Washington, D.C. — America’s natural gas utilities urge you to call 811 before you dig. A utility line is damaged by digging once every three minutes nationwide. One-third of these incidents are caused by failure to call 811 before beginning a digging project.
“You can help keep yourself and your community safe by calling 811 to have the underground utility lines marked before you begin any project,” said Dave McCurdy, President and CEO of the American Gas Association. “Delivering clean natural gas to our customers safely and reliably is our industry’s number one priority. The natural gas industry has worked diligently with other stakeholders to implement this throughout the country and we need homeowners and professional excavators to do their part to keep the public safe by calling 811. There is no cost and it could save a life.”
Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and outages. Every digging project - even small projects like installing a mailbox, building a deck or planting a tree or garden - warrants a call to 811.
When calling 811, the individual is automatically connected to the local one-call center which collects information about the digging project. The one-call center then transmits this information to the appropriate utility companies who will send representatives to mark the locations of underground lines in the immediate vicinity of the planned work location. Additional information can be found at http://www.call811.com/
This April marks the fifth annual National Safe Digging Month, an initiative put in place by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) to remind professionals and homeowners of the importance of following safe digging procedures. AGA has been a proud sponsor of the CGA ever since its inception in 2000. AGA member utilities are committed to promoting safe digging practices to help ensure public safety.
The “Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act” which became law at the beginning of this year, contains a strong incentive for states to remove current one call exemptions, requiring all entities that excavate around pipelines to call 811 before they dig.
AGA praised the unanimous and bipartisan support for this legislation and AGA’s members were fully engaged throughout the process to make sure a strong, safe and smart bill was developed. America’s natural gas utilities are working with federal and state regulators to ensure that our distribution and transmission system continues to be the safest and most reliable method of delivering energy in the nation.