This Friday (8/11) and every day, remember to call 811 before digging

Thursday, August 10, 2017

For Release:  
August 9, 2017 
Kristine Johnson
(804) 768-6418 

Chester, VA – Aug. 9, 2016 – This Friday, August 11 (8/11), is a great day to remind everyone to always call 811 as a simple and free way to minimize risks from underground utility damage.

Striking a utility can cause personal injury, repair costs, fines and loss of important utility service.  That’s why, whether you are planting a tree, installing a deck, digging a garden or working on a large construction site, Virginia law requires everyone to call 811 at least three working days before starting to dig.

When you call 811, utility companies with facilities in the excavation area are notified of your intent to dig. Qualified utility locators are sent to the digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags and color-coded spray paint. Each type of utility has designated marking colors to clearly identify the type of underground facilities. Yellow is the designated color for natural gas, propane and oil pipelines.  This is a free service that helps you understand which utility may be in conflict with your digging plans. 

Columbia Gas of Virginia reminds any person planning to dig to follow four simple steps and Dig with CARE around underground utilities: 

Step 1 - Call 811 before you dig – Always call 811 at least three working days before digging, regardless of the familiarity with the property. By calling on Monday it allows for utilities to be marked for the following weekend project.
Step 2 – Allow the required time for marking – Utility companies have three 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. Call the utility if you need assistance. 

If you detect a strong smell similar to “Rotten Eggs” during excavation or digging, Columbia Gas urges you take the following actions:

  • Immediately leave the area
  • From a safe location away from the odor, call 911 and Columbia Gas of Virginia at 800-544-5606
  • Warn others to stay away from the area 
  • Leave windows and doors in their current position 
  • Avoid open flames or anything that could spark ignition - including cell phones, lights, garage doors or other power equipment. 
  • Do not attempt to operate pipeline valves or try to correct the leak 
    When emergency personnel arrive, explain the situation to them 

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About Columbia Gas of Virginia
Columbia Gas of Virginia delivers safe, reliable and clean natural gas to more than 264,000 customers in portions of Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, suburban Richmond, Central Virginia, Shenandoah Valley, Lynchburg region and Western Virginia. With headquarters in Chesterfield County, the company is one of seven 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