Columbia Gas of Virginia Reminds the Public to Pay Attention to Technicians Locating Underground Utilities after Calling 811

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Contact:       Bob Innes

                   (804) 768-6410                                                                                                        (804) 512-1425 - cellular                                                                                

Chester, VA – June 25, 2014 - Warmer summer temperatures typically signal the time for outdoor projects. With the National Safety Council marking June as National Safety Month, Columbia Gas of Virginia is reminding any person – homeowners, excavators and contractors - to stay safe by calling 811 at least three working days before you begin to dig and pay attention to technicians marking the location of underground utility lines. 

The national “Call Before You Dig” number, 811, connects homeowners, excavators and contractors with the VA811 call center. VA811 coordinates with all utility operators to mark the location of buried pipes and cables before digging begins, protecting not only the utility lines, but homeowners and contractors too. Calling 811 before digging is Virginia law and the free service is provided by Columbia Gas and other utility operators. 

When a technician is dispatched to locate and mark underground utility lines it may require them to work on or near roads, in shopping center parking lots, on your property or along interstate highways. It is important for the public to pay attention to any person performing the important work of locating and marking underground utility lines with temporary paint and flags which identifies the specific utility.

“Each day utility technicians perform the important work of locating and marking underground utility lines safely along roads, near buildings and next to highways as part of the Virginia 811 law,” said Mike Huwar, vice president and general manager operations for Columbia Gas of Virginia. “Anytime you see utility technicians wearing reflective vests and working next to roads or parking lots, please slow down and give them space to safely perform locating and marking underground utilities.”

By following a simple four step process any person can Dig with CARE and prevent having to call 911 after damaging an underground natural gas line. The four step CARE process includes:

• Call 811 at least three working days before digging.
• Allow the required time for marking utilities and pay attention to technicians performing the work.
• Respect the marks. Hand dig within 24 inches either side of the utility marks.
• Excavate carefully. 

For more information about safe digging practices, please visit 

About Columbia Gas of Virginia
Columbia Gas of Virginia delivers safe, reliable and clean natural gas to over 251,000 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