Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Don’t go BOOM! National Safe Digging Month

You’ve seen it on the news. A report of a house blowing up in New Jersey. A story about a backhoe striking a natural gas pipeline causing a fire. A dramatic photo of the massive explosion in San Bruno, California. It happens too often, and research shows the main cause of gas pipeline damage comes from contractors, excavators and homeowners, many of whom haven’t called 811 to have their utility lines marked before digging.

In observation of National Safe Digging Month, MLGW wants you to be safe and Call 811 Before You Dig! Any time you plan to dig… There are some numbers you should know by heart, and 811 is one of them. It’s almost as easy to remember as 911. And it’s a good way to avoid a situation that might actually require an emergency call to 911. An explosion... BOOM! No one really wants that.

National Safe Digging Month reminds us that calling 811 before you dig prevents damage to underground utilities such as natural gas and electric lines and keeps residents safe. MLGW is observing National Safe Digging Month to increase awareness in Memphis and Shelby County to call 811 before you or your contractor do any digging.

When you call 811, underground utility lines on your property will be located free of charge. Tennessee law requires that you give notice to the 811 call center three business days (72 hours) before any digging begins so these utility lines can be located and marked. The service is free, and all residents who intend to dig or excavate or have contractors excavate on their property are required to call or have their contractor call 811. You will know your utilities have been marked by the painted lines on the ground showing where those utilities are located. It doesn’t hurt to take a photo of those lines for reference, but remember to always call 811.

Damage to underground utilities can occur during installation of a fence or mailbox, building a deck or additional room, and even gardening. “We want residents of Shelby County to realize that underground utility lines can be disturbed or damaged by common home improvement projects,” said J.T. Young, MLGW President and CEO. “Promoting awareness of National Safe Digging Month will inform residents and customers to always 811 before you dig, stressing the importance of natural gas safety.” Digging without calling can result in damage to underground utility lines, harm to residents, damage to property, disruption of neighborhood service, and fines and repair costs for those responsible.

If residents or contractors strike or damage a utility line in the process of excavation, they should immediately call MLGW and stop digging. Remember that natural gas smells like rotten eggs. If residents smell this strong odor, they should evacuate the area right away and call 911 and MLGW’s emergency line (528-4465) after leaving the area.

Don’t go BOOM! The best way to avoid dangerous situations is to always call 811 before you dig. For answers to frequently asked questions about Call 811 Before You Dig, check out Common Ground Alliance’s FAQs at More information on calling 811 and natural gas pipeline safety can be found on MLGW’s website at

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...