CLEVELAND — As our nation’s hospitals, healthcare providers and first responders, work tirelessly to treat those impacted by coronavirus, it is more important than ever that communities observe safe digging practices and avoid any additional strain on our emergency-response systems.
With more Americans working from home, some may consider catching up on projects around the house. Dominion Energy Ohio reminds all our customers that if any projects require digging, they must call 811 at least two business days before shovels hit the soil to avoid encountering underground utilities.
“National Safe Digging Month has taken on a heightened sense of urgency this year,” said Jim Eck, Dominion Energy Vice President & General Manager, Ohio & West Virginia Distribution. “It is more critical than ever before that we all do our part to keep our communities safe and avoid placing any additional burdens on our first responders. We urge everyone in the community to please put the safety of your family, neighbors and community first, and call 811 before you dig.”
“Every day, our employees take ownership of workplace safety and promote this behavior in the communities we serve,” Eck said. “Third-party disruption is the leading cause of damage to underground utility lines. Dominion Energy conducts public awareness programs to educate excavators and landowners near company facilities, to reduce the likelihood of dig-ins or other harm that can cause a release of methane into the atmosphere. Promoting the Call 8-1-1 and other pipeline safety messages has helped Dominion Energy Ohio reduce third-party dig-ins over the past decade.”
Dominion Energy reminds residents, if you plan to dig on your property, follow these important steps:
1. Call before you dig. Ohio law requires property owners — whether they are doing the work themselves or hiring a professional — to call Ohio811, formerly known as the Ohio Utilities Protection Service, by dialing 811, to have underground utility lines marked, at least two business days, but no more than 10 business days, prior to ANY digging project. Ohio law mandates a call to 811 for every digging project, no matter how big or small. Installing a mailbox, putting in a fence, building a deck, or planting a tree, are all examples of digging projects that require a call to 811 before starting.
2. Wait. At no cost to you, technicians will mark the location of the utility lines on your property while practicing safe social distancing and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. Once all lines are marked, you will be notified and can safely begin your digging project.
3. Respect the markings for your safety. For safety’s sake, customers and contractors should only dig around utility lines by hand. Dig at least 1 foot on all sides of the marks, not on them.
4. Dig with care. If you accidentally hit a natural gas line, no matter how minor it may seem, leave the area. From a safe place, call 911 and Dominion Energy at 1-877-542-2630, even if the line doesn’t appear to be damaged. Protective coating damage or even a small dent in a gas line could cause an issue in the future.
Utility lines need to be marked accurately, because, even when digging only a few inches deep, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists. Visit https://www.dominionenergy.com/dig for information about 811 and the call-before-you-dig process.
For additional natural gas safety information, visit http://safegasohio.org/