Call 811 before digging

CANONSBURG April is National Safe Digging Month and a time of the year that signals the beginning of many outdoor projects everything from installing a mailbox or planting a tree to building a deck or putting in a fence.

Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania reminds homeowners and contractors that before they pick up a shovel, they need to pick up the telephone and call 811.

A recent study by the Common Ground Alliance revealed that many homeowners are putting themselves and their families at risk by not calling 811. Digging without knowing the location of underground utilities can result in serious injury, service disruptions, and costly repairs.

The national "Call before You Dig" number, 811, connects homeowners and contractors with the Pennsylvania One Call System. This organization provides the opportunity for utility companies to mark buried pipes and cables before digging commences, protecting not only the utility lines, but homeowners and contractors as well.

"Calling 811 before digging allows us to mark our gas lines and prevent a potentially dangerous situation. As a homeowner or contractor, it keeps you and your neighbors safe and prevents potential costly repairs and fines," said CJ Anstead, Columbia Gas vice president of gas operations.

"We want everyone to complete outdoor projects safely and efficiently this spring and throughout the year, so we urge you to call 811 if you plan to dig," Anstead said.

Pennsylvania law requires that a homeowner or contractor call 811 at least three business days prior to beginning excavation.

In addition, the person conducting the excavation is responsible for making the call to 811, even if the planned excavation is shallow. The call is free for homeowners.

The 811 "Call before You Dig" hotline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

For more information on digging safely in Pennsylvania, visit http://www.PAOneCall.org or www.columbiagaspa.com/811.

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