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Call 811 Before You Dig

How does 811 work?

Utility companies that have potential facilities in the area of your dig site will be notified about your intent to dig. Free of charge, each affected utility company will send a professional locator to the digging site to mark the approximate location of your underground utility lines. Calls to JULIE can be made up to 14 days from the day of the call and can be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

Allow the required time for marking

After calling 811, the approximate location of underground utility lines will be marked with color-coded spray paint, flags or stakes that correspond to the utility. Yellow paint indicates the presence of underground natural gas pipelines. 


Respect the marks

Once the lines are marked, use the appropriate digging methods and hand dig within 18 inches of the marked utility lines. This will help prevent any damage to underground utility lines. 

Watch and Protect for Business Customers

Nicor Gas monitors excavation activities around critical gas lines. If, after contacting JULIE, it is determined that your project location is near a critical natural gas line, you will be contacted by our Watch and Protect department. In many instances, a Nicor Gas representative will be onsite during digging. This service is free. 

Excavate Carefully

Make sure the marks remain visible during the entire project. If the marks are damaged or removed, customers are encouraged to call 811 to have lines re-marked. Excavation work, including hand digging with a spade or shovel or plowing around a home or business is the most common cause of natural gas emergencies. If a natural gas line is damaged accidentally or the distinct odor of gas is present, call 911 and 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.

*Residents within the city of Chicago dial 312.744.7000