Sunday, December 10, 2023

April is Safe Digging Month – here’s what to do before picking up a shovel

(Courtesy Virginia Natural Gas)
April is Safe Digging Month. (WYDaily/ Courtesy Virginia Natural Gas)

STATEWIDE — It may not be common knowledge, but April is Safe Digging Month – and Virginia Natural Gas has offered some advice to help keep outdoor projects safe.

The first tip? Dial 811 before putting a shovel in the ground.

According to Virginia Natural Gas, homeowners and professional entities are required by law to call 811 or submit a ticket at before digging on any property.

Virginia 811 is a not-for-profit organization created by utility providers in order to prevent damage to underground infrastructure, such as gas or power lines, water and sewer pipes, communications cables and more.

“By identifying the location of the underground infrastructure in your area before starting a new project, you can do your part to protect our state,” said Rus Hayslett, vice president of operations at Virginia Natural Gas.

Any project that involves digging, such as installing a fence, paving a driveway or installing a pool, can result in striking an underground utility line. Contacting Virginia 811 before digging can prevent injury, inconvenient outages and damage to property.

Before starting a digging project, Virginia Natural Gas advises contacting Virginia 811 to have underground infrastructure marked. Requests are free and should be made at least 3 days in advance.

After contacting Virginia 811, underground lines will be marked with color-coded flags, stakes or spray paint.

Do-it-yourself project enthusiasts should avoid digging near these marks, and only use handheld tools nearby when necessary.


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