Planning a Dig Project

Follow a safe work plan

Planning ahead is the first step to ensuring a successful outdoor project. Understanding the work area and the location of underground utility lines can save you time, money and help you avoid a dangerous situation.

It’s your responsibility to ensure you are not digging or encroaching on natural gas facilities. Hitting a natural gas line, or creating an obstruction that doesn’t allow us to quickly access the gas line, can put you and your community at serious risk.

Steps to Follow

1. Mark the Area

Mark your project area with white flags, paint, chalk or surveyors tape on small wooden stakes. By ‘white lining’, you help our Field Technicians know where you intend to work. They will mark all underground gas lines in the area indicated and any gas lines close to the work site.

Our Saskatchewan winters make it difficult to see white flags, paint or surveyors tape. Please use black flags, paint or chalk to outline your project site when there is snow.

2. Request a Line Locate

Submit a line locate request three full working days before any ground disturbance work to mark the underground lines. Line locates are free and no project is too small to make a request.

Projects requiring a line locate

The following are common examples of projects that need a line locate:

  • Fences
  • Decks
  • Trees and shrubs
  • Water features
  • Garages and sheds
  • Concrete work
  • Landscaping
  • Pool/Hot tub
  • Building construction
  • Trenching
  • Road construction
  • Sewer repair
  • Demolition
  • Sign installation

If your project does not include ground disturbance but is above ground - a line locate is still required. Building any structure over a gas line or within an easement can become a hazard. In the case of an emergency or for maintenance work, SaskEnergy needs access to all above or below ground infrastructure. If we can’t get to our gas lines, you will be responsible for costs to redesign or correct the situation.

Information you need to submit a line locate

To submit and process your line locate request, you will need the following:

  • Province, city or town
  • Street address, legal land location or lot and block
  • Urban locations require 2 intersecting street names
  • Type of project work
  • Job start date
  • Attach a sketch of the digging area or use online mapping tools to outline the area as part of the online request
  • If possible, include GPS coordinates to further refine your digging area
It's the Law

Whether work is in a yard, town, field, municipality or on a First Nation, you must get a line locate. Under Saskatchewan law, a line locate is necessary if work involves digging or disturbing the soil on a property where a natural gas line exists.

3. Review the Record of Locate

Once the line locate is complete you will notice yellow flags or paint within the work area. You will also receive a record of locate via email.

The record of locate is valid for 30 calendar days and,

  • identifies where the natural gas line is in proximity of your proposed work
  • provides a general understanding of how to work around gas lines
  • should be reviewed to ensure the correct work area is shown
  • indicates if critical infrastructure is present

4. Get Permission to Proceed

You will need SaskEnergy's permission to proceed if the record of locate has identified your proposed work:

  • is within a SaskEnergy right-of-way or 5 metres of a gas line
  • is within a SaskEnergy easement or 1.5 metres of a gas line

Choose ONE of the following Scenarios:

5. Start Working

Once you have received permission and reviewed allowable conditions, it's time to get to work.

Tips for Digging Safely
  • Do not assume a gas line runs in a straight line, as ground movement or other construction could alter the location.
  • Using a shovel, dig in layers and make sure your shovel is at a shallow angle.
  • Remove small amounts of dirt at a time until the gas lines are visible. Due to soil changes, gas lines may be more than a metre under the surface or just a few inches below.
  • A sharp shovel can sever a plastic gas service line. Do not step or jump aggressively on your shovel. 
  • Be very careful not to damage the protective coating on underground facilities. Although minor damage won't appear to create an issue, a nick to the coating on a steel gas line or a scratch on a plastic gas line can create a safety concern.
  • If your project is delayed by more than 30 days, if the flags appear out of place, or if the paint is no longer visible you must request a new line locate.

Daylighting is the process of removing the dirt to see the gas line. For most projects, you can daylight by hand-digging until you see the gas line. Larger projects may need hydrovac-service where high-pressure water and vacuum processes expose the gas line.