April is National Safe Digging Month, a time to bring awareness about the importance of contacting 811 in advance of any excavation project to prevent injuries, property damage, and inconvenient utility outages. When homeowners or contractors contact 811, utility companies will mark the locations of underground lines to prevent them from being damaged – free of charge.
Underground utility lines can lie just inches below the surface under streets, sidewalks, and private property, so it is important to know where they are before digging. If you plan to install a fence, plant a tree or dig for any reason, protect your family, neighbors and the pipelines near you by following these steps:
- Mark out your proposed excavation area in white (paint, chalk, flour or other suitable materials).
- Contact Underground Service Alert at call811.com to submit a location request online or dial 8-1-1 at least two business days before digging.
- Wait until a SoCalGas technician has marked our natural gas lines, indicating pipe material and diameter, or let you know that the area is clear.
- Remember that SoCalGas only uses yellow paint, flags or stakes to mark the location of natural gas pipes.
- Use only hand tools to dig within 24 inches of a marked utility line to carefully expose the exact locations before using any power excavation equipment in the area.
- Report all pipe damage, regardless of how small or how big it may be. Remember, no damage is too small to report. Contact us immediately at 1-800-427-2200.
- If you've hired a contractor, make sure the contractor contacts 811 to have our natural gas lines marked.
National Safe Digging Month was created by Common Ground Alliance in 2008 to promote safe digging practices.
In honor of National Safe Digging Month, SoCalGas is partnering with other utilities and the Kern County and Bakersfield Fire Departments later this month to help inform the public about the importance of contacting 811 before digging.
For more information on 811 and safety tips, click here.