We work under strict guidelines so our services meet or exceed safety standards. 

While following these guidelines, it is important that you are aware of safety measures you can take to keep you, your family, and your community safe.

On this page:

1. Call before you dig
2. Call before you clear
3. How to prevent and detect carbon monoxide
4. How to detect a natural gas leak
5. Annual gas leak survey
6. Meter access safety
7. Stormwater ponds safety
8. Spring melt: flooding risks
9. Door-to-door marketing
10. Seasonal safety tips

Call before you dig

Contact Ontario One Call a minimum of five days before you begin your digging or excavation project around your home, you need to locate all your utility lines first. It is important to complete this step to ensure the safety of you and your community.

You can contact Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255.

View the call before you dig video to learn why it is important to mark your locates before you dig.

If a line, pipe or wire is impacted by your project, it could cause serious damage, and may cause harm to you.

You need to call Ontario One Call if:

  • you are digging for a swimming pool and/or a fence
  • you are redoing your driveway
  • you are building an addition to your home
  • you have a digging or excavation project around your home

Once Ontario One has been called, they will contact all the necessary utility providers. For your safety, they will locate and mark the utilities locations that may be affected by your project. This is a free service.

Call before you clear

Just like when you dig or excavate in your yard, you need to call Ontario One Call a minimum of five days before you plan on clearing a blocked sewer.

You can contact Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255.

View the call before you clear video to see why it is important to call for a free sewer safety inspection before you clear a blocked sewer.

If sewer blockage equipment damages a natural gas line and natural gas leaks into the sewer, this could result in a real and immediate risk to public safety. Before using any equipment or attempting to clear a sewer, call Ontario One Call for a free locate.

How to prevent and detect carbon monoxide

If you detect a leak or a carbon monoxide detector has alarmed, leave immediately and call 911 

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, toxic gas. It is produced when carbon-based fuels are incompletely burned such as: wood, propane, natural gas, heating oil, coal, kerosene, charcoal, and gasoline. Regular maintenance and inspection of your appliances can help reduce the risk of carbon monoxide in your home.

View the Carbon Monoxide video to lean how you can protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.

How to prevent carbon monoxide in your home

  • know the detection signs/symptoms (see below)
  • have appliances maintained and inspected annually by a TSSA certified technician
  • install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms close to sleeping areas
  • keep furnaces, vents, and chimneys clear of snow, ice, birds and nests
  • never use fuel burning appliances indoors, such as barbecues and patio heaters 
  • if detected, leave the building immediately and call 911 from a safe location

How to detect carbon monoxide in your home

A carbon monoxide alarm is the best way to detect carbon monoxide. The alarm will beep loudly and quickly to let you know that carbon monoxide is present and that you should leave the home immediately and call 911. These are mandatory in homes. To learn more about carbon monoxide regulations, visit the Kitchener Fire Department website

Symptoms/signs of carbon monoxide poisoning

  • headache, nausea, burning eyes, fainting, confusion, drowsiness
  • often mistaken for flu-like symptoms
  • symptoms improve when away from the home
  • symptoms are experienced by more than one member of the home
  • continued exposure to higher levels may result in unconscious, brain damage and death
  • the elderly, children and people with heart or respiratory conditions may be particularly sensitive to carbon monoxide

The environment where carbon monoxide is present

  • air feels stale
  • excessive moisture on windows or walls
  • sharp odour or smell of gas when furnace or other fuel burning appliance turns on
  • burning and pilot light flames are yellow/orange, not blue
  • pilot light on the furnace or water heater goes out
  • chalky white powder or soot occurs around exhaust vent or chimney

 You can read more about carbon monoxide by visiting the CO Safety website.

How to detect a natural gas leak

If you smell, hear, see, or suspect a natural gas leak, leave the building immediately. Call 911 from outside or a neighbour’s home.

Don’t touch switches, don’t use a phone, don’t smoke or create any other source of ignition. While natural gas is one of the safest fuels, small gas leaks can still occur. Knowing how to detect a leak can help reduce the risks to your family and home.

1. Smell it

As a safety precaution, a scent is added to natural gas to make it smell like rotten eggs or sulfur, so that natural gas leaks can be detected. Without this, natural gas has no smell or taste.

2. See it

Natural gas is clear and has no colour, but it can leave behind visible signs of a leak including:

  • bubbles in wet or flooded areas
  • patches of dead vegetation
  • blowing dust from holes in the ground
  • flames

In some cases, spotting vapours or ground frosting can suggest a high-pressure leak.

View the what to do if you smell natural gas video

Annual gas leak survey

We maintain and operate 1,090 kilometres of pipeline to distribute natural gas to your homes and businesses. To ensure the integrity of our system, we perform an annual gas leak survey of the distribution system.

The distribution system is divided into three geographical areas with one-third of the system being checked annually.  Therefore, within a three-year period, the entire system is checked entirely.

In 2020, the annual leak survey will run from September through November.

 Annual gas leak survey frequently asked questions

How are leaks are detected?

There are several tools used in the leak detection survey. The equipment used is specifically calibrated to detect methane (the main component of natural gas).

Does Kitchener Utilities’ staff perform the activities?

Yes, and we have also contracted this work out to a professional leak detection company called KimPro Energy. All contracted staff will carry photo identification indicating they are working on behalf of Kitchener Utilities. If you notice someone in your neighbourhood or your yard, do not hesitate to ask to see their identification. We ask that you respect social distancing protocols when approaching contractors or our staff.

