It’s the final week of April, which means Safe Digging Month is coming to a close. To wrap up this year’s campaign, we spoke with Natalie Loban, Trans Mountain’s Public Awareness Advisor, to learn more about the importance of Safe Digging Month.

Why is Safe Digging Month important?

April is designated as national Safe Digging Month as it coincides with the unofficial start of yard improvement season. It serves as a reminder to everyone engaged in ground disturbance about the importance of safe digging and protecting underground infrastructure.

During April and year-round, Trans Mountain promotes the use of One Call, a free service that connects residential, commercial and industrial diggers with owners and operators of the underground utility network. Placing a One Call before starting any ground disturbance project is critical ­– accidentally hitting a buried utility is dangerous and can impact an entire community. Failure to place a One Call can also result in an unauthorized activity being reported to the utility regulator and can be subject to monetary penalties.


What are the most common unauthorized activities reported?

One of the most common instances of unauthorized activity is fence installation or repairs without placing a One Call. It’s important to remember that even replacing an existing backyard fence could potentially be a threat to buried infrastructure.

Certain activities are not allowed on the Trans Mountain right-of-way, including planting or growing trees and deep-rooted vegetation, and installing any structures like garden sheds, decks or swimming pools. These measures are in place to ensure the safe operation of the Trans Mountain pipeline and the safety of our communities and the environment.

What is the most important step to ensure safe digging?

The most important step before starting any outdoor home improvement project is contacting your local One Call. One Call will notify all utility owners/operators in the area, including Trans Mountain, if your project is near our pipeline. A Trans Mountain representative will call you back within three business days in Canada and two business days in the US to discuss your proposed work, and if required, meet with you on-site to provide information about how to conduct your work safely.

What are the best resources to learn about safe digging?

There is no shortage of resources regarding safe digging. Information is available online, in print and over the phone. You can find information on our website here, visit clickbeforeyoudig.com, or call or visit the website of your local One Call Centre:

· Alberta One-Call: 1.800.242.3447

· BC 1 Call: 1.800.474.6886

· Washington state: 811

April is Safe Digging Month, but safety is important 365 days of the year. I want to encourage everyone to test their knowledge of safe digging by taking our short quiz before the end of the month – you even have a chance to win a tablet!