Water line work leads to gas line break

Oregon’s administrative rules require anyone digging to call for locates, and if digging near the locates, they must hand dig, according to an official with Cascade Natural Gas. The company responded to a line break on Thursday afternoon when someone excavating with a backhoe went through a line that already had been marked by the company.

ONTARIO — A property owner operating a backhoe to install a water line in the 4000 block of Oak Road hit a gas line on June 11.

Although the incident turned out not to be a Haz-Mat response, Ontario Fire and Rescue did respond to the scene with Rescue 1, according to an email from Ontario Fire Chief Terry Leighton.

Cascade Natural Gas was called and they shut off the line, according to the chief.

“Rescue 1 stayed on scene for safety purposes until the line was shut off and the leak stopped,” wrote Leighton in an email. “Dig line had been called but the operator just forgot about the marking while digging.” 

In Oregon and Idaho, property owners, contractors or anyone else who is planning to dig are required to call a utility notification center at least two days ahead of work for a “locate request” on buried utilities. This allows utility companies which have underground lines in the area a chance to respond to the request and go to the address where work will be performed to mark the lines with paint or flags in order to avoid unintentional damage during the work.

According to Mark Hanson, spokesman for Cascade Natural Gas, the company can forward their cost to the responsible party.

“If someone violates the dig law and damages company property, Cascade Natural Gas will bill that person/company,” he wrote in an email this afternoon.

“Oregon’s administrative rules require anyone digging to call for locates, and if digging near the locates, they must hand dig,” Hanson wrote.

In addition, he says, Cascade Natural Gas will report any violations of Oregon’s dig law to one of two Oregon state agencies: Occupational Safety and Health Administration or the Public Utility Commission.

Calling ahead is not just for major excavation projects, but should be done for common projects, too, such as planting trees and shrubs, or installing fences and mailboxes, according to information to Call 811.

According to the national call-before-you-dig center, callers will need to know the exact address including the county of where the digging will take place, as well as the nearest cross street. Also noteworthy, those who plan to dig in Oregon or Idaho need to call two days ahead of time to allow utilities to respond before breaking ground.

“Once all utilities have marked their buried lines, you should dig carefully around any utility marks and consider relocating projects that are close to buried utilities,” reads the information.

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