Protect Against Injury and Property Damage by Always Calling 811 Before You Dig

Monday, August 11, 2014

Contact: Bob Innes
(804) 768-6410
(804) 512-1425 - cellular 

Chester, VA – Aug. 11, 2014 - The first step in protecting against personal injury or property damage is to always call 811 at least three working days before you dig in your yard or on a construction site. When you call 811 you are connected to a free service which coordinates the marking of all underground utilities so you can avoid damaging these vital utility services.

The Virginia811 service is a partnership with all utility companies as part of their commitment to public safety and in aggressively protecting underground facilities. When calling 811, the person performing the digging will be connected to Virginia811 (former Miss Utility) the Virginia one-call center, which notifies all appropriate utility owners of their intent to dig or demolish property. Professional locators are then dispatched to the requested digging or demolition site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.

By Virginia law, each utility will locate their underground utilities and clearly mark their facilities using the universal color code. The colors are:
Red – Electric; Orange – Communications, Telephone/CATV; Blue – Potable Water; Green – Sewer/Drainage; Yellow – Gas/Petroleum Pipe Line; Purple – Reclaimed Water and White – Premark site of intended excavation

The second step in protecting underground utilities is to take care when digging near the utility marks. Virginia law requires only hand tools when digging within two feet either side of the utility marks. Any type of mechanized equipment is prohibited within the two foot standard.

The third step in protecting underground utilities is to make sure you support any exposed utility lines and work with the utility operator to make sure the facilities are not at risk or damaged.

Striking a single utility line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging or demolition project, no matter how large or small, requires a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, demolishing an old shed, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that need a call to Virginia811 before starting the work.

To learn more about natural gas safety go to

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