Buried Pipeline
& Utility Locating Services

What is Ground Disturbance?

Ground Disturbance has become a frequently used term within the damage prevention community over the last decade. This is good news! Everyone from a landscaper or homeowner to the excavation contractor should know and be very aware of the ground disturbance that they perform during their day-to-day operations.

Damage Prevention is a shared responsibility. Shareholders involved must know the rules and have a plan to keep buried facilities, the public, workers, and their worksite safe.



The Alberta Pipeline Act defines ground disturbance as:

“ground disturbance” means any work, operation or activity that results in a disturbance of the earth including, without limitation, excavating, digging, trenching, plowing, drilling, tunnelling, augering, backfilling, blasting, topsoil stripping, land levelling, peat removing, quarrying, clearing and grading, but does NOT include,

(i) a disturbance of the earth to a depth of less than 30 centimetres that does not result in a reduction of the earth cover over the pipeline to a depth that is less than the cover provided when the pipeline was installed,

(ii) cultivation to a depth of less than 45 centimetres below the surface of the ground, or

(iii) any work, operation or activity that is specified in the rules not to be a ground disturbance;

The Alberta OHS Code defines ground disturbance as:

For the purpose of this Part, ground is disturbed if a work operation or
activity on or under the existing surface results in a disturbance or
displacement of the soil, but not if the disturbance or displacement is a result
only of:

(a) routine, minor road maintenance,

(b) agricultural cultivation to a depth of less than 450 millimetres below
the ground surface over a pipeline, or

(c) hand-digging to a depth of no more than 300 millimetres below the
ground surface, so long as it does not permanently remove cover
over a buried facility.



As the party responsible for the ground disturbance you need to know where exactly the work area is, which buried facilities are located within and in proximity of your work area, any required approvals, and all obligations, and responsibilities according to Federal and Provincial legislation and regulations.

That’s a lot of work to put on your plate.

But don’t stress because that is what 3-D’s Ground Disturbance Management and Coordination services is for.

At 3-D Line Locating we:

  • Initiate and maintain the one-call process throughout the project
  • Act as point of contact and liaison between owners, representatives of utilities in addition to your construction team
  • Offer customized Ground Disturbance information tracking
  • Provide necessary Ground Disturbance information to the Project Manager, Construction Team and Inspection team
  • Join morning management meetings and help plan seamless future Ground Disturbance work
  • Review the crossing agreements and ensure all conditions are in place prior to the job kickoff continuing until project end
  • Witness daylighting, HDD Crossings, Open Cut crossings and backfills and capture any information pertaining to that job.
  • Provide an organized Ground Disturbance package that will capture all information gathered throughout this project.

Furthermore, we can conduct ground disturbance safety auditing when required:

  • Conduct audits of ground disturbance contractors, line locators, GD supervisors and activities (based on client requirements)
  • Evaluation of your current ground disturbance governance process (code of practice, safe work practice or standard)
  • Conduct compliance assessment based on current governance and implementation
  • Comparison analysis of current activities and process with industry and regulatory standards
  • Development of programs and tools to enhance and improve performance
  • Roll out and development of training specific to your governance process for your workers, managers, and contractors
  • Development of an implementation audit process according to the preferred governance model and client ground disturbance program
  • Offer compliance assessment on a regular basis with predetermined KPI’s specific to your operations and continuous improvement targets
  • Facilitate training, safety presentations, and/or provide materials for presentation at company events

Our goal at 3-D is to help prevent damage to buried infrastructure and avoid negative consequences.  Our clients and the people we work with are very important to us.  We would like to prevent damage or serious injury due to lack of diligence, knowledge, or insufficient work practices.  Please ensure you follow adequate ground disturbance practices on your work site. 

 Call us, we are here to Help.



3-D Line Locating Ltd is a privately owned Buried Pipeline and Utility Locating company. For over 20 years, we have been at the forefront of the Damage Prevention industry in Western Canada. Although the industry has changed significantly over the last 20 years, we have been very fortunate to have been at the leading edge of the evolution and still maintain the highest levels of quality, accuracy, consistency and customer satisfaction in our industry.

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