What happens if you find a leak?

All leaks are measured and classified into one of three categories. The most serious leaks are called in to Kitchener Utilities Dispatch Centre and Kitchener Utilities staff are dispatched to the site immediately to investigate and make the situation safe.

What should I do if I think I have a leak?

While natural gas is one of the safest fuels, small leaks can occur. The additive we add to natural gas smells like rotten eggs or sulfur and is used as a safety precaution to allow even the smallest leaks to be detected. If you believe you smell natural gas, leave the building immediately and call 911 from outside or a neighbour’s home.

How does Kitchener Utilities make a gas leak safe?

In all gas leak situations, our crews will make sure conditions are safe and that they present no public safety hazard. For a leak found to be present indoors, our staff will investigate, make minor repairs, or if necessary, turn off the gas to an appliance or the property until the problem is resolved.

What are the environmental impacts of gas leaks?

The primary component in natural gas is methane, and methane is considered a significant greenhouse gas. We are committed to reducing methane emissions from our natural gas distribution system by repairing leaks and replacing gas mains throughout our service territory. 

Meter access safety

It is your responsibility to ensure there is always access to your water and gas meters. This allows us to respond immediately to emergencies, keeping your family, community and home safe. Review more information on meter access in our Conditions of Service document.

Stormwater ponds safety

Stormwater ponds are an important part of the City of Kitchener’s stormwater management, helping to reduce localized flooding, control downstream erosion, and ensuring cleaner water flows into our environment.

Stay safe. Stay off the ponds.

Stormwater management ponds should not be used for any recreational activity at any time of the year.

  • exercise caution around frozen ponds and bodies of water
  • don’t wade or swim in the ponds
  • don’t perform any water sports on the ponds
  • don’t skate on the ponds
  • don’t put any equipment on the ponds, such as hockey equipment

When these ponds freeze over during the winter, the thickness of the ice becomes highly unpredictable and makes for very dangerous conditions.

Watch our Stormwater Ponds Safety video to learn about how these ponds work and how they are never safe for recreation.

For your safety, please stay off these ponds. Instead, go for a spin at a community outdoor skating rink! Find a community rink close to you.

Spring melt: flooding risks

A quick increase in temperature during the spring can cause ice to melt rapidly, causing localized flooding.

Watch our Reduce your risk of flooding video to learn how you can help protect your home from localized flooding.

Reduce localized flooding risks around your home by:

  • clearing snow buildup around your home’s foundation and window wells
  • ensuring snow, ice and debris is clear from your roof and eavestroughs
  • removing snow and ice at the end of downspouts
  • ensuring downspouts drain at least one metre away from your foundation and onto your lawn or garden areas, rather than directly onto sidewalks or streets
  • shovelling snow and ice onto your yard, not onto the road, to avoid blocking drains
  • watching for standing water around your home’s foundation
  • if you have a sump pump, cycle it at least once a month and clean the sump basin annually

If you notice blocked catch basins on your street, call us at 519-741-2345.

Door-to-door marketing

We have had reports of companies contacting residents by door-to-door and telephone, offering to upgrade water heater, duct cleaning, or to test their water quality. These companies are not affiliated with Kitchener Utilities or the City of Kitchener.

We do not use door-to-door marketing or telemarketers to:

  • sell our services
  • inspect gas furnaces
  • inspect water heaters
  • test your water quality

We will contact you in advance by mail or phone to schedule a service time. If you don’t hear from Kitchener Utilities before someone arrives at your home, it is not us.

Our commitment to you:

  • we will not come into your house without an appointment, unless there is an emergency
  • we will not ask you to lock into a fixed price agreement
  • we will always present official City of Kitchener photo identification
  • we will provide our name so that you may call 519-741-2529, select option 3 to confirm it is us

Confirm it is us by:

  • a City of Kitchener or Kitchener Utilities uniform
  • official City of Kitchener identification
  • a City of Kitchener or Kitchener Utilities marked vehicle

View the Door-to-door Marketers’ video to learn how to identify if the person at the door is working for Kitchener Utilities or the City of Kitchener.

If you are not sure if the person is working on behalf of us or the City of Kitchener, call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 519-741-2529, select option 3 and we can confirm this for you.

Visit the Government of Canada's website to learn how to recognize energy scams and protect yourself.

To find out more information about door-to-door marketers, call us by phone at 519-741-2626 or by email or contact the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services at 1-800-889-9768.

Seasonal safety tips

 Winter safety tips
  • keep your gas equipment free of snow and ice. Never kick or hit your gas meter, pressure regulator, or piping to free up snow or ice buildup
  • keep all your exhaust and intake vents clear
  • keep a clear path and access to your gas and water meters
  • do not shovel, blow, or plow snow up against your gas or water meters
  • if there is a fire hydrant near your home, make sure the hydrant is clear and accessible in case of emergency
  • remove icicles from your overhead eaves trough and watch for buildup of freezing rain or water dripping from the roof or eaves trough onto your meter. If there is an extremely large buildup, call at (519) 741-2529 and we'll remove the ice for free
 Summer safety tips
  • test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, change batteries immediately if needed
  • check and clean filters
  • remember to call before you dig if you are planning projects that involve digging
  • your gas meter needs to vent, ensure any vegetation growing by your meter doesn’t restrict airflow
  • get your barbecue grill cleaned and serviced
  • check all propane tanks and lines for leaks and damage
  • close your pool or hot tub following these guidelines Backyard pool safety - City of Kitchener


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