CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Chief Investigator Carl Monday reported on a growing danger lying beneath the places we live, work, and play. It's a danger that has a high potential for catastrophic damage and loss of life. So what is it? And, what can you do to protect yourself?
We've assembled a list of questions and answers so you can better prepare yourself in the event you ever come across the situation.
WHAT IS A CROSS BORE?
A cross bore is defined as any unintentional intersection between two underground utilities typically caused by trenchless drilling. The most dangerous occur when gas lines pierce sewer lines.
WHAT IS TRENCHLESS DRILLING?
Trenchless drilling is a less invasive method involved in laying new utility lines. It is becoming increasingly more popular since large areas of landscaping don't have to be disturbed.
HOW COMMON IS THE PROBLEM?
Industry experts say cross bores can be expected to be found under 1 in 25 homes, nationally.
HAVE CROSS BORES BEEN FOUND IN NORTHEAST OHIO?
Yes, Carl Monday and his team posed that question to about 55 local communities. Cross bores have been found in Bay Village, North Royalton, and Westlake. All of the cross bores were repaired immediately.
HOW DO I KNOW IF A CROSS BORE EXISTS ON MY PROPERTY?
You usually won't know. Cross bores are most commonly found when a sewer line becomes clogged. Plumbers will run a snake down the drain without knowing the condition exists, thus running the risk of breaking the gas line, and filling the house with gas. If you've seen utilities performing underground utility work on your street, and you experience a sewer backup with bubbling water, vacate your home immediately. This could be a sign that natural gas is entering your home.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I EXPERIENCE A SEWER BACKUP AT MY HOME?
The first thing you should do is call your natural gas utility. Ask them if they've used trenchless drilling methods to install their lines. Then, call your plumber and give them the information. Don't be afraid to ask your plumber to do this for you. Any reputable plumber would have no problem making the call, since he or she is just as susceptible to injury as you.
WHAT ARE THE GAS COMPANIES DOING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM?
Providers like Dominion East Ohio and Columbia Gas have recently begun to implement measures to identify, inspect, and repair potential cross bores resulting from older construction. This includes partnering with local municipalities in high risk areas to inspect the sewer lines and take any necessary action.
WHAT ARE UTILITIES NOW REQUIRED BY LAW TO DO BEFORE BEGINNING A PROJECT?
Utilities are required to call the Ohio Utilities Protection Service. They have established an 8-1-1 hotline to call before digging to prevent injury, and damage to underground utilities. Utilities will then come to your property and
mark their individual assets.
ARE UTILITIES THE ONLY ONES REQUIRED TO CALL 8-1-1?
No. Homeowners must also call before beginning any type of project in their yard that requires digging.
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