is outside the walls of your home, stop and consider the risk of a sewer cross bore.  

Some underground natural gas pipes may have been unintentionally installed through sewer pipes – a situation known as a cross bore. Although this is rare, the pipes can co-exist safely and go undetected until the sewer pipe is blocked and needs to be cleared.

Mechanical plumbing tools could easily damage natural gas pipes and lead to a dangerous natural gas leak. 

Call before you clear 

If you have a blocked sewer, outside the walls of your home: 

  • Contact Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255 before clearing the blockage.  
  • Ontario One Call will notify the gas companies, which will perform a free sewer safety inspection. 
  • If there are no cross bores, you or your plumber can continue to clear the blockage. If there is a potential cross bore the utility will fix the issue. 

“Enbridge Gas, along with other gas companies and partners, prioritizes safety above all else. Free sewer safety inspections are offered as a service to safeguard contractors, individuals and communities. In the event of a sewer blockage, it is essential that everyone contacts Ontario One Call to avoid the risks. Always call before you clear,”says Michael McGivery, Director of Distribution Protection, Enbridge Gas.

“Utilities Kingston’s top priority is to ensure public and infrastructure safety,” says Rob Bowen, Supervisor of Inspection and Support, Utilities Kingston. “When you call for a free sewer safety inspection, our certified technicians respond quickly to any sewer safety call in our service area. Remember, before you clear an outside sewer blockage, always confirm that you are not at risk of damaging a gas line, by contacting Ontario One Call.”