Starting a spring digging project? Call 8-1-1 to avoid damaging underground utility lines
NAPERVILLE, Ill. – March 28, 2016 – Spring marks the traditional start of digging season, when people head outdoors to start projects they had been waiting to tackle all winter. Nicor Gas wants to remind homeowners and contractors that the digging season also increases their chances of damaging underground utility lines, including natural gas lines, if they do not take the necessary step of calling 8-1-1 before digging.
When making the free call to 8-1-1, homeowners and contractors are connected to JULIE (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators), which notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate horizontal locations of underground lines with flags or spray paint. Once lines have been accurately marked, digging can begin. JULIE neither owns nor marks any underground utilities.
To build awareness about protecting underground utilities and help ensure the safety and the continuity of critical services, Nicor Gas is providing homeowners and contractors 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 JULIE at 8-1-1 or 800.892.0123 part of their plans. Calls to the free locating service can be made up to 14 days in advance. The requests to have utility operators mark underground facilities, including natural gas, water, cable, telephone and electric 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: Once the lines are marked, use the appropriate digging methods, which may include hand tools, and dig no closer than 18 inches from the marked utility lines.
- 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 the Nicor Gas 24-hour emergency phone line at 888.Nicor4U (888.642.6748) from a safe location. Do not operate any machinery or any equipment that might cause a spark.
For information about natural gas safety, visit www.nicorgas.com/safety.
About Nicor Gas
Nicor Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS), is a natural gas distribution company that serves more than 2.1 million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information, visit www.nicorgas.com.
About AGL Resources
AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS) is an Atlanta-based energy services holding company which owns and operates natural gas utilities, as well as retail energy and services, wholesale services and midstream businesses. AGL Resources serves approximately 4.5 million utility customers through its regulated distribution subsidiaries in seven states. The company also serves more than one million retail customers through its SouthStar Energy Services joint venture and Pivotal Home Solutions, which market natural gas and related home services. Other non-utility businesses include asset management for natural gas wholesale customers through Sequent Energy Management and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. AGL Resources is a Fortune 500 company and a member of the S&P 500 Index. For more information, visit www.aglresources.com.