--- Water supply pipes
--- Water drain pipes
--- Gas pipes
--- Electrical supplies
--- Telephone, TV and Web Cables
--- And sometimes even more as neighborhoods move more and more away from overhead wires.
Some of these will be buried deep below the frost line, four or more feet in the ground. Others like cable connection are often found just two or three inches below the grass! To cut into any of these services with a shovel or drilling device can be dangerous or simply a lot of trouble.
There are many private companies who will directly identify anything underground, useful and necessary for commercial digging – but for a residence that is usually overkill unless you have to dig very close to where they might be and you need to know specifically with special equipment exactly where the pipes or wires are.
To encourage people to check before digging many of the utilities have gathered together to offer a free service of locating any buried utility run on your property. Generally throughout North America the phone number 811 is reserved for the “Call before you dig” services – but in Quebec 811 is used for “Info Santé and Info Social”. So it is more reliable to go to www.Call811.com. This very efficient website will send you to the right place everywhere in North America, including in Québec.
In Québec you need to go to Info-Excavation – www.info-ex.com. There you can choose between English and French. This particular web site is much more useful than a phone call: you don’t wait on the line for an hour; there are video tutorials to show you exactly how to work with the site; you can in about 20 minutes or less file a request for information about services on your property, including a precise sketch of where you want to dig on your property, thanks to a google map; see immediately which utilities might have something buried on your property; and submit your request. If there are utilities that might maybe have something on your property underground, they will let you know and if necessary come out and mark exactly where their services are located with paint on the lawn or flags – all within three days. And all of that is FREE. That is faster than waiting for someone to answer the municipal 311 information lines in Quebec.