Langley cracks B.C.’s top 10 natural gas line damagers

With 29 lines hit in 2015 in the Langleys, residents and contractors are reminded to call before they dig

According to Fortis

Langley is among the worst offenders in the province, when it comes to hitting and damaging buried natural gas lines.

There were 29 instances of a homeowner or contractor hitting a line while digging in the City and Township combined in 2015, making it the 10th-worst in B.C. Each and every one of the hits was preventable, according to FortisBC.

Vancouver had the highest number of hits, with a total of 94.

There were more than 1,000 total hits in B.C. last year, a slight increase over the previous year, which went against a trend that has seen a 50 per cent total reduction of natural gas line hits since 2007.

“We just want to make a bit more of an effort to communicate with people who live in Langley to help them really understand, with spring here, while they’re doing yard work and that type of thing, it’s really easy to avoid this situation which can be unsafe,” said Erika Schade, a communications advisor with FortisBC.

She said anyone planning on digging must call the BC One Call hotline before they begin, and if they do not call and subsequently damage a natural gas line, it will be considered their fault.

“When they do hit a line, and they haven’t called beforehand, they’re on the hook for the cost of the damage,” said Schade.

Schade said the cost for each instance of damage is different depending on the situation but  approximately $2.5 million was paid to FortisBC last year for damages. This means an average of approximately $2,500, which doesn’t include potential associated costs like work delays and fines paid to safety authorities.

Individuals planning on digging should contact BC One Call by phone or online at least three days before they intend to begin the work.

The number is 1-800-474-6886 and the website is bconecall.ca.