To help minimize sidewalk and landscaping damage, new service lines such as gas, electric and cable TV are usually installed by drilling holes horizontally beneath the ground. A “cross bore” is when the new pipe or cable accidentally goes through another underground pipe or cable.
Today, when PG&E installs smaller natural gas lines using underground drilling, we utilize the 811 service to help prevent digging into other lines. This free program notifies utility companies to mark the location of underground lines so digging can be done safely.
If a gas line goes through a sewer line, it can obstruct the flow of waste and may eventually lead to a blockage or backup. Further, a natural gas leak can occur if a plumber damages the gas line while cleaning a sewer line with a gas line cross bore.
We have a dedicated program to proactively identify and repair cross bores through wastewater system inspections. We also use video cameras to inspect some of our newly installed gas lines. If we identify a natural gas cross bore, we will cover the cost of any associated sewer line repairs. We will leave you a courtesy notice if we are planning to work in your area.
A clogged sewer line may be the result of a cross bore with a gas line. Take precautions before any sewer cleaning. Ask your plumber or contractor to use a camera to assess the cause of the blockage and to clear the sewer using a plumbing snake or water jet rather than a cutting tool. Please call us at 1-800-743-5000 if you have any questions or concerns.
Be safe: Call before you clear. Assume that all obstructions involve a cross bore.
If you have received a notification that sewer inspections are beginning in your area, we have contacted you for one of two reasons:
The applicable checkbox will be marked on your notification.
You will receive a notification that sewer and natural gas lines have been inspected at your property. The notification will inform you of the following information:
Please report any signs of a gas leak immediately. Your awareness and action can improve the safety of your home and community.
We add a distinctive, sulfur-like, rotten egg odor so you can detect even small amounts of natural gas. However, DO NOT rely only on your sense of smell to detect the presence of natural gas.
Pay attention to hissing, whistling or roaring sounds coming from underground or from a gas appliance.
Be aware of dirt spraying into the air, continual bubbling in a pond or creek, and dead or dying vegetation in an otherwise moist area.