It’s been widely promoted anyone disturbing the ground needs to contact the utility company for a locate service. In the US, excavators are legally required to contact their local One Call Center. American utility companies are required to be registered and participate by marking their services. In Canada, Ontario is the only province that provides an authentic utility One Call Centre service. This means, ALL utilities are legally registered with the One Call Centre and must provide locate services within 5 days of the request.
Recently, Manitoba has put forth an effort to assimilate a One Call Centre to provide public locating services. Though some key utilities are registered, it’s not mandatory, and there are utilities that don’t participate. Also, Manitoba doesn’t have the legislation to ensure standardized timing for marking locates. If you use Manitoba’s one-call service for public locating, you’ll need to ensure all relevant services are included and verify the time-line for each.
The practice for public utility marking that is standard across North America, is utility companies are responsible for locating their property only. For instance, Hydro will mark the power line to the meter at your house but not to the line from the house to the garage. This very important when getting locates for commercial, industrial and properties with multiple buildings on-site as they will all have “privately owned” buried utilities on site.
If you are working outside of the public rights-of-way, you’ll need to engage a private utility locator and possibly a ground penetrating radar technician. Relying on existing site records is not advisable, as the information may be limited, inaccurate or out-of-date.