Columbia Gas of Virginia reminds public to pay attention to technicians locating underground utilities

newspaperThe summer signals the time for outdoor projects and as a result, technicians will be locating utility lines to identify them prior to starting to dig.

Columbia Gas of Virginia is reminding any person – homeowners, excavators and contractors – to stay safe by calling 811 at least three working days before you begin to dig and pay attention to technicians marking the location of underground utility lines.

The national “Call Before You Dig” number, 811, connects homeowners, excavators and contractors with the Virginia811 call center. VA811 coordinates with all utility operators to mark the location of buried pipes and cables before digging begins, protecting not only the utility lines, but homeowners and contractors too. Calling 811 before digging is Virginia law and is a free service provided by Columbia Gas and other utility operators.

When dispatched technicians are locating and marking underground utility lines it can require them to work on or near neighborhood roads, in shopping center parking lots, on your property or along interstate highways. It is important for the public to pay attention to any person performing the important work of locating and marking underground utility lines with temporary paint and flags which identifies the specific utility.

“Anytime you see utility technicians wearing reflective vests and working next to roads or parking lots, please slow down and give them space to safely perform locating and marking underground utilities,” said Phil Wilson, vice president and general manager operations for Columbia Gas of Virginia.  “They are performing important public safety work by safely identifying the location of underground utility lines along neighborhood streets near buildings and next to highways as part of the Virginia 811 law.”

By following a simple four step process any person can Dig with CARE and prevent having to call 911 after damaging an underground natural gas line. The four-step CARE process includes:

  • Call 811 at least three working days before digging.
  • Allow the required time for marking utilities and pay attention to technicians performing the work.
  • Respect the marks. Hand dig within 24 inches either side of the utility marks.
  • Excavate carefully.

For more information about safe digging practices, please visit

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