A recent survey released by the Common Ground Alliance, a utility industry safety organization, found that 48 percent of American homeowners planning digging projects this year will put themselves and others in their community at potentially-life-threatening risk by not calling 811 ahead of time for utility locates. SourceGas, in recognition of national “811 Day” this Sunday, is celebrating their successful campaigns to increase 811 usage in their service territories, which improves the safety and reliability of their system and reduces repair costs to ratepayers.
The company is encouraging employees, community leaders, first responders and customers to sign the “811 Promise,” found at www.The811Promise.com.
“SourceGas is laser-focused on delivering safe and reliable natural gas to our customers, and the 811 program is a critical component of that effort,” said Lanna Machmuller, compliance specialist for SourceGas. “As a company, we regularly go above and beyond strict regulations and industry standards to ensure we operate one of the premier natural gas systems in the country. National indicators show that 3rd party damages are the biggest threat to all utilities, including ours. By reaching out and educating homeowners, excavators, landscapers, and others who may dig, we are increasing the awareness and usage of 811 – keeping our communities safe by reducing the occurrence of dangerous situations and costly repairs.”
Whether digging for landscaping, building a deck, or even just installing a mailbox, most states have laws requiring diggers to place a free call to 811 a few business days before digging to give all utilities the opportunity to locate underground pipelines, cables, and other assets. Diggers who hit a utility line because they failed to call 811 prior to digging may be financially responsible for the costs of repair and any costs associated with service interruptions to neighborhoods, businesses, and communities.
Free calls to 811 are routed to state “one call” notification centers. The one call center then collects information from the digger and forwards the information along to any utility with assets in the area. Each utility is required to locate underground assets using paint or flags.
Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas.
SourceGas’ methods for increasing 811 usage in its service territories include bill inserts, school programs, excavator outreach and training, as well as advertisements and social media. The company was recently nominated for the Southern Gas Association’s communications award for safety awareness, in part due to their 811 communications efforts.
As part of 811 Day, SourceGas encourages homeowners to take the following steps when planning a digging project:
• Sign the “811 Promise” at www.The811Promise.com.
• Plan ahead. Always call 811 a few business days before digging, regardless of the depth of the dig or your familiarity with the property.
• Keep a list of utilities in your dig area, provided by the one call center, so you can ensure all utilities have been located prior to digging.
• Learn what the various colors of paint and flags represent at www.call811.com/faqs.
• Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.
• If a contractor has been hired, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
SourceGas is a natural gas local distribution utility headquartered in Golden. The company and its affiliates serve over 408,000 customers and operate over 18,290 miles of distribution, gathering and transmission pipeline, as well as storage facilities, in Arkansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming. The company and its affiliates also provide gas transportation, in-home HVAC and appliance service and sales, as well as gas commodity sales services to its natural gas customers. More information on SourceGas’ 811 and other safety programs, as well information about other services and operations, can be found online at www.SourceGas.com.