Digging projects should end with relaxation, not dismay

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The sun is shining, a warm breeze is blowing, sirens are blaring, construction crews are tearing up the yard, and the neighborhood dogs are barking up a symphony. That’s what can happen if you accidentally dig into an underground utility line, and it’s not how a day of home improvement projects should end.

Digging around underground natural gas, electric, water or other utility lines poses a serious risk, as unintended damage can be extremely hazardous and costly, and result in fines if Virginia laws regarding proper safety procedures are not followed.

Fortunately, these risks can easily be prevented by simply contacting VA811 to have underground public utility lines marked before digging.

Don’t choose between safety and convenience. You can have both.

When it comes to digging, Columbia Gas of Virginia reminds everyone that we don’t have to choose between safety and convenience – thanks to VA811, we can have both.

“The choice is simple,” Columbia Gas Damage Prevention Lead Stephen Thomas said. “Would you rather spend a few minutes on a phone call, or your whole day dealing with a damaged gas, electric or water line? When it comes to digging, skip the mess, skip the hassle, and call 811 first.”

How inconvenient is it to call 811? Not at all.

  • It’s easy. Simply make a quick phone call to 811 or a visit to www.va811.com.  Provide information about the location and scope of the project and VA811 will notify public utility companies to have their facilities safely marked. (Keep in mind that marking of private utility lines is the responsibility of the property owner.)
  • It’s fast. Just call at least three business days in advance of your project. That means, if you’re planning to dig on the weekend, be sure contact VA811 by Tuesday.
  • It’s free. All public utility lines will be marked at no cost.

Always Dig with Care

Once public utility lines are marked, it’s important to only use hand tools when within two feet of a marked line. Never use mechanized equipment within two feet of the marks. Utility marks are only estimates of the line location and depths can vary so it’s important to dig carefully.

Columbia Gas is joining organizations across the country in celebrating April as National Safe Digging Month. To learn more, visit columbiagasva.com/811.