Columbia Gas of Virginia Recommends Making a Call to 811 Part of Your Earth Day and Arbor Day Plans

Monday, April 15, 2013
Contact: Bob Innes
(804) 768-6410
(804) 512-1425 - cellular

CHESTER, VA. – April 15, 2013 – Next week we will celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd and Arbor Day on April 26th and many of us will be planting trees to commemorate these two important events. Columbia Gas of Virginia reminds everyone to always call 811 at least 3 working days ahead of time to have all underground utility lines marked before any digging begins. By calling 811 today, all underground utility lines can be marked in time for both Earth Day and Arbor Day events.

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. Nationally, every eight minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.

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

As you plan your 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.