Washington, D.C. – Dialing 811 before digging is the quickest and easiest way to prevent serious pipeline accidents – and save lives and property. Excavation damage is the leading cause of pipeline accidents in the United States, and that is why America’s natural gas utilities are urging communities to follow safe digging protocol and call 811 before beginning any kind of project that involves digging. Across the country, natural gas utilities are engaging innovative outreach campaigns to spread the word about safe digging in their communities.
“Keeping our customers and communities safe is the top priority for AGA and its members,” said Dave McCurdy, President and CEO of the American Gas Association. “We invest billions of dollars and work daily with regulators and safety officials to help ensure we continue our record of safe and reliable delivery. But we need excavators and the public to participate as well. Calling 811 is one of the easiest things people can do to help prevent unnecessary pipeline accidents – and it’s free.”
A utility line is damaged once every eight minutes in the United States due to excavation. Striking a single line can cause injury and outages, and incur repair costs and fines. Every digging project – even a small project like installing a mailbox, building a deck or planting a tree or garden – warrants a free call to 811 to help ensure utility lines are avoided. There is no charge for the service. Utility crews will locate and mark lines at no cost to the caller.
This April marks the sixth 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 CGA since its inception in 2000. AGA member utilities are committed to promoting safe digging practices to help ensure public safety.
Promoting safe digging awareness is just one of the many ways America’s natural gas utilities work to keep communities safe. AGA and its members work closely with federal and state regulators to help ensure that our distribution and transmission system continues to be the safest and most reliable method of delivering energy in the nation.