April is National Safe Digging Month, a season when NW Natural (NYSE:NWN) urges all contractors, landscapers and homeowners to call 811 to have underground utilities located before digging.
The process involves a quick call to a local 811 center two to three days before the start of a project that will involve digging 12 inches or deeper. Work can begin after all underground utilities have been marked. It's important to respect the markings and dig carefully on all sides. Learn more through this informational video http://call811.com/before-you-dig/how-811-works.
"I'm often asked if a call to 811 is that important. The answer is yes!" said Scott Gallegos, NW Natural damage prevention supervisor. "Deciding not to call is risky, even with small weekend projects like planting trees or shrubs. We encourage every property owner, contractor and landscaper to know and follow the law and avoid property damage, injury or worse."
The Common Ground Alliance reports an underground utility line is damaged every six minutes across the nation due to not calling 811 or the disregard of proper digging guidelines. However, through safety education, progress is being made; the estimated total number of damages across the U.S. was approximately 317,000, about 9 percent lower than the estimated 349,000 recorded in 2014. Annually, there are approximately 800 unintended damages recorded across NW Natural's service area.
Remember to follow these NW Natural safety guidelines:
- Call before you dig. It's the safe, smart thing to do - and it's the law.
- Smell. Go. Let Us Know. If you smell natural gas, leave the area immediately. Then call us at 800-882-3377 from a different location.
No accidental gas line damage is too small to report; even a gouge or dent could lead to future problems. To learn more about this important safety topic, visit nwnatural.com/Residential/Safety.