Spring Digging Season is Here: Why You Should Dial 8-1-1 to Safely Start an Outdoor Project
NAPERVILLE, Ill. – March 30, 2017 – With spring here and the ground ready for digging, homeowners and excavators are gearing up to start outdoor projects they had been waiting to tackle all winter. April marks the traditional start of digging season, which increases the chance of damaging underground utility lines, including natural gas lines. That is why it is necessary to call 8-1-1 before digging.
Nicor Gas is joining other utilities, one-call centers and damage prevention advocates across the country to remind residents to call 8-1-1 before they begin any digging project to prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages.
Calling 8-1-1 connects to JULIE (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators), 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 presence of underground natural gas pipelines. Once lines have been accurately marked, it is important that residents respect the marks and use the appropriate tools to carefully dig.
To protect underground utilities and to help ensure that communities stay safe and connected, Nicor 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 required to make contacting JULIE at 8-1-1 or 1-800-892-0123 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 marking natural gas is yellow.
- Respect the Marks: Once the lines are marked, use allowable digging methods, which include using hand tools, and dig carefully if within 18 inches of 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, residents are required to call 9-1-1 and Nicor Gas 24-hour emergency phone line at 888.Nicor4U (1-888-642-6748) from a safe location. Do not operate any machinery or any equipment that might cause a spark.
About Nicor Gas
Nicor Gas is one of seven natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company Gas (NYSE: SO). Nicor Gas serves more than 2.2 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 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 nonutility 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.
Duane Bourne o: 757.616.7510 | c: 757.955.0363 | firstname.lastname@example.org