Columbia Gas of Virginia Reminds Residents To Call 811 Before Planting Trees This Earth Day and Arbor Day

Sunday, April 01, 2012
Contact: Bob Innes
(804) 768-6410
(804) 512-1425 - cellular 

Columbia Gas of Virginia recognizes that many people will be planting trees for Earth Day and Arbor Day projects, so it is important to remember to call 811 at least 3 working days ahead of time to have all underground utility lines marked before digging begins.

Striking a single utility line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and loss of utility service. Volunteers are responsible for having utility lines marked, regardless of whether they are planting a sapling or a full-grown tree.

Everyone who calls 811 is connected to va811 (Miss Utility), which notifies the appropriate utility companies of the caller’s intent to dig. Professional locators are sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags and spray paint. Each type of utility has designated marking colors to clearly identify the type of underground facilities.

The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. There are more than 165,000 utility damages every year, in which one in three are the result from failure to call 811.

“With the possibility of utility lines only a few inches from the surface, this simple call to 811 will help volunteers, contractors and do-it-yourself diggers avoid striking an underground utility line,” said Dan Cote, general manager operations for Columbia Gas of Virginia. 

As you plan Earth Day and Arbor Day projects, Columbia Gas of Virginia encourages volunteers to take the following four steps and dig with care around underground utilities:

Step 1 - Plan ahead – Always call 811 at least three days before digging, regardless of the familiarity with the property. By calling on Monday can insure utilities will be marked for the following weekend project.
Step 2 – Allow required time for marking – Utility companies have 2-working days to mark their facilities beginning at 7:00 am on the next working day after calling 811. It does not include weekends or official state or Federal holidays.
Step 3 – Respect and protect the marks – Do not cover up or destroy the utility markings as they indicate the approximate location of underground utilities. Contact the utility if marks are destroyed.
Step 4 – Excavate carefully – Do not dig with mechanized equipment within 24 inches of either side of the utility markings. Once the utility line has been exposed protect the integrity of the facility while digging.

About Columbia Gas of Virginia
Columbia Gas of Virginia delivers safe, reliable and clean natural gas to over 244,000 customers in portions of Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, suburban Richmond, Central Virginia, and the Shenandoah Valley, the Lynchburg region and parts of Western Virginia. With headquarters in Chesterfield County, the company is one of the 7 energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) serving 3.8 million natural gas and electric customers. Always call 811 before you dig and Dig with CARE. Learn more at

About va811 (Miss Utility)
The Virginia Utility Protection Service, commonly called Miss Utility of Virginia, is the not-for-profit organization created by Virginia’s utilities to protect their underground facilities. To learn more visit