Spring Outdoor Safety Tip: Smart Digging Begins with Calling 8-1-1
April observed as National Safe Digging Month
Chattanooga, Tenn. – April 2, 2018 – With spring here and the ground ready for digging, Chattanooga Gas is committed to ensuring the safety of homeowners and excavators as they gear up to start outdoor projects. Whether putting in a fence, planting a tree or building a deck, knowing where the utility lines are before you dig helps prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient utility outages.
Nationwide an underground utility line is damaged once every six minutes because someone decided to dig without first calling 8-1-1, according to Common Ground Alliance. CGA is a national advocacy organization focused on preventing damage to underground infrastructure.
Calling 8-1-1 connects to Tennessee 811 which notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators then are sent free of charge to the requested digging sites to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags or spray paint. Yellow paint indicates the presence of gas, oil or steam petroleum. Once lines have been accurately marked, it is important that residents respect the marks and use the appropriate tools to dig.
To protect underground utilities and to help ensure that communities stay safe and connected, Chattanooga Gas is providing homeowners and professional excavators with the following safe digging guidelines:
- Call 8-1-1 Before You Dig: When starting an outdoor project involving digging, customers are advised to make contacting Tennessee 811 by dialing 8-1-1 or 1-800-351-1111 part of their plans. Calls to the free locating service can be made up to 10 days in advance. The requests to have utility operators mark underground facilities, including natural gas, electric, water, sewer, telephone and cable lines, can be made 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
- Allow the Required Time for Marking: Before doing any digging, customers are urged to call 8-1-1 and wait the required time to have underground utility lines marked. The approximate location of underground utility lines will be marked with color-coded spray paint, flags or stakes that correspond to the utility. The color used for natural gas is yellow.
- Respect the Marks: Only use hand digging tools to carefully uncover the area around a utility when you need to dig close by. Also call to have the lines remarked, if needed.
- Excavate Carefully: Make sure the marks remain visible during the project. If the lines are damaged or removed, customers are encouraged to call 8-1-1 to have lines re-marked. If a natural gas line is damaged accidentally or the distinct odor of gas is present, call 9-1-1 or the Chattanooga Gas 24-hour emergency phone line at 1.866.643.4170 from a safe location. Do not operate any machinery or equipment that might cause a spark.
For information about natural gas safety, visit www.chattanoogagas.com/safety.
About Chattanooga Gas
Chattanooga Gas is one of seven natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Chattanooga Gas provides retail natural gas sales and transportation services to approximately 66,000 customers in Hamilton and Bradley counties in southeast Tennessee. The Chattanooga Gas service area includes the communities of Chattanooga, Cleveland, Red Bank, East Ridge, Lookout Mountain and Signal Mountain. For more information, please see www.chattanoogagas.com.
About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.6 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in seven states and more than 1 million retail customers through its companies that market natural gas and related home services. Other non-utility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines, asset management for natural gas wholesale customers and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit Southern Company Gas at southerncompanygas.com.
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