Why you should call 811 call before digging

UTAH — Approximately 2.6 million miles of natural gas pipelines are spread across the U.S., whether for long-distance transmission or part of a distribution system to homes, schools, and other places.

Knowing where it is okay to dig and where not to is an important step that should not be overlooked with any potential construction projects, whether commercial or an at-home do-it-yourself. Taking the time to click or call 811 to know you are safe is easy and free and can be the difference between causing a dangerous or costly situation and remaining safe.

Damaging a pipeline or other utility from digging can lead to area outages, traffic instructions, fines, injuries, and other negative results. In many cases, various utility lines are buried only a few inches below the ground, making even something as simple as planting a flower a potential problem.

“We want to remind customers that calling 811 is free and easy, and required by state law, regardless of how big or small your project is,” said Judd Cook, Vice-President and General Manager of Western Gas Distribution. “Taking a few extra minutes to do so is critical to public safety and service reliability.”

In Utah, the process is rather simple. Advanced notice of 48 hours must be given before the project begins, either by calling 811 or using the Blue Stakes of Utah app or website. From there, the appropriate utility, such as Dominion Energy, will be informed. Personnel from the utility will then come out to the property and mark the location of the lines. These marks are valid for 14 calendar days after being put in place, meaning timing is essential when planning a project.

Even if you know where utility lines are located, there are ways in which their exact location can change, such as from erosion, which can make the lines deeper or shift to the side in one direction. While there might be red markers indicating electrical lines in a location, it does not mean that all lines in the area are marked, nor is it necessarily in the exact location of where a utility line might be.

For more tips on using 811 or answering related questions, visit the Call 811 and Blue Stakes of Utah websites.

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