Safety

Education & Resources

Learning Resources

Delivering you safe and reliable natural gas is a job we take seriously. Here are some resources to ensure you have the information to work and live safely around natural gas.

If you smell natural gas or have no heat, call ATCO's Natural Gas emergency line, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For Homeowners

Relighting Your Natural Gas Appliances

If natural gas service has safely been restored in your area and you'd like to relight your own natural gas appliances, here are some videos to guide you:

 

Staying Safe Around Carbon Monoxide

A lot of people have heard of carbon monoxide (CO) and know it's dangerous, But that's as far as it goes. CO is an invisible, silent and odourless toxic gas, often referred to as the "silent killer". 

Download our CO Checklist to learn more about preventing CO in your home. You can also download the checklists in the following languages:

Arabic | Chinese | French | German | Polish | Punjabi | Spanish | Tagalog | Ukranian | Vietnamese

 

For Contractors

  • Hydrovacing

    What is hydrovacing?

    • Can safely replace hand-digging in the hand expose zone.
    • Combines water pressure and a vacuum to excavate.
    • Suits all sizes of projects.
    • Fast, easy and safe when done properly.
    • Works well during frozen ground conditions.
       

    Requirements

    • Use a wand tip and suction hose covered with Teflon® or rubber.
    • Keep wand in motion at all times, with the wand tip at least 0.3 metres (one foot) from the line.
    • The wand tip should have a three-jet tip or an agitating spinner assembly.
    • Do not exceed pressures of 1,500 PSI or temperatures of 60ºC.
    • Reduce pressure to finish exposing the gas line.
    • Damage to the pipe or coating must be reported to ATCO Gas.
       

    Hydrovac contractors

    • Must carry a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for natural gas and be aware of emergency procedures.
    • Cover and barricade all open holes and excavations.
    • Responsible for the public’s safety until inspection and backfilling is complete.
    • Responsible for major damage to a natural gas line – including costs of repair, gas loss, customer re-lights, and emergency response.
    • Minor damage to the gas line coating will be repaired at no charge to the contractor.
    • Must contact ATCO Gas immediately if damage occurs.
  • Mechanical Excavation

    Only after hand exposing

    • Hand expose the gas line first by shovel or hydrovac. 
    • You must see the line to verify its location and depth.
    • Only then can you use machines to excavate.

     

    Safety musts

    • Two workers should always be present – the machine operator and a spotter.
    • Remove small layers of soil at a time.
    • Dig parallel to the buried line. Stay at least 0.6 metres (2 feet) away from the line.
    • Watch the excavation at all times for movement (cable contact), soil consistency (trench line) or foreign objects identifying underground facilities.

     

  • Directional Drilling

     Perpendicular drilling

    • Expose the gas line by hand or hydrovac to create a day-lighted area.
    • This area should extend at least 0.3 metres (one foot) on all sides around and below the pipe – one metre (three feet) is better.
    • The drill path must cross under the pipe in this day-lighted area.
    • Keep a close watch on the area below the pipe to ensure the drill-head does not hit the gas line.
    • Watch during both the initial push and the pull-back.
    • Never assume the gas line will be at the same depth on either side of the day-lighted area.

     

    Parallel drilling

    • If drilling within one metre (three feet) of the outside edges of the natural gas locate marks, you must hand expose.
    • Hand shovel or hydrovac a number of points along the gas line.
    • Number of day-lighted points depends on the drill path and depth of the gas line.
    • At minimum, points must be exposed every 30 metres (98 feet) along the line.
    • For shorter jobs, points must be exposed more closely.
  • Temporary Support Systems

    What are temporary support systems?

    • Installed before excavating below a natural gas line.
    • Also used during the backfill.
    • Prevent gas lines from sagging, bending or deflecting.
    • Usually made of steel or wood.

     

    Is it always required?

    • Depends on the length of the gas line.
    • Contact us  
    • We will walk you through the requirements, methods and materials.

     

    An ATCO Gas representative must inspect your temporary support systems.

  • Backfilling

    Call Us

    • Before you backfill around a natural gas line.
    • If you discover a natural gas line with less than 0.6 metres (two feet) of cover.


    Other requirements

    • Compact the fill under the gas line to provide support.
    • Do not interfere with gas lines.
    • Do not add to the depth of cover without ATCO’s permission.
    • Use clean, lump-free material to cover the line.
    • Do not place frozen dirt on the line.

New Homes and Buildings Resources

Natural Gas Basics

Types of Natural Gas Lines

  • Polyethylene (PE)
    • Very common
    • A type of plastic pipe
    • Various colours: yellow, black, orange, peach
  • Steel
    • Appears as rough steel or coated (tar, grey paper, yellow jacket, blue, red, green)
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
    • A type of plastic pipe installed in the mid-1960s
    • Various colours: white, purple, grey, light blue, peach
    • ATCO Gas must supervise any excavation around PVC
    • Contact us if PVC is listed on your locate slip
    • Call two full working days ahead
  • Aluminum
    • Very rare
    • Appears as light grey metal or covered with a yellow jacket