Contributed photo.

Contributed photo.

Can you dig it? Kelowna stresses safe digging this month

April is designated Safe Digging Month in Canada and the U.S.

Safe digging is being encouraged by the City of Kelowna in the month of April.

Over the past year, natural gas line damages in Kelowna have increased along with other communities in the Okanagan.

Kelowna ranks third in the province for the highest damages behind Vancouver and Surrey.

“FortisBC’s natural gas system, delivers vital energy to homes, businesses, schools and hospitals every day,” said Ian Turnbull, FortisBC Damage Prevention and Emergency Services Manager.

“This April we are teaming up with the City of Kelowna to protect our underground infrastructure and remind anyone breaking ground to call and to follow closely the instructions and directions you receive from us.”

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Beneath Kelowna’s landscape lies an extensive infrastructure of pipes and cables that residents depend on for communication, electricity, gas supply, water, sewer and storm water management.

The pipelines for gas distribution and supply in Kelowna are estimated to span more than 985 km within the city, the same as the distance from Kelowna to Maple Creek, Saskatchewan.

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Last year in B.C., more than 1,200 gas lines were hit.

Damage to underground utilities costs money, diverts first responder resources and causes service outages – and the majority of incidents are preventable.

“Requesting location information, even only three days prior to starting a project, will notify all member companies that have buried utilities in your dig area and allow you to create a safe plan for where and how to dig,” said Sarah Josefson, City of Kelowna Safety Advisor.

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More information can be found at bconecall.ca or 1-800-474-6886.

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