Cross Bores & Their Potential Dangers

If you’re a plumber in Las Vegas, you may have run into an issue with cross boring (which is serious and potentially deadly).  It is important to know about cross-bores and to educate the public about the possible dangers that could arise when cross boring is suspected at a property.

What are Cross Bores?

Cross bore is a term used to describe utility pipes intersecting underground.  crossbore Las Vegas
Commonly, gas lines were installed by trenchless equipment which caused them to intersect and go directly through sewer lines.

Why are Cross Bores Dangerous?

Sewer pipes get stopped up all the time.  To clear the clog within a sewer line, a snake or augur is ran through the pipes (usually through a clean out) and the clog is cleared pretty easily.  On occasion, a clog may not be cleared easily or the clog re-occurs.  When this happens, it means there is something compromising the pipe.  Sometimes, there are roots penetrating a pipe or the sewer line is crushed and needs to be repaired, BUT what if the obstruction is a natural gas line that is intersecting with the sewer pipe?  When a snake is ran into a pipe and is caught on a natural gas line, it could break the gas line, causing a gas leak.  Inevitably, a gas leak can cause a fire or explosion which is a huge cause for concern.

How to know if you have a Cross Bore Issue?

It is important to take precautions if you suspect a cross bore could be causing issues with a sewer pipe.  If the clog is definitely inside the home, then you are safe to proceed with clearing the issue yourself.  However, if the clog is outside, or if you’re unsure where the actual blockage is, then you should call a licensed plumber for help.  A plumber will have the equipment (such as a sewer camera for a sewer inspection) and knowledge to properly determine if there possibly is a sewer pipe intersecting with a gas line.  You can also contact your local gas/utility company who typically offer free services for underground utility locators.

Other Cross Bore Information & Tips:

Even if you’re not a natural gas customer, sewer pipes can still be affected by cross bores.

If you suspect a natural gas leak, leave the area immediately and call 911 when you get to a safe location.  Then call Southwest Gas at 877-860-6020.

  • DO NOT unplug anything
  • DO NOT turn anything on or off

More information about cross bore safety can be found through the CBSA site.