4Ps of pipeline protection

When working near our pipelines, damage can be prevented by careful planning and properly conducting site works. Apply the 4Ps: Plan, Pothole, Protect, Proceed.


Request plans from Dial Before You Dig

Before starting any site work, request plans from the Dial Before You Dig service. This is a free state wide service available during business hours by calling 1100 or signing up to their mobile service.

Visit Dial Before You Dig

You can also request these plans from the Dial Before you Dig website. You'll usually receive these plans within 2 days. Make sure you read and fully understand the plans and information provided.

Use this table as a guide:

Will the work possibly… Examples
Cause direct contact in any way with a pipeline (including any minor contact with the protective coating)? Scraping with an excavator bucket or directional drilling head.
Involve digging near to pipe or otherwise disturbing pipe foundations, bedding or other support? A crossing over or under a pipe.
Cause collapsing of a pipeline, supporting material or structures? Excavating long or deep close to a pipe.
Cause high loads to be applied to a pipeline or soil cover? Heavy vehicles and material stockpiles.
Result in high impacts, shock or vibration near or directly on a pipeline? Heavy vibratory compaction, piledriving, blasting and dropping heavy loads.
Limit access for future works or maintenance? Installing facilities too close to pipelines.
Cause electrical currents to be applied or induced in a pipeline? Trenchless underground power installation.
Interfere with cathodic protection systems? Direct damage to cables or affecting voltage potentials

If you're excavating or doing other ground disturbing work in the vicinity of our pipelines, we strongly recommend you notify us on 13 13 75 at least 5 days prior to commencing work. A technical advisor will discuss you plans with you.

Please notify us when you plan to carry out the following work:

Proximity of work to pipeline Type of pipe Pipe size
Pipe crossings or other ground disturbing work
3 meters Water main 300mm diameter or greater
2 meters RC or AC water main All sizes
3 meters Sewerage pressure main All sizes
3 meters Drainage pressure main All sizes
Very heavy vehicle crossings other than on established roads
N/A All pipes above All sizes
Underground power work

1 meter (crossings) 0.5 meters (parallel)

Gravity sewers, junctions or risers, or drainage pipes All sizes
Working near key infrastructure

Depends on the extent of the work. Use distances above as a minimum.

Any pressurised sewer, water or drainage pipes All sizes

Pipeline types, sizes and materials are indicated on our plans. Many large pipes are also labelled such as “Serpentine T.M.” (trunk main), or Armagh St Sewer P.M.” (pressure main).


Potholing is the hand digging of inspection holes to visibly confirm the horizontal location and depth of pipes.

Pothole by hand and confirm with the naked eye, the pipe location and depth before excavating with powered machinery.

This is essential as pipes are not always at the exact location shown on plans.


Use the right measures to prevent pipe damage such as:

  • conducting a detailed utilities survey
  • choosing an alternative excavation or drilling site
  • marking the assets using flags, markings, barricades, signs, or bunting
  • choosing appropriate equipment and ensuring it will be used with care
  • choosing site specific work methods such as excavation planning, supervision, use of spotters, hand digging and shoring
  • engaging the Water Corporation for site assistance if necessary (charges apply)
  • ensuring site workers are aware of pipes and protection requirements.


After you have completed the planning and preparation and have established the steps to prevent damage, you can proceed carefully. Continue to monitor work for any changes.