Friday, April 30, 2021

Be shovel-ready. Call 811 before you dig!

As April and National Safe Digging Month draw to a close, it leaves us with a very important thing to remember all year: Always Call 811 Before you Dig!

It’s tempting to break ground in your eagerness to start an outdoor project like building a fence, planting a tree, building a deck or adding a room. But do you know what lies underground where you plan to dig? Natural gas pipelines and other utility lines weave beneath the surface throughout our community. Major gas transmission pipelines are marked with a yellow caution sign. But secondary lines and distribution lines aren’t as easily identifiable.

Don’t risk hitting a gas line, disrupting neighborhood service, and facing potential fines and repair costs. Before you begin digging, contact Tennessee One Call by calling 811 to request that professional locating crews mark the underground utility lines on your property. The service is free, and it is federally mandated.

Almost 60 percent of natural gas pipeline accidents are caused by damage from excavation or construction. Other causes include rare damage by vehicles or corrosion. East Memphis experienced a cross-bore strike on an MLGW gas main in early March within site of Safe Digging Month, endangering two homes, burning up the cross-bore machine and two front yards including trees, and needing emergency fire crews to put it out after MLGW closed off the gas main.

Whenever you plan to dig on your property, have your home’s underground gas lines – and all other utility lines including electric, water and cable – located, even for spring planting.

Call 811 first in order to have your underground gas and electrical supply lines located and marked. Failure to do so could result in an explosion (or electrocution). Plus, it’s the law, and it’s FREE.

Simply call 811 at least three days before you plan to dig to arrange for a representative to come out and mark the location of your underground pipes and cables. Don’t dig until they have done so. You can take a photo of the markings, but always call again for future digs.

For more info Call Before You Dig, go to or For more on natural gas safety, visit or go to for our comprehensive Natural Gas Safety brochure with all the gas safety info you’ll need. 


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