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Some Paths Should Never Cross…

A cross bore is the intersection of an existing underground utility by a second utility, which results in direct contact between the utilities.

illustration of a cross bore; two utility pipes intersecting

That contact compromises the integrity of either utility and can create a hazardous condition.

When an underground sewer line is blocked or clogged, it can result in backups and overflows, potentially damaging the interior of a home or business. Historically, cleaning professionals use a rotating cutter that can be inserted in a plugged sewer line. While effective in clearing out objects such as tree roots, these devices also can cut through plastic natural gas distribution lines, communication lines, water lines and electric lines that were inadvertently installed through sewer lines.

If a cross bore is in a sewer line that is being opened by a root cutter, the utility line can be cut. If it is a gas line, gas will be introduced into the connected structure. In a matter of a few moments, gas/air concentrations can reach an explosive range. Sparks from electric motors and switches or pilot lights for water heaters and furnaces can ignite the gas/air mixture with catastrophic results, including explosion and complete destruction of the structure and death of occupants.

If you need your sewer line cleaned:

  • Call or ask your sewer clearing professional to contact Great Plains Natural Gas at 877-267-4764 prior to clearing the sewer line. We will promptly meet your professional to locate and mark our natural gas pipeline, free of charge.
  • Never use a rotating or root cutting tool to clear an underground sewer line until the obstruction has been identified.

Additional Cross Bore Information

Visit the Cross Bore Safety Association website:

photo example of a cross bore

photo example of a cross bore