The leading cause of gas damage emergencies in the country are due to individuals and contractors performing excavation work without a Miss Utility ticket. Excavation includes digging, boring and directional drilling. Homeowners may not be aware that they need to call 811 each and every time they dig. Even if you’re adding a rosebush or mailbox, call before you install!

Adrian Chapman, Washington Gas CEO and president, said, “We must maintain our vigilance to ensure all underground utilities, including natural gas lines, are marked properly and that those marks are respected to prevent damage. We can only do that when the public helps us spread the word about calling 811 anytime they dig.”

How is Washington Gas enabling safer digging?

We have developed an Enhanced Positive Response (EPR) program that goes above and beyond locating and marking underground utilities for the customer. It provides the customer-detailed information, including photographs and mapping, specific to their project each time an 811 call is made.

The EPR can be accessed via a hyperlink when you receive your 811 locate confirmation email. In addition to the advanced EPR tool, Washington Gas also uses a computer-generated algorithm, as well as a process to rank the risk of each locate and mark request so we can prioritize our efforts, which all help us maintain a leadership role in damage prevention. While markings do not indicate exactly where the crews will be digging, it lets the crews know where all utilities are located underground.

Remember: Individuals who excavate should do so manually, hand tools only, within two feet on either side of the flagged and/or marked location of an underground utility line.

Courtesy of Washington Gas

“Keeping our customers safe and providing reliable service are our highest priorities,” Chapman said. “And preventing damage is a key way we do that.”

• Call 811 at least 48 hours before a planned dig

• Assume the depth of a utility line
• Excavate under someone else’s ticket
• Don’t remove an abandoned utility line without receiving proper authorization

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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