This past Friday, August 11, marked the Common Ground Alliance’s (CGA)’s 10th commemoration of its annual 811 Day, which serves as a reminder to dial 811 before beginning any digging project.
Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone started a digging project without first calling 811. It’s required by law to dial 811 to mark the location of underground utilities and pipelines in your yard, whether you’re installing a fence, deck or swimming pool, planting a tree, or beginning any excavation project on your property. Once you’ve called 811, you will be connected to a local One Call Center which gathers information about your project and alerts your local utility company. Utility crews will come to your house to locate and properly mark the utility lines near the planned project to help you avoid those areas. The process is fast and free of charge.
As part of Call 811’s 10th anniversary celebration, AGA member companies educated their customers and the communities they serve about the importance of calling 811 before digging. The following highlights showcase many of the activities AGA members and partners participated in to help spread this important message:
On Friday, Washington Gas partnered with Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for its annual National Call 811 Day at Nationals Park to promote calling 811 and the importance of safety.
CGA President and CEO Sarah Magruder Lyle joined Pacific Gas & Electric in ringing the New York Stock Exchange closing bell along with a coalition of damage prevention stakeholders, reminding the public to #Call811 before digging on the 10th anniversary of 811 day.
CenterPoint Energy in Houston, TX hosted a downtown block party complete with food and prizes, while the utility’s Minnesota branch teamed up with line marking companies for the third annual 811 5k Run/Walk followed by a kids fun run, awards ceremony, prizes and safety fair. All proceeds from the 5k benefitted Operation Warm, an organization that provides warm winter coats to children in need.
Atmos Energy kicked off National 811 Day by providing pipeline safety training to the City of Waxahachie, TX. In Ellis County, TX, Atmos has seen a 47 percent increase in requests by the public to have underground natural gas lines marked since 2008. Atmos was able to locate 2.1 million underground natural gas lines in 2016, alone.
According to CGA, data shows that when you call 811 before digging, you have less than a 1% chance of striking a buried line. Making a call to 811 is the easiest way to make sure you are keeping your communities safe and connected.
In addition to 811 Day, the month of April is National Safe Digging Month. As part of their ongoing commitment to safety, AGA member companies do a great deal of work to promote safe digging. If you are a natural gas utility, let us know about your activities to promote calling 811 and safe digging in the comments section below or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear what your utility has in the works and to share your activities on AGA’s social media pages and blog.